Thoughts & Observations on Life, Society, and the Times by Al E.

Archive for the ‘What ARE they thinking??’ Category

Guns – to Arm or Not to Arm – THAT is the question!

In What ARE they thinking?? on Tuesday, February 27th, 2018 at 12:36 PM

I’m sure there are many views, opinions and thoughts surrounding this question in light of the most recent mass shooting of kids.  However, thanks to the intelligent, articulate teenage survivors who have presented their thoughts and concerns, the issue appears to be FINALLY getting the attention it deserves.

As expected, there are meetings, interviews, comments and polls, with the usual exhaustive, intense and extensive media coverage. Even so, there doesn’t seem to be any noteworthy progress toward realistic, sensible suggestions for solutions.  Just more talk, between the politicians, the NRA, and the policy makers with the usual cries of infringement on our freedoms and rights granted by the Second Amendment.  I suspect this tactic is being used in the hope of waiting out the “news cycle” hoping that the issue will just fading away; overshadowed by the next tragedy, natural disaster or scandal.

To me, there are two real questions that should be addressed before realistic productive conversations toward fair, law and policy changes can begin.  Then and only then, can any discussions regarding who should have access to guns in general, high-capacity, assault rifles, the capacity of magazines, depth of background checks, etc. can realistic solutions be truly explored.

No, I am not anti-guns. I respect and appreciate protecting all the rights of all our citizens, including those in the Second Amendment.

However, let’s first ask, why does any citizen need a rapid fire, large capacity assault rifle?  To defend themselves, their family or their property – from whom???  We have a strong, capable military and local, well-trained law enforcement to serve and protect us from any large-scale threat.  A hand gun, shotgun or rifle should more than serve the needs of personal protection and hunting.

Secondly, and I feel the more important issue is, if there is No gun, there is No question.  No question as to who did or didn’t react appropriately.  No question as to who is or isn’t willing or properly trained to carry.  No need to prohibit or restrict access, shelter in place, or live with unreasonable fear or anxiety.  Done, simple, fair and complete.  Rights protected, and life goes on.

One final thought regarding the cries of “responsible, law abiding gun owners” being hindered, infringed upon or criminalized by stricter background checks, bans, or additional laws.  In the most recent Florida shooting, the assault rifle(s) were legally purchased.  The Orlando nightclub shooter bought his gun legally.  In the Newtown shooting, the shooter’s Mother purchased her guns, legally, then gave access to her son, knowing he was mentally ill. The Las Vegas shooter bought his many, many guns legally.  The list goes on and on.


Justice?!? Whaaaat!

In What ARE they thinking??, You CAN'T fix - STUPID on Sunday, July 21st, 2013 at 3:39 AM

OK!!  I get it – Trayvon Martin was a black, unarmed teenager, shot to death by a white self-appointed vigilante.  (By-the-way, is Mr. Zimmerman – White, or could he be Hispanic, Native American, Jewish, Japanese, or like our President a mix?  He doesn’t “look” 100% white to me).

What I DON’T get is why is it more important to focus on the “racial issues,” rather than the fact that a young, unarmed boy is dead???  Why are the outrages, the marches, and demands for justice based solely on the fact that Mr. Zimmerman was found NOT Guilty??

There has not been any effort to address the Gun Control/Background checks issues.  There has not been any recognition of the fact that Mr. Zimmerman was brought to trial, as is his right, and found NOT guilty by a duly appointed jury of his peers.  That’s our Justice System.  Flawed as it is, it’s the best we got!!!

So I ask where’s the injustice??  Just because the masses didn’t get the verdict that THEY wanted there is no Justice??  Or is it because it was a White man who killed a Black boy, and he “got off” that there’s all the outrage?

Where was Al Sharpton – that worthless racist, rabble-rouser – and ALL the now, Justice for Trayvon demonstrators, when O.J. was acquitted??   When a Black man was accused of killing a White woman, and what made that murder even worse, she was the Mother of his children, and he “got off.”  Yes there was, and to this day, still is, controversy over his acquittal.  But, think back on that whole fiasco, the country riveted to their TVs throughout the trial.  The Late-Night Talk Show hosts, and just about everyone else, expressing outrage, anger and frustration – believing O.J. did do it.  The important point is that the outrage was over the TRIAL and the VERDICT, not any racial issues!  The white community didn’t rise up and demand Justice for Nicole simply because she was white and O.J. black.  The outrage was that he “got off” and everyone believed HE WAS Guilty.  Yet, the fact remains O.J. was brought to trial, by a jury of his peers, and found innocent, and the world had to “deal with it.”

I am NOT so naive as to believe that racism doesn’t exist.  I am NOT condoning, ignoring, or in any way implying that racial issues should be ignored, or avoided.  They are real, they do still exist and they must be addressed.  Did race play a part in the Trayvon Martin case, I believe it did to some degree.  What I DON’T blindly believe, is that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin just because he was black!   There are obviously facts, information and circumstances that the Jury knows, and we don’t.  The Jury found him Not Guilty, based on that information, and that IS our Justice System!  Done, over, finished – deal with it!

While I’m at it, why isn’t there the same outrage we’re seeing over Justice and Race for Trayvon, when a Black man kills another Black man, or worse, an innocent child or bystander, black or white??  Where are the Al Sharptons then??  There’s not a day that goes by that there isn’t news of yet another shooting of Black men by Black men, (often drug or gang related).  Yes, the neighborhoods get their two minutes of fame on TV, expressing their outrage, their desire to “clean up the streets, and keep everyone safe,” demanding the violence MUST stop!!!  I couldn’t agree more!  It is a blight on our society and is the forerunner of total chaos and opens the door for the decline in our way of life.   So what’s being done about those injustices?  The real injustices are that the criminals have more rights than the citizens, and are often back on the streets sooner than later.

In order for things to truly change, we must ALL accept our responsibilities to do what’s right and no longer accept this moral and social decay.  Take a stand and stamp out injustice against anyone.

How about that Second Amendment?!?

In Stop & Think before you speak!, What ARE they thinking?? on Sunday, July 21st, 2013 at 2:12 AM

I felt it important to post this now, on the anniversary of the Aurora Massacre.  I can’t believe this tragedy happened a whole year ago, was followed by Sandy Hook in December, numerous other gun violence and senseless killings, (Trayvon Martin, etc.) and we STILL DON’T HAVE ANY REALISTIC, PROSPECTIVE, GUN SAFETY DISCUSSIONS, let alone any Laws!

“During the debates on the adoption of the Constitution, its opponents repeatedly charged that the Constitution as drafted would open the way to tyranny by the central government. Fresh in their minds was the memory of the British violation of civil rights before and during the Revolution. They demanded a “bill of rights” that would spell out the immunities of individual citizens. Several state conventions in their formal ratification of the Constitution asked for such amendments; others ratified the Constitution with the understanding that the amendments would be offered.”

These are NOT my words, but a quote from an authorized, official, U.S. Government website:  They are part of the introduction to, and an explanation of, the thinking behind the “Bill of Rights” and the resulting Amendments.

Thus the basis of the Second Amendment.  While the potential for the need of citizens to have the ability and right to form a “Militia” may still exist, the true possibility is highly unlikely.  Yes, I’m sure there are some that would argue.  But, really, after 200+ years of successful, democratic government, can it truly be a “realistic” fear??

Now, as to all the noise, ranting and raving about Second Amendment Rights.  What and where are the problems, concerns, fears?  No one is suggesting, pro-porting or supporting violating, taking, or impeding anyone’s “Rights!”  You can keep your rights, keep your guns, and your freedoms.

IF you are truly a responsible, sane, conscientious, accountable gun owner, you will step up and support measures that insure, foster and covet  those ideals and rights for all, through realistic gun control regulations, more extensive background checks, and gun registration.  Give credence to your claims that you hold the belief that “human rights” are truly inalienable by offering realistic, workable alternatives, rather than opposition and bigotry?  Why wouldn’t you??

To be honest, while not a gun owner, myself,  I am not against guns, ownership of them, or the Second Amendment, in fact I support them.  What truly concerns, no, really frightens me are the fanatics, the lunatic fringe.  Those who are screaming the loudest, ranting the most, misrepresenting and opposing ANY realistic conversations, proposals, or potential solutions to the controversy.  And their rights are in jeopardy???  Really!!

These people continue to insist that their “rights” are important and on the verge of being violated or worse, denied.  In reality, these gun-lovers are putting their interests and “rights” paramount, above the rights of everyone else.  They are touting that anything, any modification, enhancement or restriction on guns or ammunition is Unconstitutional.  How can they be sincere in their insistence that they respect and are interested in upholding Constitutional rights, when they will not even remotely consider the rights and safety of all, not just theirs, let alone non-gun owners?

What is wrong with our Representatives, our Civil Servants, both local and national??  How can they, in good conscience, continue to “listen” to the gun zealots, aka the NRA, by blatantly and continually dragging their feet, delaying a vote on any attempts at potential compromises, apparently turning a deaf ear to logic and reason?  Are they truly serving their constituents, or their own, selfish ends, AKA campaign contributions?

Finally, why is one of the most critical aspects of the “problem,” mental illness, continually mentioned almost as an after-thought?  An, “oh, by the way” these mass murderers had untreated, overlooked or ignored mental illness.  Is talking about it going to fix this short coming, this blight on society?  Shouldn’t this go hand in hand with any serious discussion about gun control?

While I’m on that subject, let me ask how the “responsible” gun activists can justify, condone, ignore the facts that have recently come to light in the Sandy Hook tragedy.  Namely that  Adam Lanza’s mother, a supposedly responsible gun owner, not only minimized his “mental illness” but actually bought the guns he had access to.  It may upset some, perhaps many, but personally I believe she got what she deserved, shot in her head in her bed, first, before the rampage at the school.  The real tragedy is Adam didn’t shoot her years ago.  Then he might have gotten the help he needed and innocent lives would have been lived, and who knows what they would have achieved?

Thank you for Thinking!

Tonto was Offensive??

In Maybe we're just too sensitive, What ARE they thinking??, You CAN'T fix - STUPID on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 at 7:04 PM

While I’m on the “offended rant,” I must mention what I believe, is the latest, and to me the most surprising revelation of offense.  Tonto!  Yes, for those of us old enough to have the privilege to have grown up – back in the day, when The Lone Ranger was a Saturday morning staple, I would guess you’d be wondering – What – too???  I really don’t know anyone who didn’t watch, and ride along with him and his trusty, faithful sidekick, Tonto!!!

What a thrill it was, serving “…truth, Justus and the American Way…” with the call “Hi Ho Silver,” to our magnificent, steed and our respected, appreciated, loyal friend, Tonto, by our sides!  How I swelled with pride as I imagined being part of the posse with Ko-mo sah-bee (“trusty scout” or “trusted friend”) and Tonto, as they taught life lessons of faith, trust, true friendship, respect and honor in doing good!  Those really were the days!

I was intrigued and excited in learning that the “new” current Lone Ranger movie was not only presenting one of my childhood heroes to a whole new generation, but that the story was being told from Tonto’s point of view!  Awesome!!  I always respected Tonto’s loyalty, and anticipated this “twist” that I was sure would add another layer of honor and appreciation to the Legend as a whole.

Imagine my shock and disappointment when, later in that promotional interview, (and others since) when Johnny Depp, who plays Tonto explained that not only was Tonto “offended” in his treatment by “K,” but was offensive, himself, to his fans, especially his fellow Indians!!!!  I sat in stunned silence, my mouth agape as the news sank in.  Tonto and The Lone Ranger, my heroes, my childhood idles were not only biased, but Politically INCORRECT!!!  An on a grand scale – 1950’s TV.  As this revelation bore deeper into my sensibilities, I began to wonder if this wasn’t some sinister plot, cooked up by the “white-man,” and designed toward corrupting the youth of the day?!?!  Maybe that’s what’s behind my lack of patience or respect for all this Political Correctness and everyone’s taking “Offense” at just about everything!

I don’t know about you, but I, for one, NEVER thought Tonto was a second class citizen, a servant, disrespected or any more “below” the Lone Ranger than the rest of us.  Tonto was his assistant, his right-hand man, his “Friday,” his “Watson.”  Tonto had his duties, just as any assistant to the Boss has, be they man or woman; black or white; old or young, gay or straight.  He had his job, and he did it well.  He was loyal, faithful, respectful and obedient.  He knew his place and purpose, and was proud and happy to serve!

After all, Ko-mo sah-bee was the Boss, and far above reproach.  White hat, white outfit, white horse – you really couldn’t get any more “white” than that.  Now that I think about it!

Humph, maybe we were being brain-washed; groomed to be gullible and subservient; so we’d become a generation of Stepford Wives, subject-able to the whims of the self-appointed leaders so they could feel superior.  Not by growing and improving themselves, but by fostering stupid, pumping it into the air, so it could become universal.  Gauging by all the things that “offend” somebody at one time or another, and all the fear, concern and shame everyone feels  about not being seen as “politically correct,” I’d say they were successful!  The solution – stop breathing, at least such deep breaths!


In What ARE they thinking?? on Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 at 5:24 PM

Like many, if not most of us, I get all kinds of junk email!  Jokes, games, prayers, SCAMS, etc.  You name it I get it.  Sometimes they’re amusing, sometimes threatening – send this to 10 friends or suffer a long, painful death – sometimes frustrating, annoying or downright upsetting.  Most of the time I may take a quick look, depending who sent them,  just for Ha-Ha s.  But more often than not, the “delete” key is my first reaction.

Just the other day I got one such email from a good friend.  It contained a number of photos of President Obama with various and sundry dignitaries, celebrities, politicians and such.  Each photo had a humorous caption, obviously not what was really being said, but a cleaver “take” on the circumstances of the times and captured subjects.  Even though the overall theme of the captions were intended to foster a derogatorily opinion of the President and criticize, minimize and ridicule his efforts, many of the photos did, in fact make me chuckle, in spite of myself.  After all I am human and can “take a joke”.

Given the sender is a friend, who I know is anti-Obama, but for the most part is a decent, intelligent citizen, I decided to comment on the email, and decided to take advantage of the captive audience, the cc’s, by replying to “all” with the following:

Hello All,
Sorry to disagree with the underlying message here.  While I DO have a very broad and open sense of humor I am Very Sick and Tired of the STUPID, ridiculous, and counter productive Obama jokes and ridicule.  Black, half black or half white, whichever you prefer has nothing to do with what he is TRYING to do – SOMETHING, ANYTHING – to make all our lives better – not just the 1% RICH who hold more wealth than ALL the rest of society, and as if that isn’t bad enough, they (the Rich) hold us ALL hostage with inflated gas prices which raises the cost of EVERYTHING as everything is transported by truck and trucks run on gas.
If congress spent more time working TOWARD solving the issues and less effort working AGAINST President Obama there would be progress.  If everyone else, who spends time compiling, composing, sending and believing this type of nonsense spent HALF the effort working to: 1-Find the truth, not the garbage the Media, any media, spoon feeds us but rather discover the truth, for themselves; 2-Develop some independent intelligence and tell their Representatives to Get Off Their Cushie, Best Health Care there is covered, Over Paid, Under Taxed, Privileged Asses we might see some real progress.
Until then, keep laughing at the Half White President who is working to make our lives better – while the Rich get Richer…..  You know the rest.
Thanks for listening – IF you did.

I’d hoped to make everyone/anyone/someone just THINK.  Apply some logic and reason and draw their OWN conclusions – not blindly follow the crowd.  I’m not opposed to anyone having an opinion or political view different from mine – I expect it and appreciate that that is America, but their views or beliefs should be based on facts, not prejudices (and I don’t mean racial) or strict Party Lines.  To my surprise and pleasure I did get a response from one of the “cc’s”.  At least one person showed signs of life, reacting with this response:

     I don’t know why every argument has to start with racism.  Obama’s inadequacies don’t have anything to do with that. The fact is he has spent us into this mess and he wants to continue.
     And what do (you) have against the rich(?).  The vast majority of them have earned it the right way… most have ….working hard and providing jobs for the rest of us, while paying the bulk of the taxes collected.  If it weren’t for them we would be like Greece…..all takers and no providers.
     We pay less for gasoline than most of the rest of the world, so I don’t get what you are saying.
     As for political cartoons – they have existed for hundreds of years now. Look at some aimed at the early American politicians. They were downright nasty. But I respect your position and promise (to) not pass anything on to you.
     I do agree with you that congress in general is totally aimless, and we must get people into those jobs that really care about doing the right thing now.

In an effort to clarify and encourage and provoke further unbiased, real, independent thought I commented as follows:

No, I am not a racist!  It is just that that seems to be many people’s blind spot, in that it colors–no pun intended–their review/reactions to any efforts President Obama has made.
     If by “spending us into this mess” you are referring to the “Stimulus Package” yes, he tried to do something that hasn’t worked-agreed.  However, why did he have to “do” anything to try to fix the economy?  IF it wasn’t in such a mess when he took office this would be a moot point as there would have been NO need to bail out our greedy poorly managed, take, take, take financial institutions.  You do remember that despite the “Bail-Out” those conscientious, responsible business executives STILL took their bonuses and huge salaries – didn’t they?
    As to the “rich”, I have nothing against them.  Why would anyone resent the condescending attitude that the entitled, privileged few exhibit toward us, the “common man” or that they are treated differently in the courts, in the tax laws, and by society in general.  As to their “hard work” to earn their fortunes, yes – while many have earned it, more of them got it the “easy” way – they inherited it.
Please show me any proof that the “rich” are providing us jobs.  Unless you mean: pool boys, grounds keepers, maids, nannies, drivers and other “service” people, I don’t know of anyone who is employed by a “rich” person – directly.  Companies are usually owned by  rich stock holders yes.  However, all they are interested are Profits – NOT the working man.
     Yes, the “rich” may pay the bulk of taxes, after all the loopholes, concessions, deductions and “breaks” they get which you and I do NOT!   Why wouldn’t it stand to reason that since they have the bulk of the income and wealth, they pay the bulk of the total taxes.  Ah, but at what percent of their overall worth?
    You feel it’s thanks to the “rich” that we aren’t like Greece…. – really, I pay MY taxes too, don’t YOU?  And at what percent of OUR total worth?  I’m sure as Hell NOT rich – you? – p.s. don’t get me started on the “takers” that the bleeding-hearts welcome into the country.
     O.K. maybe we do pay the lowest gas prices in the world, so that makes it OK for the Oil Companies to get all kinds of Tax Breaks, Concessions, and Loop-Holes, AND continue to earn Huge Profits – while working people are struggling to get to work – if they’re lucky enough to have a job.  Then we all get to pay More for groceries, cloths any commodity that travels by truck.  (See above)
     Again, it’s NOT the cartoons – I’ll admit I did laugh at many of them!!  If you note I did say it was the Underlying Message, not the cartoons per say.
Thank you, Thank you!!  I’m glad we agree on the incompetency and ineffectiveness of Congress!

I truly hope I’m not beating a dead horse, as all I’m trying to do is bring a semblance of balance, logic and truth into a very emotional, irrational situation.

Let’s STOP following the “squeaky wheels” fear mongers and fast talkers.  Let’s START questioning their logic, calling a spade a spade, review the facts and base our reactions on those facts; after applying a big dose of good old-fashioned logic, common sense and reason.

Remember, if you’re not part of the Solution – you’re part of the Problem!


New Packaging for “Our own good”!

In What ARE they thinking?? on Saturday, July 2nd, 2011 at 3:29 PM

I’m not a smoker.  Tried it in high school, you know to be “cool” at $.25, yes 25-cents, a pack; didn’t like it, and realized I’d rather spend my quarter on a black & white – ice cream soda.  Yea, I had my vices, food beat nicotine; I’m not proud of it, it was just the reality.

Back then, and until fairly recently, at least in my life span, EVERYBODY smoked – on TV, at their desk at work, in restaurants – sometimes even while they were eating –  on a bus, in a school yard – everywhere.  No one really cared or waved their arms all over the place, made rude comments or carried on.  And, if they did care, they kept it to themselves, avoided the situation and went about their day.  That’s the way it was.  People basically minded their own business and went about THEIR lives – not trying to “Rule the world” and mind my business. 

Ah!  I miss those days!!!

Now today, not only do we have the Socially Correct Squad telling us what is and is not OK to think, say or do, but we have more and more Government Intervention into our lives telling us how to live, or die, for that matter, too.  I’m not surprised that they – the Government – has jumped on the band wagon, since everybody covets authority and power and seeks to gain it, and after all The Government is only “humans” unfortunately humans with power.  What does really surprise me is that the very people who fight so tirelessly to foist their opinions, values, morals on ALL of us, complain so vehemently when the government does it; “…too much government interference…”; that is unless it serves their ends – then it’s A-OK !

Let’s take a look at the new packaging requirements for cigarettes, soon to be mandatory on all brands and in all ads.  Pretty graphicright AbsolutelyScaryNo.  (Not in this day and age when EVERYTHING is “graphic” – anyone seen some of the most popular video games.) A deterrentmaybe for a new smoker, until that HOT boy that they want to date or the popular clique they want to fit in with – offers a smoke – then, “…those pictures aren’t real…” or “…that won’t happen to me…”, so I’d say – NO.  Does anyone really think this will work?  Well I hope it does, ’cause then we can solve a multitude of  Society’s problems with appropriate packaging.

Remember I said I’m not a smoker – but I am an eater, and yes, by many standards I’d be considered – weight challenged.  If you were to ask me I’d say, No, I’m plain old FAT, Obese a PorkerThere, I said it – I’m outed and free at last!  No more deceiving myself or any other sighted person by describing myself as pleasingly plump, chubby, or the currently acceptable – weight challenged.  That said, I’ll move on!

So, I’m thinking that IF the new graphic cigarette packaging works, and smoking is significantly reduced – we can solve the obesity problem plaguing America with adequate, strategically placed and appropriate signage and packaging.

We, the Government, could require all fast-food restaurants to have posters of those infamous Wal-Mart Shoppers we’ve all gotten photos of in an email.  (I mean REALLY what are they thinking?!?!)  You know, the fat old men and woman – hairy bellies hanging over belts, butt-cracks on benches, tight, tight, short, shorts with the thong string showing and gargantuan, flabby arms in halter tops, and hanging them where the enticing pictures of Thick, Juicy Burgers, Tacos, and Golden Fries once hung.  They could have captions like “Your prize after Only four regular visits!”  Or “The burger – $2.49; the fries a $1.00; the heart attack – Priceless.”  Maybe a picture of some clogged arteries or a surgeon with paddles shouting – “clear” could be on the wrappers, napkins and cups.  The kiddie meals could have pictures of grieving mourners walking away from a pretty grave side.  After all, we don’t want to unduly scare the little ones.

If that were the case, the next time I went into a fast-food restaurant – ready to down a 6,000 calorie, high sodium meal and I saw one those posters, I’d probably still order, but avoid looking at the photos; I’d sit with my back to them and vow to ALWAYS use the drive-thru, my usual route.  All that walking to the counter, the table and back to the car is really too much exercise anyway!

This approach could work at an all you can eat buffet or anywhere food is available.  Those little signs naming the various offerings could specify exactly what disease: diabetes, clogged arteries, etc; and the eventual medical condition you should expect: blindness, liver or kidney damage, stroke, hyper-tension, obesity.   The “sneeze guard” could have graphic photos of belly fat, cellulite and more Wal-Mart Shoppers.  That will make you think twice about dessert!

Another Problem solved – obesity.

While I do care about my health, and yours, to a point, I don’t think the quote – “you are your brother’s keeper” was meant that we should make all his decisions.  Do you??  I really believe advise, educate, support and hope for the best is really all we can do.

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