A MISSOURI LAWYER'S
SEPTEMBER 9, 2005
Archived Prior Ramblings
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Greets and Huggers. Posted the evening of September 9, 2005.
"Katrina" has come and gone. In passing, she gutted us. Laid our
bones out for all to see. And, in general and on my beloved SFIG, a week of
finger pointing. Bush supporters, supporting Bush and Bush bashers, bashing
Bush. Neither side having any hope of changing the mind of the other. Each side
snatching the bits of information currently available to buttress their
respective positions, (even though, all of the information is not yet available
... and bodies are still being recovered). Without a doubt, there are tough
questions that need to be asked: not to assign blame, (what purpose, other than
political, would that serve?) But to ensure, it will not happen again.
It made my heart sing, to see ordinary Americans roll up their sleeves and get
to work, yet at the same time, I had to wonder ... who are the victims. Along
the coast, for the most part, ordinary citizens living too close to the coast.
But in New Orleans, wasn't it the poorest of the poor, (who had no way of
leaving), the infirmed, (who did not have the means to leave) and the
criminals, (who had no desire to leave?) ... and no doubt, some folks who would
not leave their pets or their homes. On the news, I was struck by the number of
folks who randomly took families and individuals, into their homes. Given that
some of the victims, perhaps a small number, are criminals, (released from New
Orleans' jails when the levees broke), have made really bad life choices, (like
substance abuse .... or having 4 children with four different fathers, (not the
children, they truly are victims in every sense of the word)) or are just
locked into a way of life dependent on welfare .... why would these champions
of charity, risk their families, by doing so? Isn't this akin to randomly
inviting a family from "the projects" to move in with you and your
family? Would you feel comfortable doing so? Haven't these victims always been
there? Why invite them now? Perhaps, for some, seeing such suffering triggers
an overwhelming empathetic response, the core of which being, perhaps, guilt
.... the guilt felt by those who have been fortunate enough, either through
hard work, luck or inheritance to have accumulated "things" in life.
A feeling that. "there, but for the Grace of God, go I".
"Katrina" has forced us all to review our core values ... and
perhaps, have left some of us questioning the values held by our society, (a
society that only focuses on these basic questions after horrendous disaster).
In either case not a bad result, when we all recognize that the answer to the
tough questions, involve an answer demanding change. The debate should not
focus on finding fault and it is not about race ... but on how many and which
of the obligations imposed by personal responsibility and individual
accountability, should comprise, be part of our common welfare. For me, the one
undeniable lesson "Katrina" has taught: in spite of the expenditure
of billions of dollars, our government, is unable to protect Susan and I in the
event of a disaster, natural or man made. I don't need to stockpile
"necessities". I just need to be better armed than the person who
does. Just some food for thought.
New York (CNN/Money) - "There are now some 2,300 Web sites advertising Hurricane Katrina relief services, and most of them are presumed to be bogus, the FBI said Friday. In addition, scammers are four times more prevalent than after the tsunami disaster, according to the watchdog site www.Scambusters.org." Makes you proud of our fellow human beings, doesn't it?
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (AP) -- A Muslim woman who, for religious reasons, wanted to wear a veil in her driver's license photo must follow a Florida law that requires a picture of her full face, a state appeals court ruled. "The Fifth District Court of Appeal upheld a 2003 ruling by an Orlando judge that Sultaana Freeman's right to free exercise of religion would not be burdened by the photo requirement." What a novel idea. A "Picture ID", for identification purposes, that does not contain a picture usable for an individuals identification?
ROTTERDAM, the Netherlands, Sept. 6 - Doctors in Holland, where euthanasia for adults is permitted, have hastened the deaths of children as well, researchers have found. "In a four-month period in 2001, 36% of all deaths of children in Holland between the ages of one and 17 were preceded by what is called an "end-of-life decision," according to Astrid Vrakking, M.Sc., of Erasmus Medical Center here .... Such decisions range from withholding life-sustaining treatment, to administering drugs to relieve pain or other symptoms, even though with a possible life-shortening effect, or - in the most extreme cases - to using drugs with the aim of ending life, Vrakking and colleagues wrote in the September issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine." Does this surprise you? When life loses value, isn't that a loss, across the board? 'Nuf said.
To answer my Dear Lady Friend Janice D's query about the threat posed by sex offenders? A very complex question. Pedophilia is a sexual preference. It is not commonly recognized as a sexual orientation. There is also a difference in the behaviors engaged in, for example, looking at kiddie porn does not make a person a pedophile, any more than looking at gay porn, makes a person gay ... engaging in the actual behaviors is a much stronger indicator. The fact remains, that there are sexual predictors, heterosexual and homosexual, the predation was, is and remains, plain old rape. I disagree with the "sexual offender" lists maintained by the various States because they cast too wide a net, (if their purpose is to warn the public), no doubt a person convicted of rape, should be on the list, but an individual convicted of, (or who plead guilty to), an inappropriate "touching", should not be, (in my opinion). The difference between the two, is the trauma to the victim and the likelihood of future like behaviors. In my opinion, years of counseling for the victim of a non-traumatic, inappropriate touching, the hysteria, outrage and behaviors of the adults involved, is more detrimental than the touching itself. As for the mental institutionalization of violent sexual predators? Isn't that the purpose of a "pre-sentence report"? Doesn't the penalty for rape include a life sentence? A very complex question and the answer, certainly more fact specific, than most.
Short Ramblings tonight. I just did not have the time to spend on them this week. Just got back in from teaching a CLE in Jeff City. Our common Lady Friend Jana O, was in attendance. Was wonderful, to give her a "warm brotherly" hug, (I really do hug "family" members when we meet). Spent the last hour reading the "Katrina" posts on the SFIG. There is no debate, when the parties involved are in monologue mode and don't listen. On the evening news, "Operation Blessing" and an investigation of Pat Robertson. Guess, "Feet of Clay", remain just feet of clay. I really missed curling up next to Susan, last night. Andrew is wonderful company, (and I consider him a Dear Friend) .... but he is not a substitute for Susan :) For some reason, I feel heart sick. Instead of all Americans coming together for the victims of "Katrina", pulling together as Americans, there is such an undercurrent of hate .... (I was even more saddened by the post of my Dear and much Respected Friend Jim D, acknowledging he HATED G W Bush ... do the actions, or perceived actions, of any political figure, really warrant such a strong negative response? Isn't pity, forgiveness, tolerance and a prayer/hope for change a better response?) I prefer to believe in the potential goodness of my fellow persons, (knowing damn well ... some will require one HELL of a lot of work :)
It has been a long day ... and, there can be no greater joy for me, than curling up next to my Susan tonight. When I do, I will whisper a prayer of thanks for being able to do so, for our men and women in uniform, (care to join me ... <whispering> ... Please, Please, Please, God ... let them come home safe and soon! ... and for you.). Be and sleep well ... you can do so .... many of our fellow Americans can't. If my post offends, I apologize ... that is not my intent. As always ...
A Warm Brotherly Hug
Karl (the dumb ole country lawyer from Holden, Missouri)
Karl H. Timmerman M.A.J.D. © 2005
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