Archive for the ‘violence’ Category

I won’t be turning in my “black card.”

I didn’t write about the Jena 6.

In all honesty I just didn’t and don’t know exactly how I feel about it. No need to rehash the details because by now, unless you live under a rock, you know the story the media has given and CAN give us. I’m a journalist but I can agree that everything seemed to really escalate with all the coverage. That said, reporters just do their jobs. It’s a hot topic and if your media outlet isn’t covering it, there went their ratings. 

Let me just get some things straight though — I don’t think the original charges fit the crime, which have since been reduced. I feel that such charges were too harsh for clobbering a guy who ended up at a school function later that day. But if that doesn’t convince you, think of the possible scenario if the charges had stuck. Young men in jail for 20 years is asking for trouble. Not only for the families but our communities. When a guy sits in the hole for 20 years at an early age, many times they aren’t thinking about reforming while there and even if they do reform, a lot of times they come out bitter, angry, confused and have a horrible time finding work. Then they become a problem financially for all of us when they can’t get a job because of their record. 

But I also know racism still exists. I write about it here quite a bit because sadly the topic keeps coming up. And I know those three nooses hanging from that tree were more than just freedom of speech. They hung there as a message of hatred and ignorance. However violence only feeds the ignorance and beating up that white kid was the worse thing those boys allegedly did.

I still will not hang my hat on what I’ve been told happened but the end result doesn’t change: Someone got severely injured at the hands of sheer violence and that’s  a crime. These are all reasons why I didn’t write about this topic. It was one time out of a few that shooting from the hip gave me pause. Because to most people who support The Jena 6, I might as well turn in my “black card.”

But here is something interesting. Now we are being told that one of the 6 allegedly had myspace pics up with him brandishing money. The opposing side is surely going to use them for their case and there is even a Neo-Nazi site (I’m not posting that link obviously) who has them up. The myspace has since been deleted.

There is speculation that the money came from donations to support legal fees for the 6. But I’m not going to assume anything. You be the judge and we will all wait to find out the truth eventually. But you know young teen boys. Teenagers are real do now, suffer the consequences later types (you know that if you’ve got young ones at home) and all this publicity has just GOT to have those kids feeling kind of invincible. I mean wouldn’t you?? If people from all of the country along with Mr. Al Sharpton came to march just for you?And if the news has been talking about you for weeks. There are Jena 6 shirts, Web sites, petitions — wouldn’t you feel pretty puffed up by all the attention if you were a teenager?

Bottom line: I won’t turn in my “black card” for my above statements. Just because I’m black, DOES NOT mean I will fall in line.

A New America

Stumbling around old junk and filing things away tonight, I made a very ironic discovery. An old editorial I had written while in college about THE day. September 11. How eerie being that the very Tuesday is upon us.

Another irony: The editorial was attached with a rejection letter from the company I work for today. I don’t blame them for the rejection. However as I was retyping the letter for this blog, I felt all that terrifying emotion of 9/11 all over again. I will admit the tears from remembering that day came upon me. And in the end I had written what was/is still raw to me. Look pass the green around the gills nature of it and think back to what you were doing that day…

A New America

I should have known by the way it stayed wet and gray for a week before it happened.

The air seemed different somehow but it wasn’t just the constant rain that made breathing hard or the constant humidity. Humidity so thick the atmosphere hung like a noose over every passerby. The depression sunk in and I suddenly wondering why the rain bothered me so much. Texas is notorious for strange weather but it seemed to be something more — something felt wrong.

So that morning I peeled myself from the warmth of the covers. The sleep I attempted the night before was unsettled and sporadic. As I tried to shake off the exhaustion, my forehead crinkled a bit and I whimpered at the idea of starting my day. My thoughts were still wrestling in the waves of melancholy. First instinct: Turn on the radio. Second instinct: Make sure it’s loud. I had forgotten that I had left the stereo on an alternative station but my anxious dial turning fingers froze at the news my very non-favorite DJ delivered. He was speaking about something no American plans to hear at 9 a.m. For some reason the only words I understood followed this order: Pentagon. New York. Terrorists. All the other words blurred as I ran to the television.

To my rapidly gained realization, the pieces of my confusion were suddenly being glued together with images too shocking to compute. I called my father who I was extremely surprised did not call me first considering he is the master of current events. He did not know. It happened so quickly. School seemed unimportant somehow but I still needed to get to class. How could I not being that my father encouraged me to go? I got showered and got dressed to the news blaring in the den. I rushed to the car and every radio station I programmed was covering the tragedy, our tragedy.

Two planes ripped into the World Trade Center towers in New York; another destroyed a part of the Pentagon. More than thousands lost or dead. I called my mother as soon as I was on my way. She had just finished crying — one of the towers had collapsed due to the extreme impact of the plane. Mom cried. I can count on my hand how many times I have actually seen her weep.

There is no need to go into detail. We all know what happened. Every business has a lowered flag in front of their building as cars pass by with red, white and blue ribbons flying high on antennas. Every store is sold out of our nation’s flag as billboards of churches and restaurants proclaim God Bless America and United We Stand.

How will this affect the way people perceive life? In my generation, being a young person means our sense of direction is ornamented with responsibilities, the quest for complete education and the hopes of achieving every goal we set. I may not speak for the nation’s youth, but for me the path is now marred. The edges are rough with uncertainty, jagged with sorrow and covered in the debris of disbelief. What now? Business as usual is difficult. Everyday new coverage and constant red, white and blue reminders populate the city. We shouldn’t forget. We dare not. But where do you go from here when an already undetermined future becomes even more uncertain and laden with catastrophe?

Get out the f-ing car!

Many moons ago in my youthful courtin’ days, I can’t think of one time when a guy stayed in the car and honked when arriving to pick me up from my parents’ house. And if he ever did, my father probably would have gone to his car door and asked what his problem was. The same can be said for any friends who may have come over to pick me up — female or male. They came to the door, said hello to my folks and then we left.

I live in an area I simply hate. And luckily I’m moving Saturday. But there is a consistent car honker. It’s always at times that I’m in my underwear so I don’t get out there in time to see who the hell is the product of my nightmares of loud noises. But it’s at all hours. Last night it was well past 11. This morning it started at 10:30, and yea, I should have been up but that is simply not the point. Get out of the fucking car!

Why is this so hard? Turn off the ignition. Open your car door. GET YOUR SORRY ASS OUT. Then close your car door. The time this person takes honking for like three minutes, he or she could have already got the person he or she is picking up. Sometimes this honking is at like 8 in the morning on a Saturday! It makes me want to purchase a gun license.

The car horn is supposed to be used for road rage only. Don’t people know that?! I just don’t know when this became acceptable behavior and I guess some part of me must be a tad old fashion. People need to rise up against residential car honkers. Maybe we need T-shirts. Wait, I think I just got inspired.

When college honor goes too far.

Did anyone read the latest on the guy who literally lost his balls  to the fact that he was a UT supporter? Well, sure he kind of egged on that OU guy and he may have been ready to have a real fight about the whole UT shirt wearing thing but still. To rip out someone’s scrotum?!

My assistant is an OSU grad. She was the one who sent me the link today to this story. Being an OSU gal, she keeps up on all things university scandal in the big Okla. This has got to take the cake. The OU/UT thing is HUGE here. Fights break out every year. There is plenty of public intoxication. There is plenty of rough-housing. I think this is a first.

What’s worse (and you really need to read that link above and laugh at the visual on the right that was posted with the story!) is that the guy who “yanked” the jewels so to speak is a deacon! That’s right. A God-fearing Christian pulled another man’s balls off.

Why is college honor so damn important?! I went to a school with no real sports following. We were bad at b-ball, didn’t have a football team and our wheelchair team was really our all-stars (great chaps by the way and gorgeous). We had the regular frats and sororities. I chose not to pledge although both my parents were involved in them. I had no interest. College media was my “thing.”

My father has a brand on his arm honoring his frat and had some strange hazing crap he had to do while in college. However I don’t think the levels of love of one’s university fell into such extremes back then. No matter the ribbing, and compounded with the fact that he is supposed to be a peace-loving person, what on earth could have possibly been said or done to warrant a deacon performing a public maiming?!

Please put a stop to lip avatars…

ooh, so sexy — NOT!oh nooooz!please put a stop to this!ahhhhhhhhh!

Is anyone else sick of avatars represented by lips? Or is it just me?

I mean there are all kinds. Glossy ones. Ones on fire. Some with piercings. Tri-colors. Others with all kinds of chintzy clip art surrounding it. Many with special effects and bubbles. Lots with suggestive props…

It is a trend that has kept its viral appeal. Someone must put an end to them…for all that is truly right and just in this world. Maybe we need to start counteracting the lips with the recent feet avatars I’m starting to see…

Please put a stop to this madness! You too can prevent unnecessary, annoying glossy-lipped avatars.

Anonymity is important I guess — but come on! This is the worse thing since Simpson avatars.

Now half-face shots, doggies and shoes. Those are my favs. Leave those alone.

Dubya meets The Dead Zone: My encounter with the pres.

Several years ago in college, I shook hands with then governor of Texas — George W. Bush. He came to my school around the time he was campaigning and had a very blanket speech about vocational jobs of all things. It was cookie cutter. It was dry. And he was surrounded by his “yes” men as you would expect, controlling our questions.

But he still had to do the whole “kissing babies” routine so when he got to me I had my question ready. Back then I was a huge non-supporter of capital punishment. I have mixed feelings about it today, though. But at that time, it was a very passionate topic for me. I don’t really remember the exact question but all W. gave me was a very glazed over face and a fake smile and sputtered, “Well, I am a capital punishment governor,” and then he shook my hand and that was that.

Now I don’t know if you follow the USA Network, but good old 1980s geek turned hottie Anthony Michael Hall  plays a psychic named Johnny Smith on The Dead Zone. The show is based on the old movie with Christopher Walken in the lead role which was an adaptation of the book by Stephen King.

Smith can see the future and the past by touching things — or people and after shaking the hand of a to-be president named Greg Stillson, Smith sees the end of the world, literally.  Now I know I’m reaching well around to make a point and I’m sure not saying I’m psychic but I have to admit that I had such a Johnny Smith moment when I shook Bush’s hand. It’s hard to explain. I just got a bad vibe and a chill …

Whether or not you are a democrat, or republican, there is no denying the severe left turn the War on Terror has been steering down for quite some time. I claim no side. I’ve always voted for who I thought was the best person for the job — no matter the affiliation. But what are we doing here? And what happens, and it will happen, when the torch passes on to the new president? Campaign runs are a funny thing. You hear every day all kinds of promises from the candidates. The media does it’s take, covers the story, opens up the forum for discussion. Some instances like CNN take it a little further with some of their biased coverage. But overall we have the ultimate say about who deserves the job.

However I worry that the situation in Iraq will be like putting together a jigsaw puzzle without having the box with the picture on it to reference how it is all supposed to fit. Ultimately, whoever gets into office, where the hell do they start?!

And why didn’t I write to Washington when I had my Johnny moment? 🙂

A lunch break turns ugly…

It was a little around 1 p.m. and *Elizabeth decided to take a jaunt down to the local craft shop. The day was a hot one and the sun beat down on the pavement — not a cloud in the sky. Being that me and a few other coworkers also decided to take a trip to the shop as well, not knowing prior that Elizabeth had the same plans, I remember the parking lot being quiet. There were several cars and people scattered in and out of the shopping strip. A normal day. When we entered the store, we bumped into Elizabeth. All of us laughed that we chose the same day to have similar plans for lunch without planning it. We non-verbally agreed the office can be a little stuffy at times — just can’t sit at your desk all day on a nice afternoon.By the time my coworkers and I left, we noticed an ambulance and two police cars. First instinct of course as fellow journalists was to see what was up. Before we even got close to the commotion a paramedic called out my name. Elizabeth was in the ambulance, very shaken, out of breath — looking terrified. We hadn’t left together and when Elizabeth head out to her car alone, she was mugged. We felt horrible that we didn’t walk out together but how do you know such things when you are so off guard — not expecting a robbery in the middle of the day?The guy apparently reached out from a car and grabbed her bag. She fell to the ground.“He took everything,” she said between breaths, her hand grasping her chest.

Elizabeth told us she wasn’t returning to work that day of course and to let the office know what happened. She isn’t a woman to mess with — her husband isn’t exactly a slip of a man.  All we could think of on the ride back to the office was how senseless it all was. We looked around prior to getting into the car and just couldn’t believe something like that could happen there in such a “nice” area.  Isn’t that what everyone says when something like this happens? But you just can’t help saying it just the same.

With today’s technology all Elizabeth need to do is to report all her credit cards stolen and the block on them happens instantly. She couldn’t have had too much cash on hand. Maybe some perfume. Some great dark red lipstick that she always wears. A compact to powder her nose in time for a night out with her husband. How senseless. The mugger probably didn’t get away with much.

What happens to people to make them end up on the wrong side of things?

Elizabeth will return to work. Everyone will ask her how she feels. She will again return home to her family. But what does the mugger have? An inevitable arrest. Time in prison. A record if he doesn’t already have one. What is the point to even taking the risk of such a pointless theft?

Where is the cure for society’s downward spiral?

*Name changed to remain anonymous.