Tuesday, December 29, 2015

SOCIAL COMMENTARY: Tamir Rice Shooting is Tragic but NOT an "Injustice" by Definition

The death of a twelve-year-old child is a tragedy regardless of circumstance. Tamir Rice's death is a tragedy.

Is it really appropriate, or reasonable, however, to suggest that it's another example of an unjustified killing of a civilian by police?

A grand jury decided that charges cannot be filed against the police officer that shot Tamir Rice. Clearly, they decided that the officer's actions were reasonable based on all of the circumstances at the scene.

On social media, however, many seem to disagree, insisting that this is yet another example of the disproportionately-high number of non-Caucasian civilians gunned-down by police in America. You know, the alleged original purpose of the Black Lives Matter movement: to bring this disproportionately-high statistic into view for all to see.

Yes, this is an example of a non-Caucasian individual being gunned-down by police.

But can we really hold it against an officer to arrives to a scene where a 5'7", 175lb individual is brandishing a pellet gun that STRONGLY RESEMBLES a real one? What, is it unrealistic that a 5"7, 175lb man might NOT be brandishing a weapon? That when asked to raise his hands - not once, not twice, but three times - he instead reached for the gun at his waist ... did he think that the police were kidding?

Well, turns out that he was a twelve-year-old kid who must not have known any better.

But can we hold that against the police arriving at the scene?

Folks seem to think so - I can't scroll through a Facebook feed of postings without seeing something about the topic many times daily - and I only follow the posts of about four hundred people, the vast majority of whom are fairly inactive. More realistically, we'll presume that I only see the posts of up to twenty people routinely and daily, who are also a demographically-diverse sample size. And we're only talking Facebook here. That's not counting Instagram, Twitter, and the whole slew of available social media outlets used by millions online.

So yeah, I've got something to say, because I'm reminded every time I scroll through social media that too many folks are under the mistaken impression that JUSTICE HASN'T BEEN SERVED:

Maybe instead of demanding that people get outraged at a supposed LACK OF JUSTICE in the death of a civilian who happened to be a twelve-year-old, who decided to brandish a toy that strongly resembled a deadly weapon, and who refused to comply with police directions that were clear and were repeated multiple times ... MAYBE WE NEED TO GET OUTRAGED THAT WE ARE CRITICIZING LAW ENFORCEMENT WHOSE JOB IS TO MAINTAIN ORDER IN A DISORDERLY WORLD when unfortunate circumstances happen, such as people MAKING POOR CHOICES.

I am not blaming a twelve-year-old and/or supposing that he should have known better.

But I am SURE NOT BLAMING A POLICE OFFICER DOING HIS JOB, either.

And I'm not suggesting that human error isn't a factor - perhaps in both the officer and the victim.

A tragedy is a tragedy, period.

But let's stop lumping this one in as a FAILURE OF JUSTICE, as movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement would have you believe.

It isn't.

Plain and simple.

And the more that protestors and civilians who claim INJUSTICE insist on shoving those claims down others' throats, such as in social media, the more of us who exercise logic, who look at the entirety of the situation and realize this is a TRAGEDY but not an INJUSTICE, will resist and question the claims of those who relentlessly protest at every possible opportunity, and who prove daily that we are living in an every-growing VICTIMHOOD SOCIETY.


|JD Sandy|

Thursday, December 3, 2015

SOCIAL COMMENTARY: To Each Their Own, But STOP Challenging OTHERS' Choice of FAITH

I have absolutely no objection to the godless. I mean that sincerely and honestly.

I DO object to godless individuals who insist upon questioning others' choice of faith.

If you haven't encountered the latter type of atheist, consider yourself lucky. Social media being as rampant as it is, they're out there.

Is there ANYTHING less productive that one could POSSIBLY do with their time than to challenge and question others' choice to have faith in powers greater than the human self?

Why use social media to cite denouncement of the notion of a God in which many, many folks find strength in faith?

To the mouthy, self-righteous, faith-is-stupid-and-I-need-you-to-know-it breed of atheists out there:

Look, it's your choice to use your human logic in whatever manner you choose, and in whatever matters you choose - that's a healthy, sane approach to life in general.

But there are questions that span time and human history, and there is a reason that belief in deities has been with us for all of that time.

Now, if you take pleasure and pride in feeling that you've transcended that kind of thinking (faith, in contrast to logic, when it comes to those unanswerable questions), kudos to you.

But you have no place to think that it's in any sort of good taste to tell others how they shouldn't pursue faith. Or to make them feel stupid or na├»ve for doing so. Or for expressing your belief that they're 'copping out.'

It's about hope for a lot of people who otherwise see despair. Something that gives hope, in a world with so much disparity. Is whatever purpose these faith-is-stupid-and-I-need-you-to-know-it breed of atheists derive from citing a lack of logic in the proposition of an omnipotent deity MORE IMPORTANT than hope for a world of people?

Maybe it's an expression of frustration in lieu of the idea that politicians sometimes take the opportunity to characterize atheism as immoral. Maybe you just believe that everyone's beliefs should be challenged. Or maybe you just like the sound of your own voice.

Tact & couth are two concepts that are QUICKLY DISAPPEARING these days.

Let's try and keep it classy, America.

SOCIAL COMMENTARY: LGBTQ Community & Allies: "Hero" Doesn't Necessarily Equate to ADMIRABLE PERSON - on Caitlyn Jenner

Back in June, when Jenner appeared on the cover of Vanity and we all read the words "Call Me Caitlyn," folks were abuzz about Jenner's transition to a public female trans identity.

I wasn't surprised by folks' defense of Jenner's bravery in going through what all it must take to make such a transition and such a public statement, nor was I surprised by the backlash when the trans community and its allies, and really the broader generalized LGBTQ community, heralded Jenner a "hero." I was quick to defend this notion of what a "hero" can be when a lot of what I'll generalize as less-progressive-lifestyle-tolerant individuals made comparisons between a war hero and someone I considered to be a potential hero for many within the trans community and its allies. Of many remarks I made in social media, here are a few:

"What I have a [hard] time understanding why people seem so hung-up on a non-cisgender person being depicted as a hero for a non-cisgender community. Heroism [can come] in all shapes and sizes, literally and metaphorically."

"One type of heroism doesn't make another invalid, regardless of what community, and the set of beliefs/values it benefits ... as though [being a hero], as perceived by different [communities &] interest groups may only exist in mutual exclusivity."

"Why isn't [one cannot] be a hero if they are not a hero for you personally, if they're not SPECIFICALLY a dead soldier, a wounded warrior, or a militia hero?"

Well, I've had some time to look back on my statements.

And they're not untrue.

When I consider the notion of a hero, I first turn to a textbook definition. Google the word "hero." You get the following: "A person ... who is admired or idolized for courage, outstanding achievementsor  noble qualities."

Does it take courage to proclaim that you identify as a trans male or trans female? Absolutely. Does it take courage to go through a physical transformation at over sixty years of age as drastic as Jenner's, which involved medications and surgeries? Absolutely. Is that a reality, the prospect of medications and physical alterations via surgical intervention, for many in the trans community? Absolutely.

Is Jenner inspirational to many within the trans community and its allies, and also to many outside of those communities? Without a question, for a lot of people, yes. I'm not challenging that, refuting that claim, or denying it.

But it's been months since that June Vanity Fair cover,  and there's a lot to be taken into consideration about Jenner and the folks to whom we subscribe through social media, television, awards shows, the choices of who we idolize and for what reasons, and those to whom we as a society give media attention, whether praise or demonization...

To the people of the trans community, of the greater LGBTQ community, & to the allies as such, take heed: 

Before we go any further in praise, let's take some time to consider whether this is really an admirable person we're allowing to continue to make headlines. Because whether it's hero worship or demonization, I mean the media attention and credit we've given to a media household name, whether in a positive or negative light while we did it, we should consider whether this person some of us call a "hero" for a community, to whom GLAMOUR MAGAZINE gave a WOMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD, is really a particularly admirable person.

Jenner, in the public eye, and presumably smart-enough to know EXACTLY THE SIGNIFICANCE OF WHAT ONE SAYS WHEN IN THE PUBLIC EYE since Jenner is a former OLYMPIC ATHLETE who has been IN AND OUT OF HEADLINES FOR YEARS, claimed in a Buzzfeed interview that the hardest part of being a woman is "figuring out what to wear." Right AFTER winning a Woman of the Year award with Glamour Magazine. Feminists everywhere went wild. And I have to agree with them. This is a real smack in the face for survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, institutionalized oppression, ... the list goes on.

This attitude toward women hits even HARDER given that Jenner spent the majority of his adult life as a RICH MAN.

There's that drinking-related incident that resulted in the death of another driver, where Jenner could have faced charges of misdemeanor manslaughter, but the prosecution found that they did not believe they could prove beyond reasonable doubt that Jenner was reckless-enough in speed to make the potential charge stick.

Lastly, let's consider that Jenner has allegedly been living with this 'secret' trans identity for years, as do select family members attest, and it's at least interesting to note that Jenner picked a time when LGBTQ issues of equality & tolerance have been among the forefront issues in social media, legislation, and national buzz, in the last few years, to begin this public transition and new identity as a trans woman. Speculation? Sure. But you decide.

We might all have differing opinions as to what makes an ADMIRABLE PERSON, but allies of the trans community, of the broader LGBTQ community and its allies, let's not make the mistake of fancying someone ADMIRABLE on the sheer basis that some aspect of their identity is inspirational, or perhaps even worthy of being labeled 'heroic,' for a community.

A hero may take many forms, but one of them is not always that of an admirable person.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

POLITICS: San Bernardino - Embrace the Second Amendment, America

America, regarding today's killing of 14 and wounding of 17 more at a holiday party for county health workers in San Bernardino, CA, where the details of the assailants, other than a single name, are not yet being released to the public, where it is currently "unclear" as to whether these were "terrorist" attacks, and where a BAND OF ARMED INDIVIDUALS who appear to have been PREPARED TO FACE LAW ENFORCEMENT & RETALIATORY FORCE once they began unloading their arsenal:

America, it's time to stop debating the intricacies of these shooting incidents. The number of fatalities due to mass shooting incidents here in America in 2015 supersedes the number of days we've had to date in the current calendar year 2015.

It's time to stop talking about whether it was terrorists, whether or not it was US citizens, and what constitutes "terrorism," either foreign or domestic. It's time to stop considering the ethnicity, the color and creed, of the shooters, and of the victims, too.

It's time to stop talking about whether we need more scrupulous gun control legislation and mandates. We don't even wholly enforce the ones we currently have in practice - so it's pointless to debate about whether or not we should stiffen gun control.

To the truly simple-minded: it's also pointless to continue to kick around the idea of banning guns... that's called the Second Amendment, and it protects us from that liberty being stripped.

It's time to stop waiting for the President of our great United States to declare specifics in an address to the public. As has been meticulously noted today by the press, the best you're going to get from him is "something must change." Yes, indeed, something... but folks, you're not going to hear specifics in a public address following an incident.

It's time for liberals to stop b*tching that the NRA is making a fortune from these mass shootings as second amendment proponents gear-up, and others give it consideration.

It's called the Second Amendment. It's called capitalism. It's called liberty.

It's also time for liberals and conservatives alike to stop debating whether or not the way to tackle this problem of mass shootings is to view it as more significantly a mental health problem or a gun control problem.

So how about an armed public. Damage and loss of life occurs because there is no possible way that authorities can respond to an active shooter before loss of life occurs, or be guaranteed to be in close proximity to where a potential shooting may erupt. Let's face it - a potential shooting is ANYWHERE. It's gotten dire. It's becoming illogical to presume that we can afford to risk our lives waiting for a sufficient response from the proper authorities (i.e. law enforcement) when these incidents unfold - significant loss of life is a given when we have to wait. Especially when it is a premeditated attack, as details of today's incident in San Bernardino seem to conclude, resulting in a heavily-armed band of gunmen producing a profound loss of life.

Are you REALLY willing to risk it, to say that you didn't put a couple bucks in the NRA's pocket? Folks, is the NRA really the enemy here?

Does it REALLY matter WHO is committing the mass murder when the bullets start flying? Do you fancy the notion of being waiting sheep in the name of public order?

Do you REALLY THINK that these gunmen prescribe to laws and public order, seeing as they're committing murder?

Do you think that the FOLKS IN THOSE ROOMS TODAY gave two cared at all whether the guns being aimed at them were legally-obtained through the appropriate channels by individuals with appropriate permits? Do you think they were contemplating the shooter's appearance, passing judgment on their ethnicity, wondering if they were God-fearing red-blooded Americans, or terrorists disguised as refugees, as bullets flew through the air and people around them fell wounded or dead?

No, folks... I'm willing to bet you that if they weren't utterly paralyzed with fear, they were wishing they had something with which to SHOOT BACK.

Let that sink in, folks.

Of all the political, judicial, legislative, social, and other hot-button issues on the table today, folks, it's time to remember that ALL LIFE IS PRECIOUS, and it's time to take measures toward our individual safety. Because it's all going to hell fast, America, and adding additional restrictions to gun ownership isn't taking guns out of the hands of criminals. But a choicefully-armed public might just prevent a tragedy such as this one.