Tag Archives: roy rogers

Heros

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.

Roy Rogers on Trigger

The Media and Cowardice – Contributing Factors for Mass Shootings

I am a baby boomer. Baby boomers are the generation that are now grandpas and grandmas. We are an easily recognizable bunch. The gray thinning hair, wrinkles in places you never knew could wrinkle; well, you get the picture. We are never mistaken for Gen X’ers, Y’ers, or any other generation. We are also the generation from whom kids expect to receive large birthday and Chrismas presents.

I am proud to say that, in recent history, no mass killings have been committed in the United States by baby boomers. That is not to say we did not have our usual assortment of “nut cases” and murderers. It is the younger generation committing these heinous crimes, such as shooting grade school children, innocent moviegoers, or people in Washington, D.C.

My theory about why these tragic events are occurring today is based on cowardice and the media. Let me explain.

When growing up in the small town of Soft Rock, (population 969) we had a movie theater. As a matter of fact, the name of the theater was the Soft Rock Family Theater. Our little theater had about 200 seats. Movies were 25 cents, and popcorn and a soda were a dime each. The theater ran two different movies each week. One movie ran Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The second movie would run Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. So, in the early 60s when my parents wanted the kids out of the house, we would use our weekly allowance of fifty cents. We would be dropped off at the door of the theater. Now here is how life was very different from today. My parents would drop me off without even looking at the marquee to see what movie was playing. They knew that no movie would be shown at the Soft Rock Family Theater that was inappropriate for children. There wasn’t any PG, PG-13, R, or any other designation. There weren’t any warnings regarding language, nudity, sexually explicitness, extreme violence, etc. Warnings were not needed.

Our parents never had to worry about what was on nighttime television. It was appropriate for all ages. Sunday night was family night in front of the TV, a tradition that is sorely lacking today. Everyone was home. There were no acceptable excuses for not being home on Sunday night. The shows included Ed Sullivan, Bonanza, a host of variety shows, and my very favorite, the Wonderful World of Disney. Walt Disney provided some of the best programming anywhere and at any time. Today Disney is known for their theme parks, but their entertainment during the golden age of television was so much more impressive.

We also had Saturday morning television with shows featuring real people actors. Our shows had people like Roy Rogers (my personal favorite), Hoppalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, Zorro, The Lone Ranger, Sky King, Pinky Lee, Superman, Wild Bill Hickok, Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bob and Howdy Doody. We even had animal shows like Fury and Rin Tin Tin. I don’t know how they did it, but that horse and dog either saved a kid, or they assisted in capturing a bad guy in every episode. Amazing!

At 6:00AM on Saturdays, while the parents were sleeping, I would sneak downstairs and turn on that cherished 19″ black and white TV, wait for that baby to warm up (about 30-45 seconds), and watch an hour of cartoons before my real live heroes came on the air. And when they came on, I was excited. I knew that good was going to triumph over evil, and the world was going to be a safer place because of the efforts of my heroes. Never mind the fact that most of them were westerns taking place in the 1800s, I just knew that they made America safe for me today.

My heroes were my role models. The bad guys always got what they deserved. And, if one of my heroes had to pull out a gun to bring him to justice, he shot to “wing” him. The hero was always an excellent shot, only shooting the villians in the shoulder, and occasionally, a leg. No hero ever shot a “baddie” in the head or torso. Apparently in the Old West this was not allowed, either on purpose or by accident. My heroes were so considerate that even when they had to shoot the villian, my heroes would not let him bleed. Obviously, there was no blood in those bad guys.

You could say that our entertaiment was “white-washed.” Many people would argue that it was not realistic. But to us baby boomers, it was entertainment!

There is a reason why it was whitewashed. Our parents, what Tom Brokaw calls the “greatest generation”, were the responsible parties for this whitewashing. They had lived through the Depression, lived in houses without electricity and indoor plumbing, and had won World War II. They were a tough, hardworking generation that lived at a time when you really did “eat what you killed.” And, they saw, lived in, and experienced the horrors associated with World War II. The returning service members lived in the mud and saw the blood and the death that is inherent to warfare.

Now that the war was over, the returning servicemen made bowling the second most popular indoor sport. The baby boomer generation was the result. “And by God, no kid of mine was going to experience what I did during the Depression and during the War!” Thus, television and movies were entertaining, upbeat, and bloodless. And, as a result, there were no shortage of role models for any of us young boomers.

The “greatest generation” had WWII, and the baby boomers had a country and a war called Viet Nam.

Viet Nam. The first time in our history that television reporting could be reported instantaneously. And the media, particularly television, did not pass up that opportunity. For the first time, the horrors of warfare were brought to the American public. It was dubbed the “living room” war because pictures of dead and dying enemies, dead and wounded civilians, and the carnage of war were shown up front and personal. The opportunity to show a dying American serviceman drawing his last breath while medics and doctors were frantically attempting to save him was also not wasted.

At first, Americans were appalled. But as the war lingered, and the casualties and carnage increased, the American public became “desensitized” by the whole affair. After seeing so much blood, so many bodies, and cities and towns destroyed, it just did not affect the public as did the initial onset of the war. (I quit watching television news during the Viet Nam war. I was a young Army officer not in the war, who’d lost too many friends and quit watching. I currently read newspapers and peruse news sites on the internet, and I can choose what I want to read.)

The gloves came off of our media, particularly television and movies. Nothing was off-limits. The “whitewashing” done by the media in the 50s was gone in the 70s.

We needed rating systems not only for the movies, but also for television. These ratings were to warn of: sexually explicit language, nudity, adult situations, graphic violence, and any one of numerous other reasons. So much for “whitewashing.”

Then, as technology advanced, we were subjected to computers and video games. The video games require a rating also. And one of the ratings is “not advised for people under 18.”

So here we are. With all of our technological advances we finally arrived at the “Freddy Kruger” generation. I know this is not the technical term, but it does signify that we left my Roy Rogers era and came to grips with a whole new era where the parents are not protecting their children from the crap that is now being pandered as entertainment. Now there is even a “Chain Saw Massacre” sequel. It astounds me that this stuff is both popular and profitable enough to continue with sequels.

It has also spilled into television. During my childhood, there was no lack of entertaining comedy. Now, it is difficult to find comedy that should really be seen by children. But there it is! There is no lack of blood and gore. Moreover, the plot takes a backseat to the gratuitous blood and gore.

I want to be entertained and relaxed while watching television. I do not want to see pedofilia on Criminal Minds, or 15 different ways to decompose a body on Bones. Have you seen the warnings preceding Bones? It baffles me that it can be shown during family prime time. Grandma and I quit watching both shows, because they went from educating to sensationalizing.

Now kids play video games loaded with violence.

Last weekend, a group whose objective is to clean up media, sent people to audit the violence shown in the 5 biggest box office drawing movies. Between these 5 movies, there were 185 incidents of violence, with many of them being murder. Apparently, this is what sells, and this is what the public wants.

My heroes used a six-shooter to bring the bad guys to justice. The modern protagonists (not heroes, by my standards) use a sixty shooter to eliminate the bad guys. Every person appears to have an assault rifle. My heroes were intelligent and attempted to minimize harm to everyone, including the villians. The modern protagonist is idolized for his strength and weaponry, and ability to cause mass destruction and carnage. In retrospect, I realize my heroes were actors playing a part. The characters being portrayed were good. In my young mind, they were real. I wanted to emulate them.

Who are the role models today? Cartoons do not qualify as a role model. Can you think of five people who are providing our youth with positive role models from the media? Someone a child can look up to and say,” I want to be like him.” And you would be proud.

The current crop movie and TV producers, as well as the video game makers, claim that they are in no way responsible for any of these mass killings. They may not be the “reapers” of their products, but common sense tells me that they have “sown” the seeds of heinous crimes with their products. When young, it is difficult to separate fact from fiction. My heroes were real to me. Some people do not mature past that level. They may be unbalanced. They are provided with many media “field manuals” to violent behavior. Our children have been desensitized by all the blood, gore, violence and killing from which they have been exposed. And as long as we, the public, keep buying it, they will continue to make it.

During the 50s, a school yard fight usually entailed two fifth-graders slugging it out. The damage done by these fisticuffs was minimal. It was just the way all disagreements were settled. In Medieval warfare, one combatant stood face to face with his foe.

Both of these scenarios have one thing in common; both combatants were within arms’ reach.

It takes a lot of “guts” to stand in a fist fight and fight within arms’ reach of your opponent. It takes a coward to gun down and murder unarmed, defenseless people.

I wondered why the Colorado theater shooter was not shot during his spree? The answer is that he picked a theater that did not allow guns. He passed two theaters that did allow guns to get to the theater that did not allow guns. Thus he was unmolested during his killing spree. If there were three or four guns in the theater, there would surely have been fewer innocent victims, and possibly one shooter victim. The coward went to a theater where he would be unmolested while committing his heinous act. (His trial has been delayed, because his attorneys are not prepared to enter a plea. Three hundred witnesses, and he has not stood trial.)

Do you think the Fort Hood psychiatrist would have had a chance if any of his soldier victims had their weapons? You can surmise that there may have been two or three victims, and he surely would have been one of them. But this coward also chose to shoot people who could not retaliate. His trial has not begun, even though the crime took place over a year ago.

It appears the Sandy Hook elementary school shooter was mentally unbalanced. His crime was the most vile and heinous of any, as he targeted elementary school children. Unfortunately, this is the crime that is causing knee jerk reactions in cities, in states, and in Washington D.C. Enough bad legislation cannot be written and passed quickly enough by our politicians. All of this done to convince their voting public that they are on top of the current situation.

These cowards would not have done their deeds, had they not thought they could get away with doing so.

And our media? They have provided these surviving killers, and any future copycats with more press coverage and television time than they could ever had hoped, yet they cleanse themselves of any responsibility.