Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The "Take A Sad Song And Make It Better" Challenge: Crime/Punishment and "What do we do now?"

Quick intro:

It's been a big Facebook morning:

Now, I invite you all to join in on a tremendously important topic:

Crime and punishment.

Let's figure all figure out some ideas to make our society better. Let's start with us and then move on to "The System". THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN! So let's figure out how to best keep people OUT OF THE SYSTEM.

I would particularly love to hear from my friends in the law enforcement and legal communities because of your unique vantage points.

This is my Facebook Post:

Here are several ideas to help fight crime (and general societal decay as well): Men be honorable (Women and others: act similarly as it applies to you.) Don't impregnate and move on! Marry THEN impregnate. THEN stay around and be a good parent forever. Not perfect but good. Teach values like hard work and respect for everyone. Everyone means everyone. Male, female, other. Black, white, other. Gay, straight, other. Atheist, agnostic, other. Muslim, Christian, other. Democrat, Republican, other. Respect does NOT have to mean agreement or endorsement nor could it possibly do so. Think of respect as a willingness to accept another's value and treat a person accordingly regardless of agreement with views, opinions, beliefs, lifestyle etc. Judge actions sympathetically but honestly. Be honest but again RESPECTFULLY... Be accountable. Hold yourself to a high standard NOT the lowest common denominator regardless of what anyone else does. Don't look down on others when they do not do so. Lead by example. Be forgiving, knowing that at times you will fail to live up to your own standard.

I know many of you do not consider the Bible as a credible source. But I hope we could all agree to these principles and the Bible is where I happened to glean them from.

I have things to learn from others:
Proverbs 27:17 NIV
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

I must consider my actions:
Luke 6:31 NIV
Do to others as you would have them do to you.

It's not all about me:
Philippians 2:3 NIV
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

I am not the authority on everything:
Proverbs 26:12 NIV
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

All that said, please forgive me when I fail to live up to this and PLEASE feel free to hold me accountable, respectfully.

The Muse...

(My response to a post I read)

I don't mean to be "harsh" but rape, arson and murder in the aftermath of a botched burglary? Some people need justice. Occasionally, justice happens. I really can't stand the "bad environment" defense. I've always thought it's such a slap in the face to everyone who grew up under horrible circumstances and didn't turn into a psychopath or sociopath. I am not entirely unsympathetic but could we please start celebrating the ones that rise above and DON'T become thugs. This IS the right call. Ok, I'm stopping now...
Thug Who Raped Iraq War Vet's Wife, Executed Them Both Learns His Brutal Fate
This is the right call.

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Julie Hinojosa, Joseph R Ellison, Steve Andrusko and 23 others like this.
  • Scott Oliver Here's the thing. Pure evil has no remorse, no guilt, no care. There is no justice good enough for someone like this. The damage is done and no justice will undo it. All I can say is....Jesus come quickly.
    5 hrs · Unlike · 2
  • Patrick Weill I agree Scott. But that's what hell is for. I believe in eternal life in both realms. Even if we were to slow torture a bad person for the rest of his or her life it would not be as bad as hell eternal.
    4 hrs · Unlike · 2
  • Aaron Gayden As important as the eternal question is there is still the question of what do we as a society do about it. There is no justice good enough but there is such a thing as not enough justice so to speak. Again I don't want to be harsh but these criminals ...See More

    DPIC | Death Penalty Information Center
    The U.S. military has its own laws and court system separate from those of the states and the federal...
    3 hrs · Like · 1 · Remove Preview
  • Scott Oliver As a side note and a left turn.....I'm now listening to Toto "Hydra" as a result of your last post.
    1 hr · Edited · Like
  • Janelle Caywood As a criminal defense attorney for 20 years I can tell you the criminal justice system is inherently biased against people of color. Yes, there are dangerous people that should be incarcerated. However, sentences and penalties are much more stiff for those who kill or hurt white people than those who harm black people. You should follow the Innocence Project's pages of FB and discover how many people are wrongly convicted and condemned to die, most of whom are poor black peopple. Those who are truly interested in how egregiously unfair the criminal justice system toward people of color, should listen to this talk about race in the criminal justice system by Bryan Stevenson, a Christian and the most Christlike person on the planet. He talks about how the issue is not whether these people deserve to die but whether we, as a society deserve to kill., Janelle

    We need to talk about an injustice
    In an engaging and personal talk -- with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks --...
    53 mins · Edited · Unlike · 1 · Remove Preview
  • Aaron Gayden Good word, Janelle! And as a person of color I have made it incumbent on myself to not put myself in that position. It should not be a black white issue (though I know that is impossible to get around.) Particularly, if you know you will pay a higher price for criminality you should may more of a point to not be a criminal. I truly believe a large part of the underlying problem is people trying to get away with murder literally and figuratively. Again, let's laud black people and anyone else who is underprivileged and decides to be a law abiding citizen. I by no means intend to discount your years of experience in the legal system. Criminal behavior should absolutely be punished equally. But I do want to address the underlying problem. The black community, in a broad sense, desperately needs to embrace and uphold better values. Embracing thug life, raising children especially boys with no fathers, not assuming responsibility for one's actions, blaming anyone else (even when there is truth to it) will not get the job done. Saying that being educated is "trying to be white" will not get the job done. I'm listening to the Ted talk as we speak. I knew gang bangers growing up. One of my best friends as a child was killed because he was involved in gangs. Because he didn't follow a better path, make better choices he is no longer here. I had a neighbor who was shot and killed in the street between our houses. Because he had gotten into a gang and then left. I had neighbors who were in and out of jail. Because of their behavior. The issue does not have simple answers. There is more to the fact that 1/3 of black men have been incarcerated than racism. Much of that is because they have embraced poor decisions, wrong, criminal decisions. I agree that we are more than just our wrong decisions and actions. I have lived what I will call often a lower middle class life on the edge. But at no point have I believed that crime was a lifestyle option (except behind the wheel, but that is on me). There are multiple problems. There are issues in the system and there are issues in the community. We must deal with both. But I fear that if we exonerate and excuse behavior that we know is criminal we are doing equal harm to the individual and to society itself. I agree with virtually all of this Ted Talk. But dignity without accountability is very shallow and in fact dangerous. Both justice and mercy are needed. These are extremely tough issues. I would love to hear ideas on how to address the issue of goodness or good behavior in addition to, not by any means, in lieu of ideas on how to fix the system. Just fixing the system is just as impersonal as just people in the system for the crimes.
    Just now · Like
    It will take us all to take this sad song and make it better so let's start!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Right this very minute...

For the record, I do know that Christmas is so not something you can buy in a store. But, I just happened to walk into a store and see all the Christmasy things and I got my first Christmas feeling. I know the fact the Christmas commercialism encroaches on many of you and annoys and even outright enrages many of you. I on the other hand play Christmas music year round. If I'm in a bad mood Christmas music will put me in a good mood. If I'm already in a good mood Christmas music makes it even better. I am a Christmas junkie so when the rest of the world starts to acknowledge Christmas it just makes my day... This has been a tough year so I'm not going to hesitate to start celebrating the fact that Christmas is in the air. (I am also very, very thankful so Thanksgiving is where up on my list too.) It's not about the presents or decorations or music or even family (though that's getting close). Christmas is NOT about the stuff but for me the seeing the "stuff" reminds me even more about the real stuff of Christmas. That we are desperately loved by the Creator of the universe. So much so that He began to give the ultimate gift on Christmas. I know December 25 is at very best arbitrary and at worst adopted from pagan celebrations but what better to warm hearts at the beginning of Winter? This morning something within me was saying I need a little Christmas right this very minute...and there it was :-)

Christmas in a Chestnut Shell
Luke 2:10-14 KJV

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. [...and women and children and plants and animals ]