Monday, February 25, 2008

February 25, 2008 Never, ever hit a woman or a child

Consider This for February 25, 2008—Never, ever hit a woman or a child

“Domestic violence is about control and power.”

Just ask yourself, “Who speaks for the abused and dead women and children? Who speaks for the victims of domestic violence once they are gone?”

A man who would hit a woman is not a man. The person who would do that is a coward. The person who would do that is a spineless being without any regard for himself or anyone else.

When I was a police officer the absolute worst thing I have ever seen is a child who had been beaten by her father until she died. One of the second worst crimes I have ever seen is a woman who died after being assaulted by an out of control man. There is no excuse for either.

In prison there is a pecking order for prisoners. The prisoner who is at the greatest risk of being killed by the other inmates is a child molester or abuser.

Number two on the list of most hated inmate is a rapist. A man who is unable to have a normal relationship with a woman. A man who believes that the only way he can have a relationship with a woman is by force.

The way the system deals with most of these cases is to put the child molesters and rapists in segregated confinement. They are put in areas away from the general population so they will be relatively safe. I say relatively safe because many end up being killed anyway. Most of the time the killer is already sentenced to life imprisonment so what do they have to lose?

My personal theory is that 98% of the people on this planet are normal. Two percent of the people are either sociopaths or psychopaths and have yet to figure out the difference between right and wrong.

This brings me back to my original point. A man who would ever hit a woman or hit a child does not know the difference between right and wrong.

It almost gets to the point where I don’t want to watch television news anymore. Almost every night in Colorado there is a report of a husband who has killed his wife or a child who has died at the hands of the “boyfriend” who was watching the child while mom was at work

People who write about codependency will tell you that the dead wife or the mother of the child believed that the man who committed the crime was the only man in her life who had ever loved her. She felt that the beatings that she or her child suffered was the price they paid to keep him happy and staying in the house. What a high price to pay.

In my experience it was always so very difficult to convince the woman in that situation to ever leave the man or for that matter to even file charges against him. There was a terrible fear of the potential to lose that relationship that the woman was willing to do just about anything to keep him.

I do think that there is something that we can all do about this problem. We all need to commit to call the police or sheriff if we have any indication that there is any spousal abuse or child abuse going on in a home. If we see a child or a woman with an injury that might have been a result of a man hitting them then report it to the authorities. If there is a logical reason for the injury then the authorities can sort that out. You will have done your duty.

If you saw your neighbor breaking out the headlights of a car in the parking lot you would call the police. If you see your neighbor punching out his wife then you should call the police. The next time the victim might be you or your child.

Just remember that the person committing the crime is a coward and a spineless creature that probably does not deserve to be out here with the rest of civilized society. It is about control and power and some men are willing to kill to get it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

February 18, 2008 From Whence You Came

Consider this for February 18, 2007—From Whence You Came

You can never go home again is a saying that I think about a lot.

It is the title of a book by Thomas Wolfe.

One reviewer in, an on-line book review, wrote about Wolfe’s book. “George Webber has written a successful novel about his family and hometown. When he returns to that town, he is shaken by the force of outrage and hatred that greets him. Family and life-long friends feel naked and exposed by what they have seen in his books, and their fury drives him from his home.
Outcast, George Webber begins a search for his own identity. It takes him to New York and a hectic social whirl; to Paris with an uninhibited group of ex-patriots; to Berlin, lying cold and sinister under Hitler's shadow. The journey comes full circle when Webber returns to America and rediscovers it with love, sorrow, and hope.”

I grew up in a very small town in Northwestern Iowa in the 1940s and 50s. I moved to San Antonio, Texas when I was 18 and went on to live in Wichita Falls, Texas, New York City, Macon, Georgia, Alconbury, England, Toul-Rosiers, France, Frankfurt, Germany, Ramstein, Germany and back to New York City. In Colorado I have lived in
Denver, Golden, Conifer, and then to Summit County.

I moved to Colorado 38 years ago so I guess this is home. I moved to Summit County 34 years ago so I guess that solidifies it. I have lived in Summit County longer than I have lived anywhere else.

In the past three years I have also lived in Mexico for two months and Guatemala for parts of three months. I could call either place my home as well.

I know the people in both countries. I have a working knowledge of their language. I understand their educational systems having studied in both countries. I call many of the people in each country friends.

If home is where the heart is then there is some of my heart in Mexico and Central America.

One of my jobs as an Intelligence Specialist in the Air Force was to show films
to the staff officers about political issues and the direction the Pentagon felt that our “enemy” was headed in a quest for world domination. One common theme of those political films was that all of the people in the Eastern Block countries were very poor, hungry and uneducated and were laying awake at night in their beds wishing they could live in the United States.

In the years since then I have been able to become friends with many people from countries in the former Soviet Union. To a person they all say that they never wanted to live in the United States. They loved their homeland and wanted to live there the rest of their lives. They did know that things could have been improved but the improvement needed to occur at home and not be part of moving halfway around the world to a so called “better life.”

That is the same response I got from talking to my friends in Mexico and Guatemala. None of them wanted to move to the United States. All of them wanted to make a decent income and have a good job much the same as the typical American. But they never spent any time harboring a desire to move to the United States to live.

Several months ago I wrote a column about all of the Canadians who are in the United States taking jobs away from our fellow Americans. Of course I was kidding but the principle is the same.

We all want to make enough money to take care of our family. Sometimes people have to go to a different country to achieve that goal. The same way I had to leave Iowa and go somewhere else to make enough money to take care of my family. I even went to several foreign countries to achieve that goal.

This is home to people who were born here and to people who have come here to earn a living to support their families regardless of where they may live. It is truly a human rights issue and not the political issue it has become.

Monday, February 11, 2008

February 11, 2008 Somehow we have lost democracy

Consider This for February 11, 2008---Somehow we have lost democracy

While many of you slept last Tuesday night America continued to lose its democracy. Thousands of voters in Summit County were not able to vote. Hundreds of thousands of voters in Colorado were not able to vote, while millions of Americans all over this nation were not allowed to vote.

In Summit County there are 3974 registered Republicans, 3683 registered Democrats and 5976 registered Unaffiliated. Of course the Unaffiliated could not vote at the caucus last Tuesday. They were disenfranchised by the two parties in control. The largest group of registered voters in Summit County was not allowed to vote.

The breakdown of the numbers by percentage is: 43% of all registered voters are unaffiliated, 29% of all registered voters are Republican and last but not least, 27 % of all registered voters are Democrat. Nearly half of all registered voters could not participate in the caucuses.

Now before you start to yell too loudly I do understand the purpose of the caucus is to determine delegates to the national party conventions. I also understand that everyone had the same opportunity to declare a party affiliation prior to December 5, 2007 and participate in the caucus.

All I am saying is that we should have an open primary instead of a closed caucus. People should be allowed to come to the polls on primary day and declare a party the same way they can in August during the “real” primary.

A couple of years ago in Colorado there were 1,066,956 registered Republicans, 896,861 registered Democrats and 999,552 registered Unaffiliated. They too were disenfranchised by the two parties in control. The second largest group of voters could not vote in the caucuses.

We all remember Ross Perot of the Progressive Party, Ralph Nader of the Green Party and others who have made a futile attempt to run for president. My good friends in both parties would say that these third party candidates are just spoilers and just take votes away from legitimate candidates. Bull Hockey.

And while I have your attention there is the matter of the real Colorado Primary in August. That is run the way it should be and the same as I have suggested for the presidential primary. But why is it in August? Why is it so far after the County Assemblies and the State Convention? It is almost like it is an afterthought.

Yes, if there are local contested races for county offices then the August primary is where they would be decided. Some state offices would also be decided if the candidates did not get a high enough number of votes at the state convention. August primaries do work at times albeit late.

There are large states with primaries and small states with primaries. It would be just like a regular election. I am still concerned about the City that can’t shoot straight, Denver. They still can’t get an election right after a couple of terrible tries. I can still picture the Denver Police SWAT team counting ballots at the last election. I can still hear the Denver Election Commission Chairman telling the media that it will never happen again just as they said a few months earlier when the last election went bad too.

The solution is quite simple. We do away with the caucus system and replace it with a true primary like other forward thinking progressive states do. We have ballots and polling places. We allow unaffiliated voters to walk into a polling place and declare a party the day of the primary. If they want to change back to unaffiliated the next day then that is their right. Parties should love this because it might result in more people staying registered with a party and they might become valuable advocates and workers for their issues.

I am speaking largely to the 43 % of the Summit County active voters who were not allowed to participate in the caucus. Are you happy knowing that Summit County supported Romney and Obama? Would you have voted for either of them? How about the fact that Summit County supported Mitt Romney, a Republican candidate who quit a little over a day after the caucus.

We are trying to run 21st Century elections with a 19th Century mentality.

Monday, February 4, 2008

February 4, 2005 Snow Through the Eyes of a Child

Consider this for February 4, 2008---Snow Through the Eyes of a Child

At a very young age I was fascinated with snow. I remember waiting in anticipation when snow was forecast. Part of it might have been the potential of having school cancelled but part of it was the beautiful mystery of falling snow.

I lived in Europe and New York City for much of the time between 1960 and 1970. I remember being told then that snow was a godsend as it covered up all of the dirt and trash on the streets. It was as if someone had decided to whitewash everything for a few hours or a couple of days.

They say that the reason we believe the snow was a lot deeper when we were children is because we were shorter. The snow was not any deeper then. We were all vertically challenged as children. Diminutive. Short. As in midgets or in rug rats.

This winter I am beginning to change my mind about the amount of snow I experienced in my youth growing up in Iowa. I have about six feet of snow on the level in my yard near Breckenridge right now and it keeps getting deeper.

I remember walking on the snow to the top of the hen house at the farm in Iowa to a height of about twenty feet. The snow had drifted up against the building and provided a snow bridge to the top.

Even when there was a late corn harvest we could still walk the fields to pick up ears of corn without worrying about the snow that had already fallen. It just never landed in the open areas. It screamed across the plains until it hit a building and then rested there until March.

I remember seeing comic ski posters for “Ski Iowa” with a farmer in bib overalls standing on the roof of his machine shed trying to ski off the snow bank on the side. I am sure they did not have to haul any snow in for the photo.

I was about ten when I got my first paper route. I seem to remember having about forty customers who lived all over my home town. Most of the time it was not a problem to deliver the papers after school. Of course that was when it did not snow.

I remember leaving school one day to go get my papers and there was a light dusting of snow. By the time I finished there was about two feet on the ground and I could no longer ride my bike. I still remember that night pushing my bike with my heavy paper bag through deep snow to make my deliveries. I finally made it home and my mother put me in the tub to warm me up. That was about 55 years ago so you can see that it made a lasting impression.

I think that one thing that made the snow in Iowa deeper was the wind. I remember driving from home in Rockwell City to Fort Dodge on bare, dry pavement for many miles. Then, all of a sudden, a huge monolith of snow about twenty or thirty feet high would appear on the horizon totally blocking the road. A huge snowdrift caused by snow blowing from the fallow winter fields over the highway building higher and higher as the day went on.

The solution to this dilemma was always easy. You just went back to the last highway crossing at the section line and drove on the gravel road to the other side of the drift.

The Iowa Highway Department even tried to figure out where the drifts would occur and would install snow fence. It always seemed be put in the wrong place. Or maybe they placed it in the right place for last year’s snow but the wrong place this year. Something about timing.

They say that everything is relative. Short children are overwhelmed by small amounts of snow. If I am being overwhelmed am I getting shorter? I hope not.