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Domestic violence appears to have lost media popularity over the past few years. Today, the rank and file of media outlets, when they’re searching for sensationalism have enough of it with school violence, drug deals gone bad and two or three people get ‘taken out.’ Beyond that, quite frankly, people don’t want to hear about domestic violence. This puzzles me, not because I came from a domestic violence household; not because I was ever in any kind of an abusive relationship, and not because any of my children are in domestic violence situations. No, domestic violence is a subject in which I’ve had an interest for well over 20 years. I’ve researched the topic to the point of crying over its horrors. I’ve written cases on the subject going back to the early to mid-nineties. It is a subject that makes my stomach turn, and it’s just about time we began to address it with the same effort that we are addressing other forms of violence in our country.

What, exactly, qualifies as domestic violence?  Family or domestic violence is any act or threat of an act of physical aggression that causes physical harm or any statement or action that reasonably could be perceived as demonstrating intent to cause physical or serious emotional harm. In truth, how common is it? Every 9 seconds in the United States a person is assaulted or beaten. Take a minute and think about that. Since few people wear wristwatches anymore, find a clock with a second hand and time that out over the course of a single minute…that’s right, somewhere in the United States, a person – we can no longer say “a woman” although they are the majority of the victims – is beaten a minimum of six times…different people; different cities or towns; different states…but it’s in our civilized nation that we call America. Here’s another fact for you: “Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime, and most often, the abuser is a member of her own family. Remember, in some societies, women are still considered chattel.

Statistics are wonderful and I can throw them at you until the cows come home. However, it’s not until you actually see or are a part of a domestic violence situation that you will begin to understand just how appallingly horrible this problem is. For example, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Every day in the United States, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. If you don’t believe that sounds like many, do the math and see what a year looks like. Nearly one in five teenage girls, my oldest daughter included, has been in a relationship where there was a threat or actual violence. Before I could act, our son resolved the problem, thank you very much!

For years I watched as a husband drove his wife to work. On more than one occasion, I reported to human resources the bruises that I saw on this woman’s face and arms. The husband was a hulk of a man and, quite frankly, was a scary guy. To the best of my knowledge, human resources did little. When I retired, the woman was still working at the school and still being driven to work. That was one episode. Today, more and more employers are joining an organization known as Employers Against Domestic Violence. HR officers are being educated to look for problems and address them in the best way possible. Obviously, there are still problems out there, but steps are being taken.

If you know of someone in a domestic violence situation, please don’t be accusatory and tell them to ‘get out.’ You may be completely ignorant of what is going on in the household. The best way to help is to let them know that you’re there if they want to talk. Many women feel helpless, trapped in an untenable situation. They are not. There are organizations galore, which can help stop the abuse and start a victim on a new road, one that does not include abuse. It should be noted that the average victim attempts to leave eight times before she is successful. One warning: restraining orders don’t stop guns or knives in the hands of a violent abuser.

While I could go on ad nauseum about this topic, let me give you a case to ponder…yep, just like the bullying piece. I hope it makes you think.

THE CASE

Introduction

Some of the characters in this case study are fictitious. The problem of domestic violence is not, unfortunately, fiction in any sense. As most readers of this case are aware, domestic violence is, perhaps, the number one problem facing law enforcement in the majority of cities and towns in the United States today. What makes it so insidious is the number of facets to it in addition to the enforcement side. This case has been prepared for those who have seen the problem of domestic violence, either as victims, law enforcement officials, social workers, or anyone else, and who have been as saddened, revolted, and disgusted by what he or she has seen as the author was in doing research for the case. The solution to domestic violence will tax the creative minds of many, but without solutions, this war will only escalate.

The First Time

“It must have been something that I did,” Paula thought. “David loves me, I know that. He always says so. Maybe it was the beer and something I said.”

Rita Ribeiro was barely in high school then. She didn’t know either of them. She didn’t even know she was going to become a cop.

The Next Time

Fast-forward fifteen years to nine days before Christmas. The phone rings in the police department’s Domestic Violence Unit. Now police Sergeant Rita Ribeiro, in charge of the domestic violence unit, answers and the speaker phone instantly fills the room with the shouts, sobs, swears, and threats of a man demanding the police keep their noses out of his domestic affairs.

“I’m not a bum! I’m not a bum,” the man shouts, nearly sobbing with rage and indignation. “I don’t beat her. I only hit her three times. It’s not like I put black and blues on her every day like those other crazies.”

Sgt. Ribeiro switches off the speakerphone and continues the call without broadcasting the man’s vitriolic ravings. But even half the conversation is enough to illustrate the chaotic dynamics of an abusive relationship — a bizarre tangle of emotions that often causes the abuser and his victim to team up against the authorities.

Dave is 32; his wife is 30. They have been together 13 years, married for four. This is the fifth time police have been called in to referee.

What follows is Sgt. Ribeiro’s end of the call — each new paragraph indicating when she pauses to listen to either the abuser or his wife on the other end of the line.

“No Dave, this is not happening because of O.J. Simpson,” says Sgt. Ribeiro.

There is a long pause while Dave (not his real name) yells. His voice is loud enough to be heard through the receiver, but his words are not discernible.

“Yes, it IS a big deal, Dave,” says Sgt. Ribeiro, interrupting his diatribe.

“Did you break down the door to the apartment last night?” she asks.

Dave has apparently handed the phone to his wife, who is now trying to convince Sgt. Ribeiro that the incident was nothing.

“So then why did you call 911?”

“Nobody dials 911 accidentally.”

“You say you only dialed 911 to threaten him, but that’s not what we use 911 for here.”

“Yes, I understand that, but after he kicked the door in, you told your son to go into the bedroom and call 911.”

Sgt. Ribeiro then reads from the police report on last night’s incident as she listens.

“Didn’t he say to you last night that if he goes to jail for this, you are going to be a fucking dead bitch?”

Sgt. Ribeiro listens to her response.

“I realize it was just an argument,” she says. “But the police have been to your house four times in the last three months.”

“What’s that? He says he’s only violated the restraining order three times?”

“Okay, you say you were off the wall yourself — that he’s not a bad person. But you told your son to call 911. We’re very worried about you and your son.”

A pause. Dave gets back on the phone. Sgt. Ribeiro lifts the receiver away from her ear and says he’s crying and yelling hysterically.

“Dave, are you going to listen to me?”

“Will you listen?”

“Will you listen?”

“Dave, listen to me.”

“I see — the cops are the problem.”

Dave apparently hands the phone back to his wife and she is telling Sgt. Ribeiro she intends to drop the restraining order.

“You have a 14-year-old boy at home in a very violent situation.”

“Yes, it IS violent. You have people kicking down doors and threatening to murder you. That’s a violent situation.”

Dave is back on the phone again.

“Maybe you didn’t hit her this time Dave, but abuse is not just black and blue eyes. You’re abusing me the way you’re talking to me right now. If you say to her: ‘You’re going to be dead if I go to jail,’ that is an arrestable offense.”

Sgt. Ribeiro uses another telephone line to send a patrol car over to the apartment.

Dave’s wife is back on the phone, but Dave continues to shout in the background.

“And how long have you been going to marriage counseling?” Sgt. Ribeiro asks the wife.

“You haven’t been yet, but you’re going to start Tuesday.”

“I understand you want to try to work it out, but in the meantime, you have a 14-year-old boy in the house who’s listening to all this.”

“He IS involved,” she says. “You had your son call 911.”

“You can’t convince me that your son sleeps through your fights after what I’ve heard today,” says Sgt. Ribeiro. “I can hear Dave yelling at you in the background right now.

“No, we are not going to drop the charges. We’re going to protect you and protect your son.”

A pause.

“You say he’s not verbally abusive? I could hear him in the background just now. You don’t consider that a violent temper?”

The patrol car has arrived at the woman’s apartment but Dave has already left. Rather than try to find him, the police issue a summons for him to appear in court for violating his restraining order.

In the meantime, Sgt. Ribeiro continues to talk to the woman. She tries to impress upon her the importance of using the legal system to force her husband into batterers’ treatment.

“You have to protect yourself — if not for yourself, then for your son,” says Sgt. Ribeiro. “If you have problems again and you don’t call 911, you’re failing to protect your son.”

Sgt. Ribeiro hangs up the phone, frustrated and emotionally spent. Getting men like Dave into batterers’ treatment is essential she says, not just to prevent abuse to his wife, but also to prevent these couples from producing another generation of batterers.

“If we don’t stop this now, we’re going to see junior in here in five years doing the same thing,” said Sgt. Ribeiro.1

The Last Time

Outside of Dave and Paula’s apartment, the red and blues are flashing. In the back of one of the cars sits a sullen 15-year old, his hands cuffed behind his back. Inside, a hysterical Paula tries to explain to Sgt. Ribeiro what happened.

“He was…he was…in…his…room, doin’ homework,” she sobs. David comes to the door and just kicks it in. He was drunk, like usual. He was loud, and he started beatin’ on me. Danny must of heard it and he…he….he just snapped. He came outta his room with that bat and just started swingin’. He got him in the head with the first swing and it sounded like a melon got dropped. David went down and…” she kept sobbing, trying to catch her breath, “and the he pushed me outta the way. That’s when I called 911. Danny just lost it.  He just kept saying, ‘No more, you mother, no more.’ Oh, poor David, my poor David.”

“Poor David” was, in fact, the late poor David. Like so many young boys who witness abuse over a period of time, Danny finally took his rage out on his mother’s abuser, and, like so many, he too, was unable or unwilling to stop until the abuser was dead. He, too, has become another statistic of domestic violence. According to one study in Oregon, 63 percent of males between the ages of 11 and 20, incarcerated for murder, were convicted of killing their mother’s abuser.

The Future

Ask any cop. This case is not unusual. The outcome is, but not the case. A man who beats up a woman will do it again. And again.  Women in abusive relationships believe that their abuser loves them, and perhaps at the basest level, they are correct; this does not prevent women from dying daily at the hands of those who “love” them…to death.

What Are The Issues

  • Who might all of the victims be in a domestic violence situation?
  • If what is being done is a crime and not a ‘domestic dispute,’ why aren’t more abusers in jail or serving longer sentences?
  • How must the laws change to reduce this problem?
  • How must the courts change to reduce this problem?
  • How can the media apply its might to helping reduce domestic violence?
  • What can and should employers do to help reduce domestic violence?
  • What role can and should schools play in helping children in a domestic violence situation?
  • What penalties, other than jail time, might help to reduce the threat of domestic violence?
  • It has been said that victims will sometimes torment the abuser into a situation or falsely accuse him merely for the enjoyment of seeing him arrested. How can that be reduced?
  • Write a comprehensive “zero tolerance” plan for handling domestic violence crimes in your community.

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“I would like nothing better than to see you die …..”

“However, this is the time to begin the healing process. To show mercy to someone who refused to show mercy.”

Dennis Shepard spoke those words in a Wyoming courtroom several years ago. He spoke them to one of the killers of his 21-year old son; a killer who, joined by his fellow bully, had beaten and tortured Matthew Shepard, tied him to a fence and left him to die, naked, in the freezing cold.

What kinds of people do this? How deep is their hatred of someone with an alternative lifestyle that they believe killing them…and not just killing, but torturing them to death…is the only answer? Is it possible that they believe they are doing something good to prevent the rest of the world from being exposed to those who don’t think as they do? Can they consider themselves ‘good guy’ vigilantes? I rather doubt it. My personal belief is that they are cowards. They are afraid of anything that is new; that is the opposite of what they were taught at home. That’s right, taught at home. Hatred is taught; it is learned behavior. They certainly don’t teach it at school. “Queers must be killed” is not part of the first grade writing curriculum, nor is it found in Dick and Jane. Therefore, where else do we learn?

The concept of aggressive and bullying behavior begins in the first two years of a child’s life. It seems awfully young, doesn’t it? However, it’s true; if there is an environment that fosters violence, the child absorbs it. The next three or four years are spent refining it, so that by the time, the child is off to school, it is acceptable to take what you want and to kick the crap out of those who don’t wish to give up what you want. Bullies don’t have to be big; they just have to want what another child has and be willing to take it. Once they learn they can do such a thing, they will do it until they are stopped.

While we normally think of “the school bully,” there is some evidence to show that those who were either bullied or were bullies in their youth are more likely to be involved in domestic violence situations when they reach adulthood. One research report concludes that, without intervention, bullies identified by age eight are six times more likely to be convicted of a crime by the age of 24 and five times more likely than non-bullies to end up with serious criminal records by the age of 30.

If you are as concerned as I have been about the problem of bullying in this country, continue on; if not, stop reading and go back to what you were doing.

When I was giving bullying workshops, I used to break the audience into teams and give them a case study on which to work…here’s yours:

The following case contains language that might not be considered appropriate for all readers. The author makes no apology for this, and in an attempt to make this case as realistic as possible, the language will remain. Bullying is a worldwide problem. It has been defined as “repeated systematic attacks perpetrated by groups or individuals.” Anyone who has ever been the victim might not be so charitable with his or her definition.

Nathan Barnes was nothing special; just a good-looking 14-year old boy of somewhat above average intelligence. His home life was great, with a loving mother and dad…almost too loving, Nathan might have told you. He never, ever wanted them to know anything negative, and he’d go to great lengths to ensure that they weren’t aware of his little “secret.” He liked riding his bike to school everyday, feeling the wind on his face and seeing the beauty all around him. He enjoyed science and math; was fairly good in English and the social sciences, but absolutely couldn’t stand physical education. Nathan wasn’t strong physically, had little interest in organized athletics or games in which physical domination was the key to success. He felt that his mind was his weapon. Unfortunately, at 14, others didn’t quite see it that way. You see, Nathan Barnes was the victim of bullies.

It had always been easy for bigger kids, tougher kids, kids looking to “make a name,” to do it by abusing Nathan Barnes. Pushing him around, taunting him with names, playing practical jokes on him, and even taking his personal possessions became sport for the bullies. Nathan wouldn’t tell. Nathan was “chicken.” Nathan was a wimp, a nerd, a whatever-the-popular-derogatory-term-du-jour happened to be for that school year. Nathan was terrified. Although he liked them, Nathan had trouble in his relationship with the opposite sex. Girls found that going out with “the Barnes kid” was an invitation to be the center of controversy at some Mall encounter when the bullies might find them together. Nathan either wouldn’t or couldn’t defend himself so how could a girl expect him to defend her? As a consequence, several of the girls his age also took up the taunting.

Near the end of his 13th year, Nathan happened on what he hoped was a cure; he developed stomachaches. They kept him home from school on days that he had physical education or, when that began to become obvious, he developed them shortly before gym and would go to see the school nurse, Miss Caruso, asking to be excused. She was pretty good about it, too, usually, not always but usually, buying his psychosomatic illness.

This time, it hadn’t worked. Miss Caruso wasn’t buying. “Nathan, this is the fifth time this month you’ve been in here. You say that your parents want you to go to the doctor,” she added, “but you haven’t. I ask you to bring a note from your parents, telling me what’s going on, and you don’t. I’m sorry, Nathan, you will go to gym today.”

And he had gone. He’d gone and gotten tortured, first by Coach Ryan, not only the head football coach, but the physical education instructor as well. “Don’t know what we’re gonna do with you, Barnes,” he’d said. “Even my 10-year old daughter can climb ropes better ‘n you.” Ryan’s pet, football captain, Billy Johnson, had picked right up on it. “Yeah, c’mon wimp; up the ropes; what a freakin’ girl you are…c’mon needledick.” The humiliation was bad enough, but after gym, when Johnson was telling others who hadn’t been there…well, that was that. Mary Arnold and the other cheerleaders had been merciless in their harassment. It hurt; it really hurt. He’d show them. He’d show them all. They’d be sorry.

They found Nathan two days later…in the old cabin in the woods…about two miles from the school. His book bag was on the three-legged table in the corner. The chair he had stood on was kicked off to one side. He’d left his bike in the corner, near the hot water heater. Although his hands were untied, it appeared that he made no attempt to free himself when the rope tightened. Nathan Barnes was 14 years old. Nathan Barnes had been driven to kill himself by bullies.

The Parents

Nick and Katherine Barnes couldn’t say why Nathan had killed himself. They thought they knew their son. They knew him to be a “great kid,” with a happy home life. “His room was always picked up. I never had to say a word about it to him,” Katherine told the doctor. “He was just a joy to be around.” Katherine went on to add that Nathan had been a good student…but that she had noticed lately that he didn’t seem to have much interest in school. “He seemed to be getting a lot of stomach aches that would keep him home from school,” she said, “but I thought maybe he was just eating…oh, I don’t know what I thought.”

With Nick, it was pretty much the same. “Oh, sure, there were times when I had to tell him that the lawn was getting kinda long, but you know, the kid would jump right on it.” He was great that way.” School? Yeah, yeah, I guess he liked school. I mean, he wasn’t into sports the way I was – you know, three years all-state cornerback – but hey, we all do our own thing.”

The Classmates

 At school, Nathan’s “friends” told an entirely different story. “What a fuckin’ wimp,” Billy Johnson, the football co-captain said. “The kid was always wimpin’ outta gym ‘n stuff. If it was somethin’ physical, Barnes didn’t want it. We took to calling him ‘needledick’ because he’d never go in the shower. Some of the guys liked, you know, liked to shove him around a bit. We thought he could take it, ya know?”

Mary Arnold’s story was not much different. “He really didn’t know how to behave around girls, like, ya know,” she said. “I mean, he couldn’t really make a conversation…and, well, he just wasn’t with it, ya know.” Other classmates disagreed. Paula Anderson said, “I liked Nathan. He was kinda quiet, but he was really nice, considerate. We went to The Mall together a few times and just hung out. We weren’t goin’ together, ya know, but I kinda liked him. This really sucks.”

“Nathan wasn’t a wimp,” Tommy Baron told us. “Anyone who said that doesn’t – I mean, didn’t – know Nathan. I’ll bet it was one of the jocks told you that. They think they’re such studs. They tried that shit with me til I got one of ‘em alone. They never did anything to me again. Nathan wouldn’t be like that, though. Nathan didn’t want to hurt anybody; he just wanted to be left alone or be your friend. They couldn’t understand that.”

Nathan Barnes, “boy wimp,” wasn’t “with it,” “really nice,” “just wanted to be left alone.”  The tormenting of his classmates, perhaps not measuring up to his father, and too intimidated or terrified to ever mention his concerns to anyone…Nathan Barnes took what he considered the path of least resistance. He ended his life.

The Faculty

“Nathan was a good kid, intelligent, hard working,” Louise Gagnon, his science teacher said, echoing the statements of most members of the faculty. “Oh sure, he was a bit less outgoing than some of his classmates, but I thought that a lot of that had to do with his maturity level. We see a lot of that in kids. Then, when they turn 15 or 16, they’re completely different.”

School nurse, Nancy Caruso, told a different story: “Nathan was coming in a lot lately, asking to be dismissed from any physical education activities. He always presented with symptoms that were pretty vague and yet, not the type of thing you wanted to ignore. I asked if he had spoken to his doctor and he said he was going to get around to it.” Becoming somewhat more emotional, Caruso went on. “Dammit, I should have seen this. I should have dug deeper.”

The Follow-Up

Although he appears, in this brief synopsis, to be capable of talking about his son’s death openly and candidly, it should be noted that two years later, Nathan’s father selected the same method of suicide, leaving a note in which he blamed himself for the death of his son.

The Assignment

You are a concerned community leader. You might be a member of the school committee, a police executive, or even a parent with a little clout. You wish to make certain that bullying in your community is eradicated.  You can’t do it alone. This is a team effort. Assume that you have sought and received a one-year grant of $15,000 to examine the problem in your community and to develop a plan to combat it. Here are some questions you are being asked to answer in detail.

 

  • At the very onset of this case, you were given one definition of bullying. How might you modify that definition?

 

  • List the physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral signs you might notice related to a bullying victim? To a bully?

 

  • Develop a budget for the allocation of the one-year grant of $15,000. Once that grant is spent, what are your alternatives for future funding?

 

  • Questions concerning the team:
  1. Who belongs on your team?
  2. Why have you selected these team members?
  3. Identify the skills required of your team.
  4. How will the team be drawn together?
  5. How often will the team meet?
  6. How will team members communicate with one another regarding issues that affect the entire team?
  7. Will you serve as team leader or will you appoint another party? On what factors do you base your decision?

 

  • Justify the composition of your team by the skills required to create a workable      anti-bullying plan.

 

  • What are the elements contained in your anti-bullying plan?

 

  • Present an outline of the overall anti-bullying plan that your team will be implementing.

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Call me stupid…thanks for that…but Jodi Arias shot her boyfriend in the face; she stabbed him 27 times; she slit his throat…and we have to have a lengthy trial? Then, a jury cannot decide whether she lives or dies?  Excuse me, but that really seems like a no brainer to me. She didn’t just take the life of this man; she took it with extreme prejudice. About the only thing she didn’t do was shove a stick of dynamite where the sun don’t shine and light it off. Please don’t use the excuse that he was an abuser. He tried to get rid of her so many times, it was like trying to shake a bug off fly paper; it just couldn’t be done. The facts were the facts; she committed a heinous crime.

Now we come to George Zimmerman and once more, we have to endure a long trial, costing taxpayers who knows how much money and for what. Mr. Zimmerman was advised not to get out of his car. He got out. He shot the Martin kid to death; end of story. He didn’t stay in his car after being advised to do so and he killed someone. Perhaps I’m reducing things to their simplest terms, but maybe it’s about time we began doing just that. Sorry, George, you’re gone for 20. Next time, do as you’re told; don’t get out of the car. If you wish me to further complicate things, why the hell were you carrying a gun in the first place; you’re not a police officer. Neighborhood “watch” means just that. You see something suspicious; you call the guys who carry guns and badges. And then the jury turns around and finds this cop-wannabe innocent; you have to be kidding!

Then we come to the case of James Whitey Bulger, former head of the Winter Hill gang. If this isn’t a waste of taxpayer dollars, I cannot begin to imagine what the hell is. The man runs away and hides because he gets a tip the Feds are closing in. Okay, I can understand that…I know what kind of a person I am and I’d like to spend a few more years outside of the bars rather than behind them; it just makes sense. Then, after 18 years, Whitey gets bagged, arrested, hooked, nailed, whatever. He’s now 83 years old and they bring him back for trial. Why? Does anyone in his or her right mind believe this man is going to be acquitted? There’s only one question to ask Whitey Bulger; “Do you want the needle now or would you like to spend the rest of your days behind bars in Plymouth, Concord, Walpole, or wherever, telling war stories to the young kids. We can rest assured you won’t be telling them to walk the straight and narrow. Hell, you never knew what was straight and narrow in the first place. How your brother Billy broke the mold is beyond me.

Lastly, we have the case of the Boston Strangler. This is a case I remember well. One of the murders was committed not far from Northeastern University in Boston where I was working at the time. The City was in major panic mode. This killer was like a ghost. In addition, there was no question that it was one man doing the deed. I learned of his trademark through a friend on the Boston PD, and I’ve vowed never to tell it; suffice it to say, he did something to prove he was the one. So Desalvo is caught, not for the murders, but for a series of rapes he committed, and he is sent to jail. Before his death, Desalvo confessed that he is the Boston Strangler. Now, over half a century later, police – who have followed Desalvo’s nephew to get a DNA sample – are going to exhume the killer’s body to see if his DNA matches that found on his last victim. I can understand the victim’s family wanting to know; I really can, but the match they got from the nephew’s DNA makes it a 99.9 percent chance that Desalvo was the killer. Why waste the time and dollars for one-tenth of one percent.

It seems to me that we spend a great deal of money in this country on things that are unnecessary. We bitch that the courts are backed up and yet when a crime is sensational and the perpetrator undeniably guilty, we spend months on a trial. Yes, everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, but when the question of guilt or innocence is so damned obvious, let’s cut to the chase. When my brother killed a man, his trial lasted about a week. Ah, but there was no star quality to that killing. It wasn’t sensational; it wasn’t racially motivated; it was just a case of road rage that went too far. Hell, there’s no glamour in that. Put him away for life and let him die in prison…which he did.

Our priorities are screwed up beyond belief. Twenty states now have abortion laws that are in direct conflict with Roe v. Wade. What’s going to happen? Millions of dollars will be spent by pro-choice groups attempting to overturn those laws and eventually it will wind up as a class action suit before the US Supreme Court. Just think where else those millions could be spent. However, governors such as Rick Perry of Texas and idiot pro-lifers in the state senates of the other 19 states don’t appear to understand that we are living in the 21st Century, not the 18th.

This nation is nearly $17 trillion in debt. Yet we cannot find people to put in national office who can do something about it. We continue to elect the same ‘farceiful’ figures who cannot write a single piece of legislation without attaching so much pork that it becomes impossible to pass; who tell their constituents that they, the legislators, have their voters best interest at heart when anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that they are only interested in feathering their own nests; that theirs is the only viewpoint and their opponents are idiots. I’d love to see their viewpoint but I can’t get my head that far up my ass! Woodrow Wilson said years ago, “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. You impoverish yourself if you forget this errand.” It’s too bad he wasn’t addressing Congress at the time.

What’s that you say…that I’m being cynical? Bull feathers! I’m not a cynic; I’m too much of a bloody realist. I don’t recall whether it was Socrates or Diogenes who roamed the night with a lantern, searching for an honest man. If he ever walked the halls of today’s Congress, he’d have one hell of a long walk.  

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