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.

Giddy it is!

January 19, 2009
Creativity - Pittsburgh Style

Creativity - Pittsburgh Style

Believe it or not, a friend sent me the above photo last Wednesday. I wasn’t as confident as the person who created that computer enhanced image. In fact, my confidence didn’t surface until Roethlisberger took a knee to end the game.

I vaguely remember the first time the Steelers earned a berth in the Super Bowl. I know I had to have been far more excited. I think it’s human nature to get really excited the first time we experience anything good. After that, it’s still enjoyable, just not quite the same.

The only thing that makes this year’s success more meaningful is the fact that all the football experts agreed at the beginning of the season that Pittsburgh had the toughest schedule in the league. When you look at the teams in the playoffs, there were only a few that Pittsburgh did not face during the regular season.

The Arizona Cardinals are one of those teams. However, during the next two weeks the sports channels will be filled with stories outlining the connections between the two teams.

I’ve been pulling for the Cardinals ever since they drafted Larry Fitzgerald out of the University of Pittsburgh. I’ve also wanted to see Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm do well.  Whisenhunt played his college ball at Georgia Tech and Grimm was another Pitt player.

While I have lots of reasons to want to see the Cardinals do well, they are out-weighed by my loyalty to the city of my birth… the City of Bridges… Old Smokey… Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

On February 1st, I’ll be pulling for Mike Tomlin, Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Willie Parker, Troy Polamalu, and the rest of the crew.

You can take the boy out of Western Pennsylvania, but you can’t take Western Pennsylvania out of the boy… even if he is a senior citizen.