law

Yes, I’m pro choice. I’m also against the death penalty. They’re completely different issues.

Yesterday, after I wrote about Lisa Montgomery, I shared a link to the post on Facebook. A pro-life friend of mine was surprised that I’d be anti-death penalty. She commented that it was a very “pro-life” stance. Although she didn’t mention it, I have a feeling she was surprised I’d be against the death penalty because I also support a woman’s right to choose whether or not she wants to continue a pregnancy. But she should not have been surprised. I think there’s a huge difference between someone waiting to be executed by the government and a person deciding to terminate a pregnancy for whatever reason.

I’ve actually written several times about this phenomenon of people conflating a person’s views on abortion with their views on capital punishment. I know most of my friends are smart enough to know that there’s a big difference between killing a person who has already been born and has a concept of life and death, and terminating a pregnancy, especially in the earliest period of gestation.

In my 48 years of life, I have yet to meet a single person who remembers what life was like in the womb. As near as I can tell, developing fetuses are basically unconscious until they’re born. No one I know remembers the process of being born, or even their earliest days after being born. That does NOT mean I think it’s okay to kill babies that have been born, nor does it mean I think late term abortions are appropriate in every situation. Fortunately, the data suggest that the vast majority of late term abortions are done in dire medical situations that involve the potential death of the mother or the inevitable death of the fetus. They are also exceedingly rare.

Only about 1.3% of abortions in the United States are done after the 21st week of gestation; they cost a lot, typically aren’t covered by health insurance, and there is a huge stigma attached to them. Personally, I think people should have a lot more compassion for women who have late term abortions. They are usually losing babies that they wanted, typically due to a catastrophic medical issue that, frankly, is no one else’s business. Most abortions done for less tragic reasons happen much earlier in a pregnancy. And that is how it should be. Abortions are always going to happen. Laws intended to restrict them do nothing more than force women to wait longer or cause them to seek alternative arrangements that may be unsafe.

I have a lot of reasons for not liking capital punishment. The main issue I have with the death penalty is that, in so many cases, there’s a chance (no matter how small) that the person being condemned is actually innocent. If there is even the remotest chance that a person is innocent, I don’t believe the government has any business putting them to death. To this point, I’ve heard many people say that we’ve gotten “very good” at determining guilt thanks to DNA testing and what not. I hear that… however, I’m sure that people in the 70s and 80s were sure they had the most advanced technology, too. And back then, they did– but as years passed, the technology advanced, and there have been recent cases of people who were put on death row being exonerated.

How does one apologize for a mistake like that? If they’re lucky, the innocent might get released from prison or at least put in a much less oppressive prison environment. If they’re not lucky, they’ll be executed. What do we say when that happens? “Oops? My bad!”

Another reason I don’t like the death penalty is because not only is it very expensive to implement, but it tends to give criminals a platform. Aside from that, many of the cases involving capital punishment are politically motivated. Some lawyer, judge, or politician wants to make a name for themselves, so they use a “tough on crime” stance to further their own careers. That’s not fair.

I know many people will ask, “What about the victims?” And I agree, the vast majority of murder cases are absolutely infuriating. I remember getting extremely wound up a few years ago over a case in North Carolina involving an elderly pastor and his wife, who was a college professor. Thieves broke into their home, robbed and beat the elderly couple, forced the wife to go to the bank and withdraw more money, then brought her back to the house. The pastor and his wife were tied up, then the criminals set their home on fire and left them to die. The pastor was able to escape, but his beloved wife perished. I was really angry about that case and I would not shed a tear if the men involved were executed. However, I also wouldn’t shed a tear if they spent the rest of their natural lives locked in a cell.

I believe that capital punishment damages more people than the person who is condemned. Most condemned criminals have families who will also suffer. There are also people involved in the actual process of executing prisoners who, no doubt, grapple with what they’re doing. Some of them don’t have a problem with executions, although I would submit that people who are that callous probably shouldn’t be involved with administering justice. I would hope that civilized people would want to see justice tempered with mercy.

And finally… regarding Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row. I wrote about her yesterday. Someone commented that maybe it would be kinder to execute her, given her lifetime of mental illness, anguish, and pain. I was a bit taken aback by that comment. It’s one thing to administer a mercy killing on someone in great pain who asks for help dying. We all have to face eventual death, and sometimes it really is a kindness to help people die with grace and dignity. It’s quite another to observe the life of another person who has already been born and assume it would be kinder to kill them because you’ve judged their lives to be worthless. That’s getting a bit close to Nazi territory for me.

So– regarding abortion– I think it should stay safe and legal. I think women who are considering them should be encouraged to have them as early in a pregnancy as possible. That’s because developing fetuses are a part of their mother until they are born, and it’s her body, her life and health on the line, and her name on all of the medical bills. And I don’t think a person’s religious beliefs gives them the right to force another person to give birth.

Regarding capital punishment– I believe a person who is already born and has a concept of life and death is not the same as a developing fetus, who is unaware of what life and death are. We should never execute anyone unless there is absolutely zero doubt of their guilt and it’s a matter of public safety, rather than advancing someone’s political career or getting revenge.

So that’s how I can be “pro-life” and “anti death penalty”.

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Trump

Today’s the day we’ve been waiting for… but I feel anxious.

Election Day is usually exciting for me, especially during a presidential election year. This year, I feel more anxious than excited. I feel hopeful that things will turn around and we’ll finally get some good people leading the United States again. But then I remember what happened in 2016 and I know that no matter what’s in the news, it might not turn out the way I’d like it.

Yesterday, a woman I’ve known since high school posted a somewhat reasonable comment about how Donald Trump isn’t to blame for “everything” wrong in America. In previous years, I would have totally agreed with her that the president isn’t at fault for everything wrong. Even this year, I can concede that Trump isn’t directly responsible for everything bad that has happened since he took office. There are others involved who aided and abetted him. However, no other president in my lifetime has been as unprofessional, uncaring, and unhinged as Trump has been.

Against my better judgment, I responded to my friend’s post that under normal circumstances, I would agree wholeheartedly with her post. Trump is a different animal. My friend reiterated that he’s not at fault for everything. I agreed with that, but then pointed out that he eggs on divisiveness, mockery, and violence. Instead of denouncing the men who plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Trump cheered them on. Instead of criticizing the mob of Trump supporting drivers in Texas who swarmed Joe Biden’s bus, Trump tweeted about how much he loves Texas and even THANKED them for trying to run Biden’s people off the road! Innocent people could have been KILLED!

So I pointed these things out… and one of my friend’s Trump supporting pals mocked me for my opinion, saying I have “Trump derangement syndrome”. I asked him not to insult me, and he denied claiming that I have a mental illness because I don’t approve of Trump was “insulting”. I reminded the guy that he doesn’t know me at all and can’t make any legitimate evaluations of my mental health. He advised me to “stop watching CNN”. I wondered if he really thought his comments would change my mind, or if he just wanted to be an asshole.

It always surprises me when people think I get all of my news from CNN. First of all, I don’t live in the United States and I don’t get cable TV. So I don’t watch CNN. I do occasionally look at CNN’s Web site, but more often than not, I get my information from well-respected newspapers to which I am a paying subscriber. At this writing, these are the publications I pay to read:

  1. The Washington Post
  2. The New York Times
  3. The Irish Times
  4. The Wall Street Journal
  5. The Atlantic

I also read a lot of books. I have read several about Trump’s presidency, written by people who worked with him. I also have the benefit of two advanced degrees. Although Trump supporting people may want to call me “stupid”, “crazy”, or a “sheep” for reading the news, the truth is, I’m not a dummy. I’m not sure what that guy expects from people, anyway. Is he saying that I should be drawing my own conclusions based on no news at all? Or should I simply get my news from Fox?

Anyway, that attempt at civilized discourse quickly unraveled, so I left the conversation. As I was about to go to sleep, I noticed a post by Ricky Skaggs. I actually love Ricky Skaggs’ music. I don’t go to him or anyone else for my politics. I figure he has as much right as anyone to vote as he likes. But I did pause when I read this…

After hearing a pastor speak a message about life and death, I felt I had to share what I heard. I know many of you are still trying to decide who to vote for on Tuesday. Some people vote for or against a person solely on their personality, I get that, but let me just offer a few words that might help you to decide. Voting is a very personal thing and I’m not telling you who to vote for but just giving you something to think about. When I look at the platform of both parties, I see a stark contrast, nearly as much as day is from night. 

I decided a long time ago that if I was gonna grow up and have a relationship with the living Savior Jesus Christ, I needed to know what His Word says. I needed to love the things He loves, and hate the things He hates. God is love, but God is also righteous in all of His ways. 

His Word says; “God hates the shedding of innocent blood.” There’s nothing more innocent than an unborn baby. The pastor went on to say “anyone who votes for the party that approves abortion, that person has co-signed a death warrant on the unborn. They have come into an agreement and made a covenant with that party and all that it stands for.” I had never heard it said like that before. It was a hard hitting truth. It made me realize the awesome responsibility of agreement! “Today I set before you, life and prosperity, death and destruction.” Deut 30:19

Ricky Skaggs is a very proud and unabashed Trump supporter. I’m surprised Trump’s people didn’t get him to play at his inauguration in 2017. I feel certain that Skaggs would have obliged. But my guess is that Trump wouldn’t appreciate Ricky Skaggs’ bluegrass and gospel stylings.

I don’t understand why Skaggs likes Trump so much. Trump is certainly not “pro-life”. Trump brags about molesting women. He has a history of violence toward women. In fact, some of his victims have been teenagers. I would not be the least bit surprised if he has paid for abortions. In fact, when Trump found out his second wife Marla Maples, who was not his wife at the time, was pregnant with his daughter, Tiffany, he reportedly said, “Oh, great.” He also reportedly asked Marla to have an abortion. Supposedly, Trump’s mother insisted that Trump marry Maples. Their union lasted six years. He’s now on marriage number three. Below is an excerpt from a Vanity Fair article about Trump’s relationship with Maples…

At one point, he broke up with Maples by FedEx-ing her a letter, the source said. Trump bragged about his bachelorhood. “I had been in Europe fucking every model in the world. My life was wild,” he told Vanity Fair in 1994. But Trump, a famous germophobe, also found monogamy reassuring as the AIDS crisis raged. “Being single out there is a little bit scary, to put it mildly,” he said. “It’s like being in Vietnam, in the forests, and knowing there are guns pointed at your head.”

It could be possible that Trump has had a change of heart since the 1990s, but I sincerely doubt it. He’s quite clearly a narcissist and they don’t typically change. They’re famously rigid people who tend to get worse rather than better. So I don’t know why Ricky Skaggs holds Trump up to be such a moral “pro-life” choice. Frankly, I’m much more concerned about people who have already been born. And Trump brags about his conquests. He has no respect for life.

Anyway… I have been waiting for Election Day 2020. I hope Americans do the right thing. I know there are people out there who will vote for Trump because they just can’t see what a dishonest scumbag he is. There’s nothing I can do about that. I have some hope that things will change in 2021, although if Trump loses, he will do everything he can to fuck things up even more before he’s forced out of the White House. And no matter what, there will probably be chaos and violence as people react to the results.

I’m glad to be in Germany, but watching this from afar is also very sad for me. I don’t love everything about the Democrats. I especially dislike their smug, self-righteous tone when it comes to social issues. But we really need a new leader… someone with a conscience and a good brain. We have to get rid of the toxicity that Trump promotes. Otherwise, things are only going to get worse.

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good tv, nostalgia, YouTube

The “Family” rabbit hole…

Thought I’d take a break from bitching about Donald Trump today… I made a discovery yesterday that I should have made about forty years ago. It was raining most of the day, so I decided to watch some YouTube on my TV. Someone uploaded a bunch of episodes of the 70s era drama, Family.

I had heard of Family before yesterday, but never watched it during its initial run from 1976 until 1980. For one thing, we lived in England when it premiered. For another, I was only four years old at the time, and the show usually aired in the 10pm time slot. No way would I have been allowed to stay up for that, even if we’d been in the United States.

I remember people said Family was a very well-written show with progressive story lines. Kristy McNichol played Letitia “Buddy” Lawrence. At the time, she was about eleven years old and very precocious. Actor/composer John Rubinstein composed the theme for Family, which is very serious and not all that catchy. He also played Jeff Maitland, ex husband of the older Lawrence daughter, Nancy (played by Elayne Heilveil for six episodes, then Meredith Baxter).

I ended up binge watching about a half dozen episodes, or so, before Bill was finished with his work day. One of the episodes I saw was the pilot, in which Nancy Maitland comes home to find her husband in bed with another woman. She goes running home to her parents. Her dad, played by the late James Broderick, babies her. Her mom, played by the late Sada Thompson rants about how sometimes women just want “out”.

Family pilot, circa 1976…

Buddy overhears her mother say that when she was pregnant with her, there were times when she wished she could have an abortion. Naturally, that upsets Buddy, who doesn’t stick around long enough to hear her mom say that she was glad to have her now.

Earlier in the episode, Buddy is shown learning to drive a car with her big brother, Willie. She has a close relationship with him, even though he’s several years older. The character is supposed to be 17 years old, but the actor who portrayed him was actually about 27 and looked it!

I got a kick out of the driving lesson scene, though, because the two changed places while they were in the car and neither wore a seatbelt (HORRORS!). Willie tells Buddy to sit on her books, then tells her to put on her “safety belt” (no one ever calls them that anymore). She slips the shoulder belt behind her the way I used to when I rode in the front seat as a kid… no air bags, and no laws requiring kids to sit in the back seat… and, in fact, no seatbelt laws!

As I was watching that scene, I imagined Bill’s reaction to it. He’s older than I am, but he’s definitely a safety geek. I’m sure he’d be horrified!

Anyway, Willie effectively teaches eleven year old Buddy how to drive, so after she hears her mother say that at times when she was pregnant with Buddy, she’d wished to have an abortion, she runs out and takes the car for a spin. Somehow, she ends up at a greenhouse, where she throws rocks from the inside and smashes a bunch of windows in a childish rage!

An old man catches her in the act and calls the police, describing her as an eleven year old child driving a 1974 Maverick. Back in the 70s, my sister used to drive a red Maverick she called Maybell. I’m sure it was a sporty car in those days!

Next thing you know, Buddy is marched into the police station and her dad picks her up and scolds her for driving. Then he takes her home and her mom has to explain her abortion comment.

Later in the series, Nancy gets pregnant and considers having an abortion… this was cutting edge stuff in the 70s. And, as we all know, abortion remains a hot topic 45 years hence!

I also related to Buddy’s angst about what her mom said about abortion. My own mom told me many times that she hadn’t wanted to have me. She never considered having an abortion. They weren’t legal in 1972, anyway. There were many times when I wished she had had one… it would have saved us both a lot of pain. But really, I just wish she had never told me that she was ever sorry to be pregnant with me. That is just not a cool thing to say to your kid, even if you’re happy they’re here now. But it’s especially uncool if your kid is depressed and anxious anyway, as I was when I was growing up. Maybe I could be understanding about that if she’d told me when I was an adult and could comprehend the context better. But, as a kid, it devastated me and fucked me up for years… and I really related to the character Buddy’s emotional outburst at overhearing her mom say that.

Kristy McNichol is an extraordinarily talented actress. She was especially gifted as a child actress. I know she’s retired now, but she really helped make Family an excellent show. As much as I liked Meredith Baxter when I was growing up watching Family Ties, I don’t think she can hold a candle to Kristy’s gift. She’s a natural on screen.

I noticed they used percolators on that show. No one percolates coffee anymore. My mom used to have a percolator like this one. She and my dad drank nasty ground coffee from a can… Maxwell House or Folger’s. And they sweetened it with Sweet-10 (liquid saccharine) and instead of using milk or half and half, they used non-dairy powdered creamer like Cremora. Yuck!

I’ll probably keep watching Family. I get a kick out of the many guest actors from my childhood who show up. A lot of them are now dead or senior citizens, which only serves to remind me of how old I am now. But the 1970s don’t seem like they were that long ago… and frankly, they’re a nice escape from 2020, which is definitely a crazy year. Aside from the nostalgia factor, I really think it’s a great show that has aged remarkably well. I’m grateful that someone posted them on YouTube.

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politics, Trump

Pissing off my friends and family, one meme at a time…

Okay… actually, I don’t have that many friends and family who are Trump fans and still follow me. This year has really been a test on many levels. The stress of the pandemic, along with the political shitstorm, has made it harder to stay “friends” with people who differ with me politically. I just don’t have the time for the bullshit. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still see it sometimes.

A few years ago, I kicked a couple of my cousins off my Facebook page because they would not stop confronting me about my “liberal” views. I don’t really consider myself a liberal, per se. I’m for decency, fairness, and rational thinking. I do have some liberal views, particularly when it comes to social issues. But I also have some conservative leanings. I’m really more of a centrist than anything else, and in the past, voted Republican more often than Democrat. I cannot forgive the Republicans for Trump and Mitch McConnell, though, and as the years have passed, I find myself less and less willing to vote red.

Seriously…

A couple of my cousins refuse to respect the political views of those who don’t think the way they do. They are condescending and overbearing, and I can’t bear to talk to them anymore, even on Facebook. So they had to go… but I’m still friends with people who are friends with them, and I still see their heavy handed condescension toward the precious few liberals in the family.

I swear, Trump could run stark naked down Pennsylvania Avenue, shoot a dozen Black people in the head while fucking half a dozen underaged prostitutes who are also giving him golden showers, and people would still champion him! I don’t understand it. Is it JUST because he’s a “Republican”? Because he’s really not. He never was.

Trump would probably wear these.

People in my family are, by and large, extremely conservative. I have noticed that a few folks have gone to the left, but it’s mostly dyed in the wool red at the ol’ homestead. These folks are basically really good people, but they have cognitive dissonance when it comes to their politics. And they fucking LOVE Donald Trump! One of my very conservative cousins has a daughter who is refreshingly open-minded and, dare I say it? She’s a liberal, and a couple of my relatives can’t stand it. I suspect that since my liberal relative is still quite young, they feel emboldened to browbeat her for her views.

So my liberal first cousin, once removed, has been posting a lot of liberal stuff on her Facebook page. And my cousin– who is her uncle– has been taking her to task much the same way he used to take me to task before I kicked him and his brother (my liberal cousin’s dad) off my page. I have been really tempted to chime in on the discussion because I want to offer support. But then I remember how frustrating and pointless talking with him is and I decide not to. Instead, I give her supportive reactions as I inwardly groan at how offensive his comments are and how sad it is that he has so little respect for an obviously bright, ethical, and humane person.

This cousin, by the way, is the same one who won’t write the word “shit”. He thinks that calling shit “shot” makes him a better person. He is overbearing, argumentative, obnoxious, and bigoted. When I was younger, he seemed like a “strong” person, protective and caring. Now, he just seems like a control freak who can’t respect smart women. It saddens me how dumb he seems to me now, despite his attempt at using big words and his smug, patronizing air.

So when I saw today’s featured photo in the Duggar Family News group, I decided to share it. Not surprisingly, it resonated with a lot of my friends, some of whom also shared it. One friend shared it and immediately offended her Republican friends, who can’t see that supporting a man like Donald Trump makes people question how Christian they really are. More than one of them brought up abortion, which always boggles my mind. If you are truly pro-life, why would you support a man who is doing his very best to fuck up the world for all the babies they want to force to be born?

Listen… there is NO doubt in my mind that Trump has paid for abortions. If he hasn’t paid for them, then he has been supportive of women who get them when they are convenient for him. Donald Trump is a well-known philanderer. It is a fact that he cheats on his wives, and that means he has sex with women to whom he’s not married. How do Christians reconcile the fact that Trump does these things?

Last week, a Christian explained to me that God is using Trump to do “great” things. Really? Is this really just about abortion? I don’t get it. The Jesus Christ that I learned about in Sunday School was about helping the sick, the downtrodden, the poor… and anyone else who needed love, understanding, kindness, and acceptance. What I mostly see among “Christian” Republicans is judging, slut shaming, and an “I’ve got mine; screw you!” attitude. Oh, and they like their guns, too… They’ve got a real problem with a woman terminating a pregnancy– ending the life of an unconscious, undeveloped fetus who has no concept of life or death– but they want their goddamned guns! They have this attitude, even though so many very young people who aren’t so long out of the womb have been killed by guns!

So anyway, my friend who shared the featured photo got two comments from men about abortion. And since it was late and I’d had my wine, I responded thusly…

…until the Republicans champion policies that make pregnancy and childcare feasible for all women, rather than just slut shaming, I really think this particular argument needs to go away. Moreover, men cause 100% of unintended pregnancies anyway… and they are a hell of a lot more potentially prolific than women are.

The guy came back with this comment:

how in the world does that equate to NOT being in favor of killing babies…….. because YOU wouldn’t do it but you’re ok with someone else doing it?

I’m in favor if the moms life is in jeopardy and in rape…… certainly not because someone didn’t “plan” it

I respectfully will not go on after this because you are right, we could go on for days. But to insinuate that Republicans are not Christians is laughable at best, insulting and misleading at worst……… let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I have a problem with those who have “situational ethics”. If you want to grant personhood to a fetus, I don’t see how you can make the argument that abortion would be okay in certain situations. A fetus that is conceived due to rape and incest is just as innocent as an accidentally conceived fetus is. So if you’re against abortion for someone who didn’t plan it– because you think it’s murder— I don’t see how you could ever excuse it in any situation.

Fortunately, I disagree that abortion is murder. I do think there are situations in which it’s better and even kinder to terminate a pregnancy than carry a fetus to term. I always think that all people should have the right to privacy, especially when it comes to their healthcare. And since I do think the mother’s life should supersede the developing fetus’s, I think abortion should remain safe and legal– especially when we have immoral dickheads like Donald Trump in charge. So I responded with this comment:

Honestly, if you support a man who brags about grabbing women by their pussies, you kinda lose some of that moral highground… especially since Trump has a history of molesting women and teenagers. I get being conservative, but there comes a point when you really need to assess your candidate to see if he’s actually championing your ideals. I would bet money Trump has paid for abortions because he has a long and very public history of molesting women and, in fact, even brags about it.

As for abortion, when you can get pregnant and it’s your health, livelihood, and reputation on the line, I will be more interested in what you have to say. As it is now, men will never have to personally face the abortion decision and too many of them simply want to control women, yet do nothing to help when those babies arrive. So I will remain pro choice, and thank God that I will soon be beyond being personally affected by whether or not abortion is legal.

I would not want to see pregnant people turned into vessels with rights and privileges that change because they are pregnant. If we are going to force women to give birth, we have to give them what they need to make raising a child feasible. We have to make sure they have adequate housing, healthcare, nutritious food, transportation, and education. And since Republicans are not about providing those things– because that’s too “socialist” for them– then I think we must allow women to do what is best for themselves. Especially since so many men have little thought for what might happen after they deposit their sperm.

A single man can theoretically get hundreds of women pregnant every year. A woman gets pregnant and she’s going to be busy gestating for nine months and will presumably have just one (maybe two) babies. Why are so many people concerned with controlling what women do with their bodies? And how many of these folks have adopted the children who have already been born and need homes? Why is it any of their fucking business what a woman does with her body? Particularly since so few of the pro-life crowd care about what happens after the baby is born?

Either way, I don’t see how Trump really squares with the truly Christian crowd. He doesn’t behave like a Christian. But then, neither do a lot of the so-called religious role models out there. I’m thinking of people like Paula White, Josh Duggar, and Jerry Falwell, Jr. Smug, rich, white people who like power and money and preach about what Jesus would do, but they don’t actually follow Christ’s teachings are not impressive to me.

So I will continue to share offensive memes for my brave Christian friends who are surrounded by Trump supporters. They can put them on their Facebook pages and start shitstorms of their own. Maybe one or two of those right wingers will get a clue. You want to be Republican and Christian? Fine… start demanding that your representatives act like Christians should act. Otherwise, you’re just a massive hypocrite who has imbibed too much of the proverbial Kool-Aid and had your head swirled by cognitive dissonance. As Trump would say, “It’s not a good look”.

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lessons learned, social media

Never argue with a fool…

Now, more than ever, I think it’s important for people to stay out of other people’s faces. For obvious reasons, it’s a good idea to be distant. But since it’s also election season, I’ve seen a lot of people figuratively getting up in other people’s faces. I wonder if these people have given any thought to how they come across to others… or if they even care.

Here’s an example of what I mean. I have a bunch of cousins on my dad’s side of the family. One of my uncles married a very opinionated woman who is now deceased. My aunt was one of those people who loved to argue, even if a lot of her opinions were very one-sided and lacked perspective. My uncle, likewise, enjoys arguing. Both of them were heavy drinkers back in the day. My uncle is probably still a drunk. I don’t know, because I haven’t spoken to him in over three years, mainly because the last time I did, he called me a “nut case” because I disagree with him about Donald Trump making America great again.

My aunt and uncle produced four sons, all of whom are also very opinionated. They have cousins on their mother’s side who are just as opinionated. When I was still Facebook friends with most of that part of the family, I used to regularly see heated arguments, as my aunt’s family has a lively mix of extremely liberal and conservative people within it and they would publicly clash with each other on social media.

My cousin’s daughter, my first cousin once removed, is intelligent, sensitive, and very liberal. Lately, she’s been posting a lot of things about #BlackLivesMatter. That has inflamed her family members on both sides. Her grandfather’s side (my uncle’s side) of the family is conservative enough, but there’s also a cousin on her grandmother’s side (my aunt’s side) who is extremely conservative and has no problems opening verbal fire on anyone who enters a discussion with her.

I left a comment on this meme my cousin shared…

Another cousin had angrily posted that the above meme was “wrong”. This was his comment:

This is ridiculous. Race and audience are irrelevant and this insinuates police did this out of malice and there is no justifiable reason that this could ever happen. Garbage.

An argument ensued, and the same cousin posted this additional comment to the one above:

…there are justifiable reasons to shoot a man in the back. For example, someone running and firing a weapon at you.
Or, in a case like this, fending off police with a knife to keep them at a distance then saying you’re going to get your gun out of your car and running out of an area they can deter you non-lethally.
Having your kids there does not protect you from their right to self defense.

He has demonstrated the means and intent to kill the police and every second they didnt take action put them further at risk. 

If it was about blasting a black man in front of his kids, they wouldn’t have had to wait until he said he was going to get his gun to shoot them.

You can call me a coward on the street, but if someone told me they were going to get their gun out of their car and shoot me after threatening me with a knife, i wouldn’t wait for him to turn around with a pistol.

My comment was this:

I have a hard time imagining someone running AWAY from someone while also trying to accurately fire a weapon. That sounds like something on TV or in the movies, not something from real life. Either way, shooting someone in the back SEVEN times is excessive.

I based my comment on my own experience firing weapons. It’s pretty hard to be accurate with a gun, even when you’re standing still. Imagine being scared, loaded with adrenaline, and running away from someone while also trying to fire a weapon and actually hitting the target you want to hit. It doesn’t seem plausible to me.

I noticed I got a notification from my cousin’s female relative on my aunt’s side. I didn’t even read it until just now, though, because I had been observing the way she was interacting with other people who weren’t on her team. This was what she posted to me. I wholeheartedly disagree with her comment, but I’m still not going to respond, because I’ve seen her in action with other people. I know it would be a waste of time. I will give her credit, though, for not calling me “honey” or going ad hominem, as I have seen her do with other people.

“excessive” perhaps, but imagine if you were one of the officers trying to subdue this man. He told them he was getting his gun from his car to shoot them. Now imagine the 14 yr old that he raped was your daughter… he wasn’t an upstanding citizen. He resisted arrest. He should be thankful he’s still alive.

Regardless of what the man said, or my hypothetical 14 year old daughter who might have been raped, I still don’t think police officers should be killing or seriously injuring people as often as they do. This isn’t a huge problem in other countries. It shouldn’t be a problem in the so-called “best” country in the world, either. I understand the reasons why it’s a problem. We have a huge issue with racism in the United States, as well as free access to guns and a society where many people glorify violence.

I’m sure my cousin’s relative, who wants me to consider my hypothetical 14 year old daughter being raped, is not upset that Mr. Turner got out of jail so early. She already supports a president who brags about grabbing women by the pussy.

We have a political party that is all about protecting the right to bear arms as it also wants to force women to stay pregnant, while not making pregnancy and childbearing feasible and affordable. This party hates the idea of killing the unborn, who aren’t even conscious and have no concept of life, death, or terror; but they have no issues with killing the babies who have already been born, by employing their pro-violence, pro-racism policies.

And if you’re a white guy with a bright future, like former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner, you get a pass when you rape someone who is drunk and unconscious. All because you might one day make a lot of money, and no one wants to see your bright future “ruined” by something as “trivial” as raping an unconscious woman behind a Dumpster. /sarcasm

If Brock Turner had been a man with darker skin, you bet your ass he’d still be in prison. Perhaps he might have even been killed as he was caught red-handed by two Swedish graduate students, sexually violating Chanel Miller, who was intoxicated and unconscious at the time. But he wasn’t. He was arrested, tried, and spent a laughable amount of time in jail. Funny I should mention Sweden, too. That’s a country where police brutality is quite low, despite the fact that many refugees from Middle Eastern countries have settled there. Yes, it’s different in Sweden for many complex reasons that I don’t want to get into in this particular blog post. But the main difference I see is that basic decency among citizens and their leaders is expected.

Swedish police officers vacationing in New York City break up a fight without killing anyone.

In a news article about the off duty Swedish cops who, back in 2015, subdued a homeless guy in New York City, Swedes were reportedly unimpressed by the cops’ heroics. Here’s a screen shot from the news article, in which Swedes explain that it’s part of their culture to help rather than harm.

Why can’t more Americans adopt this attitude? Why can’t I have empathy for a man who was shot seven times in the back by police officers? Why is it necessary for me to excuse violence from professional cops, even if the man who was shot seven times in the back by them might have raped my hypothetical 14 year old daughter?

I read, with much disdain, comments made by Abby Johnson, a “top” RNC speaker and rabid anti-abortion activist, who not only thinks it would be good to have household voting with the husbands being the ones to cast the votes, but also thinks cops should be excused for racially profiling one of her sons. Johnson said,

“Statistically, I look at our prison population and I see that there is a disproportionately high number of African-American males in our prison population for crimes, particularly for violent crimes. So statistically, when a police officer sees a brown man like my Jude walking down the road — as opposed to my white nerdy kids, my white nerdy men  walking down the road — because of the statistics that he knows in his head, that these police officers know in their head, they’re going to know that statistically my brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense over my white sons.”

“So the fact that in his head, he would be more careful around my brown son than my white son, that doesn’t actually make me angry. That makes that police officer smart, because of statistics.”

Wow… so she thinks that people with brown skin are automatically going to be more violent and more likely to commit crimes, simply because of the color of their skin? She’s never heard of “gentle giants”? She’s never heard of nerdy white guys who sit in their mothers’ basements and eventually get so antisocial that they decide to shoot up schools? I could probably fill another blog post with many paragraphs about the “nerdy white guys” who have killed innocent children– former unborn babies that Johnson supposedly wished to protect before they entered the world as separate beings.

Think about Sandy Hook– 28 six year olds who just wanted to learn something in school– murdered by a nerdy white guy named Adam Lanza. Adam Lanza was just one such “nerdy white guy” of many, who have toted weapons into schools and killed innocent children. But Abby Johnson thinks her brown skinned son, Jude, is a bigger threat “‘cuz statistics”. Okay, then. If cops haven’t figured out that “nerdy white guys” can be threatening, then the cops are pretty damned stupid. And, by now, I’m sure people like Dylann Roof and Adam Lanza, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, and Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, and all the other “nerdy white guys” should have leveled the statistics about nerdy white guys and “being dangerous” somewhat by now!

Anyway… I could certainly get into it with my cousin’s relative on her grandmother’s side about this… and it would likely get very heated, and one of us might resort to sarcastically calling the other “honey” or “punk assed bitch” or something stupid like that. It becomes uncivilized and unproductive in a hurry and raises my blood pressure.

In fairness, it’s not just the right wingers who are like this. On RfM, once one of my favorite places to hang out when I need a break from Facebook, there are several posters who are aggressively liberal. One of them recently called me a “rape apologist” because I have empathy for the late Mary Kay Letourneau and her former student and ex husband, Vili Fualaau. Whether or not I condone with Mary Kay Letourneau did, she and Vili were married, and he apparently still had much regard for her. I don’t know why he loved her. But he evidently doesn’t consider himself her victim, even if other people do. I think his opinions about Mary Kay Letourneau are much more important than mine are. Moreover, even though these women think his life was “ruined” by Mary Kay’s actions, it’s clear that HE doesn’t think so. And his opinion is more important, in my view. How would those people like it if some unknown stranger in Internetland declared their lives “ruined” without even knowing them personally? I know I wouldn’t like it. Acknowledging that Vili Fualaau might be genuinely sad that his ex wife died, doesn’t make me a “rape apologist”. That’s ridiculous.

You can see two of those posters at work in this recent thread on RfM. Personally, I immediately got with the OP was posting about… people going around “baiting” other people into behaving badly, getting it on video, making the video go viral, and then trying to score a payday or fifteen minutes of fame. I think it does happen. But God forbid someone point this out in a forum on RfM, where a few prominent posters seem to have taken over with their overbearing points of view. I won’t even engage with them anymore, because I simply don’t have the time for it.

Ditto to the COVID-19 mask crusaders who are extremely rude and intolerant toward people who object to wearing face masks. They routinely shut down any discussion whatsoever, even if it has merit (for instance, my example regarding the man who was missing parts of his ears due to going to war). You can’t have an exchange with them without being attacked, insulted, and vilified. So I just don’t bother with it. I’d rather just write a blog post where I can write my thoughts on my own space. But some people don’t even like that I do that, even though they’re in the business of working for the United States government, where freedom of expression is supposedly a “thing”. Only if you express what they want to “hear”, right?

Well… this post is causing me to have to repost a couple of old blog posts/book reviews, so I’ll stop here and get to that. Suffice to say that I have my opinions. I will share them, but I don’t have to defend them or argue with other people about them. I still have a right to them… and other people might think I’m stupid or clueless or call me things like a “rape apologist”. But if I see someone habitually going on the attack or am on the receiving end of an attack, I won’t be wasting my time in the fray.

As the Bible says…

Words to live by.

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