Ending the Violence

June 16, 2016

Every time there’s a mass shooting, our government leaders renew the debate over gun control… ignoring the fact that in most cases, additional control of the legal sale of firearms would not have changed the outcome one iota.

The Sandy Hook killings were done using the weapons of a family member. The guns were purchased legally. The Orlando murders were committed by a person who should not have been allowed to buy guns, but was. The existing gun laws were not to blame – the FBI’s process was.

If the government can place a person on the “No Fly List” without due process, they should have been able to do the same when it came to buying guns. If nothing else, there should have been a ‘flag’ to let the FBI know the man had purchased weapons. Had a simple system like that been in place, they could have increased their surveillance and, hopefully, stopped him before he killed even one person.

The debate will go on while the more serious issues continue to be ignored.

Why is there a murder every two hours in the city of Chicago? Why do our government officials ignore that fact. Do those thousands of lives lost every year count less that the 49 killed in one night in Orlando? For that matter, was anyone else murdered in Orlando that night? Did that person’s life not mean anything because he or she died alone?

The way I see it, murder is the result of a number of factors. The simplest one is rage – in all too many cases, rage directed at a family member or a close friend.

Then we have the ‘gang’ related; in many cases caused by ‘turf wars’ in the dealing of illegal drugs. These are the cases where one, two, or three people are killed at a time.

My solution for the gang related mayhem is to legalize drugs. Let government sanctioned outlets sell them so that the purity of the product can be more closely controlled and the tax revenues can be used to treat the addicts. Taking the drug dealers off the streets and out of the prison system will save lots of money and lives.

As for family members killing each other, take away the guns and they’ll use knives or baseball bats. It has happened where a couple closing in on divorce settled the issue when one or the other was accidentally pushed off a cliff or assisted in drowning. In other words, rage is difficult to prevent, although if the rage is a result of mental illness, there is hope.

My first job after college was at a mental hospital for children. It was part of a network in Western Pennsylvania. Within a twenty-five mile radius, there were at least two asylums for adults to go along with the one I worked at. Many of our ‘inmates’ graduated to the adult facilities.

And then came along two factors that totally changed everything. One was President Reagan and his cut-backs. Federal funding for mental institutions dried up at the same time the A.C.L.U. convinced a judge that mentally incompetent people should not be held against their will. Brilliant! Very few crazy people readily admit they need help. One of the biggest problems with mentally ill patients is to have them continue to take the medication to control their behavior.

Thus, we have people who were once safely cared for in mental hospitals (and forget the Hollywood nonsense that says those hospitals were all horror stories) now walking the streets forgetting to take their medicine. Since our government sees no danger, they are permitted to buy fire arms and, when the voice in their heads tell them to go into a movie theater and shoot those enemies of Bat Man, we have another mass murder that could have been prevented. How many times did a psychiatrist think there might be such a possibility, but said nothing due to another Federal law called HIPAA.

So, there are my solutions to two of the root causes of murder; legalize drugs, and get mentally ill people the treatment and care they so desperately need.

And that brings us to the biggest problem we face today – terrorism. We have huge segments of the world population who hate us… thanks to the propaganda distributed by many of the people we (our government) consider to be our friends. These same people, in many cases, are the ones we give millions, if not billions of dollars in foreign aid every year.

We do everything we can in this country to encourage freedom of religion, but some religions use that freedom against us.

In fairness, Christian ministers encouraged people to join the crusades a thousand or so years ago. So, I can’t blame religious leaders in the Middle East for returning the favor (they carry grudges for thousands of years in that part of the world.) What gripes me is the leaders in churches in the U.S. encouraging young folks to either go to the Middle East to help the effort there, or simply buy guns and bomb making materials and do as much damage as possible here at home.

Sadly, there is no easy solution for this problem… any more than there was an easy solution for dealing with Hitler and the Nazis. The free world must come together to stop the terrorist groups. We need to be a part of that effort.

There is a very old adage that says “Those who ignore the past are destined to repeat it.” Our current leaders decided that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were over and our troops needed to be brought home. Those leaders ignored the fact that we still have troops in Germany and Japan. Lasting peace doesn’t happen overnight. It took decades for the peoples of Germany and Japan to realize we were there only to keep the peace – nothing more, nothing less. Any remnants of the groups that did not like losing World War II eventually were won over to the improvements brought about through peace.

We cannot force any nation to become a democratic republic such as ours, but we can help them peacefully establish governments that work for them.





My Failures to Comprehend

May 1, 2009

In a few months I will become a “no more questions about it” senior citizen. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. Every Medicare supplemental insurance company known to man has been sending me literature for the last three months. I’m told the flood of mail will continue for the foreseeable future… even after I’ve made my decisions.

I guess that’s one thing I fail to comprehend. How did they know? And why haven’t they been sending me birthday cards all along?

Another thing I fail to comprehend is people who insist we should not water-board enemy combatants or do anything else nasty in an effort to get them to divulge information that might save some American lives.

The people we’re talking about are the ones who wouldn’t hesitate to do far worse to us if they were given the chance. While I might hold someone’s head under water to make him tell me where my child is, a Muslim terrorist would think nothing of slicing off my child’s head – and force me to watch – to encourage me to tell him what he wants to know.

The leaders of the Muslim community fail to help mutual understanding when they are strangely silent in regards to beheadings and loudly boisterous about cartoon representations of their leaders. I can only surmise that they too live in fear of the terrorists.

I’ve come to believe that the terrorists are a sub-human species that has no regard for human life. They are serial killers who deal in large volumes.

Speaking of serial killers, two of them are in the news today. One is a seventy-two year old man named John Floyd Thomas Jr. who allegedly raped and murdered as many as thirty women around Los Angeles beginning in the 1950s. The murderer became known as the Westside Rapist. The police have connected Thomas to at least two murders based on DNA evidence.

The other serial killer – the infamous Zodiac Killer – made the news because a woman has come forward claiming that she could identify the killer. According to Deborah Perez, her father, Guy Ward Hendrickson, who died in 1983 was the Zodiac Killer.

If you’re like me, you might wonder why it took her twenty-six years to come forward with the news. She claims to have told the police in the past and they basically ignored her.

A spokesperson from the police department explained that Ms. Perez is not the first person to claim knowledge of the Zodiac Killer. He went on to say they take every such claim seriously, but without evidence, can do little. Ms. Perez’s spokesperson, a debarred lawyer, states that they have a pair of glasses taken from one of the victims, but they have not yet turned them over to the police for examination.

Serial killers have existed throughout history. There have been many. A few that come to mind are Jack the Ripper, the Grim Sleeper, the Boston Strangler, and Ted Bundy.

Add them to the likes of Idi Amin, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and the terrorists of all nationalities and religions, and you have a mind set that I can’t begin to comprehend. Why do they have so little regard for human life? How can they kill a totally innocent person for no good reason.

As much as I hate to admit it, I can comprehend the crime of passion. I have felt anger – never strong enough to try to murder my adversary – but strong enough to make me understand the power of anger. So when a man or woman kills his or her spouse for cheating, it is almost understandable.

But when a person kills a few neighbors, the spouse and children, and then commits suicide, I’m left wondering why? Why didn’t he or she just take his or her own life and let all the others alone?

The Zodiac Killer sent four encrypted notes to the newspapers and police. Only one of them has been decoded… maybe. Here is what the authorities think he had to say:

I like killing people because it is so much fun. It is more fun than killing wild game in the forest because man is the most dangerous animal of all. To kill something gives me the most thrilling experience. It is even better than getting your rocks off with a girl. The best part of it is that when I die I will be reborn in Paradise and the [people] I have killed will become my slaves. I will not give you my name because you will try to slow down or stop my collecting of slaves for my afterlife.

I’m reminded of the 911 terrorists who were led to believe they would be met by seventy virgins in Paradise.

In the case of terrorists, I think many have been brainwashed into believing such nonsense by leaders who don’t seem to be leading the group by example. Instead of strapping bombs to themselves, they send youngsters to their deaths while they hide in caves.

As for serial killers, their brains got warped somehow beyond my comprehension.

In that regard, I believe we can lump them all together as being insane. Which brings me to another thing I cannot comprehend.

The death penalty works as well as the War on Drugs, which is to say, “It doesn’t work at all!”

Someone who is sentenced to death in this country will spend anywhere from ten to twenty years in prison filing one appeal after another. The end result is the additional costs of millions of tax payer dollars to eventually put someone to death – which makes the government no better than the murderer.

What we need is a life sentence without parole and Joe Arpaio, the Sheriff from Arizona, should be the warden. Let these serial killers and other life-long criminals rot in a jail and suffer every day of their lives.

Would that constitute torture? Would it be worse than the pain they inflicted on their victims and the families of their victims? I would certainly hope so.

I hope I’m not failing to comprehend the meaning of my solution.