An Open Letter To Megan Dunn

Dear Megan Dunn who works for the Kentucky Family Preservation Program (according to scarymommy.com),

Congratulations on your recent Facebook post that went viral.  It’s not every day someone gets over 100,000 shares or nearly 50,000 Likes  It’s obvious you are passionate about Christmas and children (which is great).  For those who haven’t read your post yet, I’ve taken the liberty of grabbing a screenshot of it to include here on my blog.


You might want to take a look at the message you’re sending parents and children via your message.    I’ll break it down into simple steps.

  1.  Parents who are financially capable need to stop telling their ‘Santa age’ children the expensive gifts are from Santa.
  2.  Parents who are financially capable need to start telling their ‘Santa age’ children that gifts costing less than $200 are from Santa.
  3.  Parents who are financially disadvantaged need to start telling their ‘Santa age’ children that everybody gets similarly priced gifts from Santa to make it “fair.”

Here’s the problem with your message:  It teaches children of all ages that if they can’t have what or who they want, NOBODY should.

I’m guessing that you didn’t think your message through all the way before posting it to social media because I would hate to think that you are at ease with the concept of teaching children that if they can’t have what or who they want, NOBODY should.

You see, that kind of message is what leads children to make poor choices as children, as teens, and as adults.

It teaches a teen struggling through his or her first romantic break-up that there’s nothing wrong with making sure no one else gets involved with the boyfriend or girlfriend who dumped him or her.

It teaches a young adult dealing with his or her first pink slip at work that showing up for his or her next shift with a weapon and taking out his or her anger on former co-workers (sometimes fatally) is an acceptable reaction to his or her dismissal.

It teaches children to covet what others have, and if you know anything about coveting (the concept is older than the Bible), you know how that usually turns out.  In fact,  coveting usually has a pretty horrific ending.

Now maybe you’re going to say if I understood what it was like for families who are financially disadvantaged, I would think differently.  Well, Megan, I’ve been a financially disadvantaged single parent of a young child with multiple serious health conditions, and I can tell you without a moment’s hesitation that those years were lean and mean, and Christmas wasn’t the fancy affair it was at the homes of many of my son’s peers.

I knew many of his peers would be getting amazingly awesome expensive gifts from gaming systems that cost hundreds of dollars and more.  He wasn’t going to get any of that because, truth be told, it just wasn’t in the budget once rent, utilities, clothing, food, medication, and other necessities were paid.  In fact, there were times when the budget only stretched as far as my child and not as far as to cover my own needs.

It’s not easy explaining anything to a child with serious health conditions, especially when one of those conditions is an autism spectrum disorder.  But with enough short-term and long-term projection, coming up with an explanation that reinforces positive aspects can be found.

Would you like to know what I told my son when he was 4 years old and his peers from daycare were gearing up for fancy Christmas presents and all the trimmings that go with that kind of Christmas?

Maybe you don’t, but I’ll share anyway.

I told my son that Santa, like any good person taking care of others, had to take care of the elves and the reindeer.  He had to provide them with a roof over their heads and food in their bellies, and, of course, the elves needed clothes.  Santa also had to make sure that the supplies needed to make toys for children was paid for because those supplies cost money as well.  It wasn’t fair to expect to get all that for free from people who also had families of their own.

The best Santa could do, I told him, was to offer parents discounts of up to 50% at Christmas, and the harder a child worked at being good all year, the bigger the discount.  That meant parents still had to come up with at least half the cost of the presents Santa would bring Christmas Eve.

Here’s the message he got from that.

  1.  You always have to put in your best effort to get best results.
  2.  Just because someone else gets more than you do doesn’t mean others are more deserving.
  3.  If you want something, keep your eye on the long-term goal and keep working towards achieving it.
  4.  You’re not responsible for making everyone else happy.

AND HERE’S THE BIGGEST TAKE-AWAY HE GOT FROM THAT:

People are more important than things … always.

Life isn’t fair, Megan, and that’s a sad reality, but we aren’t making things any better when we send children the wrong messages about what matters in life or how to deal with disappointment.

I know you wrote your Facebook post from the heart, and I don’t doubt that you care deeply for all the families with whom you interact.  Sometimes, though, you have to think past the immediate situation and ask yourself, “What message do we want children with or without money to learn from the adults in their lives?”

Merry Christmas, Megan Dunn of Kentucky Family Preservation Program (according to scarymommy.com).

Elyse Bruce

 

Advertisements

Where Are Matt’s Women

Lately the media has reported on a number of men accused of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.  Some of those high-profile men have been supported by female colleagues who have made it clear the accused was never sexually inappropriate with any of them.  In fact, recently 36 women associated with Saturday Night Live released such a statement with regards to Senator Al Franken who has admitted to some of the sexual harassment and assault of which he has been accused.

Yesterday, news broke that NBC superstar Matt Lauer has been accused of sexual harassment and assault.

Now, not all that long ago (as in 2 weeks ago), NBC News fired Matt Zimmerman, senior vice-president of booking, news and entertainment, who had been with the unit since at least 2004.  NBC said the firing was due to his “inappropriate conduct” towards female employees while working at NBC.   Interestingly enough, Matt Zimmerman handled guest bookings for “Today” as well as other NBC News programs.

And two weeks before that, NBC fired Mark Halperin for sexual harassment of female employees while working at NBC.  The media reported Mark Halperin’s exploits as sordid (a word that has not been used when describing Matt Lauer’s exploits).

It’s been a nasty stretch for NBC over the past four weeks, or so it would seem.  However, this graphic created by The New York Times shows that the behavior both Matts and Mark have been accused of seems to be par for the course in other parts of the same industry.


However, unlike Senator Al Franken who had a bevy of female colleagues from SNL willing to vouch for his good behavior when he wasn’t acting badly, it would seem that Matt Lauer and Matt Zimmerman and Mark Halperin and countless others who have been accused of and/or admitted to sexual impropriety don’t have the same star power as Al Franken.  I wonder why that might be?

And I also wonder why the accused thought their behavior was accepted and in some cases, welcome.  Where did they get this message when, for years, the media has stated clearly that sexually unwelcome behavior is inappropriate and, in many cases, criminal?

These are difficult times in which we live, but they need not be.  If people in general respected themselves and respected others, these scandals wouldn’t break because these scandals wouldn’t happen.

Still one has to ask, if Senator Al Franken has the Women of SNL vouching for how good he can be, should we be keeping an eye out for the Women of NBC who might be hiding in the wings, waiting to release a statement in support of Matt Lauer?  And if there are such women, should their word be taken over those of the victims who have come forward to date?

And what about those who knew what was going on and did nothing to stop the behavior?  How should we feel towards them, and how should they atone for their refusal to act on what they knew to be factual at the time they were made aware of what was going on?

For those who say it’s complicated, it really isn’t.  As the saying goes:  The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

It appears a lot of nothing has been done over the years, and this is how what happened was allowed to happen for so many years.

Elyse Bruce

ADDITIONAL SUGGESTED READING

ALLEGED SEXUAL MISCONDUCT BY GERALDO REVIERA RESURFACES AFTER HE DEFENDS MATT LAUER
https://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2017/11/30/
alleged-sexual-misconduct-by-geraldo-rivera-resurfaces-after-he-defends-matt-lauer/

CNN’S JEFF ZUCKER SAYS HE KNEW OF NO MISCONDUCT BY MATT LAUER
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/30/business/media/jeff-zucker-matt-lauer.html

MARK HALPERIN SCANDAL BECOMES MORE SORDID
https://nypost.com/2017/10/27/the-mark-halperin-scandal-becomes-more-sordid/

MATT LAUER ACCUSED OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT BY MULTIPLE WOMEN
http://variety.com/2017/biz/news/matt-lauer-accused-sexual-harassment-multiple-women-1202625959/

MATT LAUER APOLOGIZES AFTER FIRING OVER SEXUAL MISCONDUCT CLAIMS
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/30/business/media/matt-lauer-nbc-statement.html

MATT LAUER CAUGHT ON CAMERA TELLING MEREDITH VIEIRA TO KEEP BENDING OVER
https://globalnews.ca/news/3889485/matt-lauer-meredith-vieira-caught-on-camera

MATT LAUER EXPRESSES REGRET, APOLOGIZES TO THE PEOPLE I HAVE HURT IN STATEMENT
http://www.king5.com/news/nation-world/matt-lauer-responds-for-the-first-time-after-being-fired-from-nbc/495728805

MATT LAUER SOUL SEARCHING AFTER BEING FIRED FROM NBC
FOR INAPPROPRIATE SEXUAL BEHAVIOR IN WORKPLACE

https://globalnews.ca/news/3889088/matt-lauer-apologizes-fired-nbc-inappropriate-sexual-behaviour/

NBC FIRES MATT LAUER OVER INAPPROPRIATE SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/matt-lauer-fired-1.4424269

NBC FIRES TODAY VETERAN MATT LAUER, CITING INAPPROPRIATE SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
http://variety.com/2017/tv/news/nbc-fires-matt-lauer-today-sexual-harassment-1202625608/

NBC NEWS FIRES TOP TALENT BOOKER FOR INAPPROPRIATE CONDUCT
https://pagesix.com/2017/11/14/nbc-news-fires-top-talent-booker-for-inappropriate-conduct/

NBC RECEIVES AT LEAST 2 NEW COMPLAINTS ABOUT MATT LAUER
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/29/business/media/nbc-matt-lauer.html

NBC TERMINATES MARK HALPERIN’S CONTRACT OVER HARASSMENT CLAIMS
https://nypost.com/2017/10/30/nbc-terminates-mark-halperins-contract-over-harassment-claims/

NEW ZEALAND EXAMINES MATT LAUER’S RANCH PURCHASE AFTER HIS FIRING
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/30/business/matt-lauer-new-zealand.html

SCARBOROUGH: MOST POWER PEOPLE IN MEDIA KNEW ABOUT LAUER’S SEXUAL PROCLIVITIES
https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/nov/30/joe-scarborough-most-powerful-people-in-media-knew/

Society’s Blessing of Mixed Messages

Over the past few weeks, the media has reported a flurry of incidents involving men in positions of power that range from inappropriate sexual comments down to sexual assault.  The attention saw the sudden rise of the #metoo hashtag campaign became the rallying cry on social media and women from around the world shared their personal experiences of alleged sexual harassment and sexual assault at the hands of men in positions of authority.

NOTE:  Referring to the comments of others as alleged sexual harassment and sexual assault in no way impugns the reality of sexual harassment and sexual assault victims endured.  An allegation is a claim that has not been proven meaning it may or may not have happened and/or it may or may not have happened as the involved parties recall the situation from each one’s recollection of what may or may not have happened.

We have heard celebrities such as actor Richard Dreyfuss claim he was “horrified and bewildered” to find out that his behavior towards Jessica Teich “wasn’t consensual.”  We have heard celebrities such as comedian Louis C.K. claim he thought he had permission to do what he did because he “asked the women first” before proceeding.  We have heard politicians and authors and others from all walks of life admit to various levels of sexual impropriety, harassment, and assaults, and the reaction from society has been consistent:  Such behavior is unacceptable, inappropriate, and unsavory.

Have you read any articles in the media claiming that using power of authority to victimize a target is acceptable? I haven’t. Have you heard any news reports claiming that subjecting a subordinate to harassment and assault is laudable? Me neither.

And this is where society’s hypocrisy is found because in the grand scheme of things, society gives its blessing to such behavior through mixed messages.  I know, I know.  Isn’t that surprising?  Shocking, even?  Confusing, without a doubt?

I realize some reading this will disagree so providing examples is the best way to show, not tell, what I mean.  While I could have chosen any number of movies or books, I am using “A Christmas Wish II” to highlight where society’s blessings to mixed messages may be found.  For those who are unfamiliar with the movie, I am sharing the story synopsis from four different websites with regards to this specific movie.

The first three versions provide what many would consider a wholesome story line, certain to appeal to the heartstrings of those who love romance — especially romance that could possibly result in a fairy tale ending where the young woman is swept off her feet by Prince Charming and taken to live in his palace somewhere in “happily ever after” land.  The last version implies a little impropriety on the part of the billionaire.

The scene involving the mistletoe kiss, however, isn’t the tame, innocent, consensual scene you might think.

Cooper Montgomery’s on-again off-again on-again girlfriend Brittany waits in the lobby of the building where the playboy billionaire’s sister works as Editor-In-Chief of Trend Fashions magazine.  Cooper Montgomery has dropped in to speak with his sister before returning to his girlfriend in the lobby  However, on his way back down in the elevator, after others in the elevator have stepped off on their respective floors, he finds himself in the elevator alone with his sister’s assistant, Jenna Kingston.

No problem there so far.

Cooper notices the mistletoe hanging in the elevator just above him and Jenna.  Cooper looks at Jenna in a way that can only be described as a look most women would be wary of, and perhaps a bit concerned over.  Suddenly, he grabs her and plants a great, big, sloppy kiss on Jenna who initially resists before succumbing to his charms.  The elevator doors swish open when the elevator reaches the lobby, and Cooper’s girlfriend, Brittany seems them locked in this passionate embrace which is quickly broken off.

So what’s the problem?

This kiss is what is the basis for this so-called “love story” where the girl eventually winds up with Prince Charming (sorry for that spoiler).

Jenna Kingston doesn’t file a police report against Cooper Montgomery for the sexual assault in the elevator.  She doesn’t even tell her boss about it when advised by her boss that she’ll be working closely with the man who sexually accosted her in the elevator.  To her credit, she does tell her male neighbor but based on the discussion that ensues between them, neither of them feels it’s anything bad.

Message in the movie regarding unwanted sexual attention from a complete stranger:  Everyone’s good to go, and you should be so lucky as to have that happen to you someday!

Message in real life regarding unwanted sexual attention from a complete stranger:  Call the police and have that person arrested, charged, found guilty of the crime, and locked away!

If society wants to put an end to the confusion, society needs to take a unified stand against behavior it deems unacceptable and inappropriate.  It can’t say that sexual assault is abhorrent under certain situations but encouraged — even welcome — under other certain situations.  In doing so, society is placing an unfair burden on men and women to figure out when sexual assault is all right when the fact of the matter is this:  Sexual assault is never all right.

Elyse Bruce

P.S.  For those who are wondering, the story didn’t need that sexual assault in the elevator scene for the movie to work.

Speaking Frankenly

In January 2017, hundreds of thousands of people marched in the Women’s March … in Washington (DC), in New York City, in Boston, in Atlanta, and in other key cities in the U.S. and around the world. The worldwide tally of sister marches according to organizers was 673 although the New York Times reported the organizers were unable to explain how they arrived at that number.

The reason for the march, according to CNN and other media reports, was to “send a bold message … that women’s rights are human rights.”

The writers, producers, and actors of Saturday Night Live (SNL) felt so strongly about these issues that when women in the U.S. held “A Day Without A Woman” on International Women’s Day in March, the situation was addressed in some of their sketches including this one.

One might believe that, like many celebrities and well-known sports figures, those associated with SNL (from former cast members to current writers) support and believe victims of violence. But perhaps they don’t.

According to an article on the Vox website on October 17, 2016, society tends to believe that “[if] a man has friends, admirers, and social status, he also has a defense against rape and a claim to sympathy in the public eye.” And perhaps this is why the Women of SNL — all 36 of them — who released a public statement of support to the media recently believe because they weren’t personally harassed or assaulted by Senator Al Franken, there’s no reason to take the allegations against Senator Al Franken seriously even when the Senator himself has admitted to the veracity of some of those allegations.


Because it didn’t happen to them, the implication seems to be the women who were, and who claim to have been, inappropriately touched are liars, cheap women, loose women, and/or women looking for media attention.  So much for believing the victims, even when the Senator admits to the improprieties of which he is accused.

Oddly enough, during the Senator’s tenure on Saturday Night Live (beginning in 1975 and running through to 1995), a great deal of the comedy was, euphemistically speaking, female unfriendly.

Does anyone remember 1985 SNL cast member Danitra Vance? One of her more famous recurring characters was professional teenage mother, Cabrini Green Jackson.  Vance chose to leave SNL after one season because she didn’t see a future beyond playing demeaning characters if she stayed a second season.  Al Franken’s legacy with SNL includes countless nasty jokes disparaging women.

Even when the Senator owns up to the inappropriate behavior, he negates it by stating (as he did with CNN) he did not remember taking the photo with Lindsay Menz and he felt “badly” she felt disrespected.  In other words, he didn’t feel she was disrespected.  He believes she feels that way, but he certainly doesn’t feel that way about that same incident.  It’s the same with the other women alleging inappropriate sexual behavior by the Senator towards them.  Senator Al Franken told the Minneapolis Star Tribune in an interview he remembers the photographs but the behavior in those photographs is “not something [he] would intentionally do.”

Fine.  Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.  How exactly does someone repeatedly unintentionally behave in this way and fail to remember it?

Weird, right?

And when the allegations of sexual impropriety broke about Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein broke, SNL was incredibly silent about that situation until public pressure forced them to produce skits with marginal glancing blows in Mr. Weinstein’s direction.

Now, I don’t know if the reason for this behavior on behalf of SNL writers, producers, and actors is because Senator Al Franken is a Democrat and Harvey Weinstein was a strong supporter a certain Democrat running for President in 2016, but you would think politics wouldn’t play a role in believing victims.  Perhaps that’s a naive point of view to hold these days, and yet, that point of view is valid.

In cases such as these, what is needed is definitive proof.  Rather than immediately side with the accused, and rather than immediately side with the accuser(s), wait for the proof to be presented.  At that point, sides can be taken if need be.

What one ought not do is take a side on the basis that, because it never happened to them personally, it couldn’t possibly have happened to someone else exactly as they say it happened.

What’s more, when someone takes responsibility for what he or she has done, that person needs to take full responsibility for what he or she has done.  Fobbing it off on a bad memory or victim blaming and shaming or on the fact that 36 or more people with the same body parts as the victim(s) stating publicly they were never victimized isn’t the way to go.  Being truthful and shouldering the responsibilities of one’s actions is the way to go.

Elyse Bruce

ADDITIONAL SUGGESTED READING

AL FRANKEN HAS LONG HISTORY OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT JOKES
BEFORE ACCUSATION OF GROPING WOMAN’S BREASTS

http://www.newsweek.com/franken-jokes-sexual-misconduct-women-713678

AL FRANKEN’S SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE ERA WAS FULL OF JOKES DISPARAGING WOMEN
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-franken-snl-jokes-women-1121-20171120-story.html

COWARDS: SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE STAYS SILENT ON WEINSTEIN SEX ABUSE CHARGES
http://www.dailywire.com/news/22029/cowards-snl-stays-silent-weinstein-sex-abuse-joseph-curl

DFL CONVENTION BEGINS WITH FRANKEN FENDING OFF CRITICISM
http://www.startribune.com/dfl-convention-begins-with-franken-fending-off-criticism/19588289/

FRANKEN ASHAMED BUT SAYS HE’LL RETURN TO WORK ON MONDAY
http://www.startribune.com/ashamed-franken-says-he-ll-return-to-work-on-monday/460108233/

PAST SNL PERFORMERS, STAFF SIGN STATEMENT SUPPORTING FRANKEN
http://www.king5.com/news/nation-world/past-snl-performers-staff-sign-statement-supporting-franken/493586650

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE FINALLY COMMENTS ON HARVEY WEINSTEIN ALLEGATIONS
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/snl-saturday-night-live-harvey-weinstein-jokes-nbc-colin-chost-michael-che-watch-latest-a8001556.html

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE MOCKS EVERYONE — BUT HARVEY WEINSTEIN
https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/movies/2017/10/08/snl-mocks-everyone-but-remains-silent-harvey-weinstein/W3HUIWnOi1MdMc22zU3HPO/story.html

SENATOR AL FRANKEN WILL RETURN TO WORK AMID SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS
http://www.king5.com/news/nation-world/sen-al-franken-will-return-to-work-amid-sexual-harassment-allegations/494729371

WHO’S DEFENDING AL FRANKEN? THE WOMEN OF SNL
http://www.thestranger.com/slog/2017/11/21/25577361/whos-defending-al-franken-the-women-of-snl

WOMEN OF SNL SIGN STATEMENT SUPPORTING AL FRANKEN
http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/tv/ct-snl-women-al-franken-letter-of-support-20171121-story.html

WOMEN WHO WORKED ON SNL STAND UP FOR AL FRANKEN 
http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/21/media/snl-women-al-franken/index.html

 

Who’s To Blame For This Massacre?

Memes have a way of making the rounds very quickly on social media, and with the disturbingly  horrific mass murder in Sutherland Springs, Texas days ago, it’s no surprise this meme is being shared on social media.

Yes, many liberals are blaming the NRA as well as the lack of gun control for what happened.  However, the facts aren’t backing up that claim.

A Thumbnail History Lesson

Sutherland Springs First Baptist church was the oldest operating church in the community. Dr. John Sutherland brought his medical knowledge to the area during the Battle of Alamo, and four years later, the area where he and his family lived became known as Sutherland Springs. He was also the postmaster.

Who was Devin Patrick Kelley?

He married his first wife in 2011, two years after graduating from high school and a year after enlisting in the military where he was responsible for moving passengers, cargo, and personal property in military transportation, or what is called Logistics Readiness.

A year later in 2012, he sneaked firearms onto Holloman Air Force Base, and allegedly threatened his commanders.  That same year, he was accused of assaulting his then-wife and stepson. He was accused of pointing a loaded firearm as well as an unloaded firearm at his then-wife (the charges were subsequently withdrawn and dismissed with prejudice).  He was court martialed, and found guilty of the charges against him.  He received a reduction to the lowest possible rank, and served a year in military prison with his final duty title being “prisoner.”

The Air Force chief prosecutor stated to the media that the shooter had violently shaken his stepson which resulted in fractures in the child’s skull and bleeding between the skull and the brain. The shooter could have gotten as much as five years in a military prison even though there was no doubt of the shooter’s guilt.

While the shooter was in jail, his first wife filed for divorce (the divorce was granted and finalized in October 2012).

He was investigated for sexual assault and rape in 2013 in Comal County but was not charged in the case.

In February 2014 (the year he received a bad conduct discharge from the military), a disturbance at an address where he and his then-girlfriend (who became his second ex-wife) lived was called in to the police and law enforcement responded. No one was charged as he told the police the situation was nothing more than teenage drama and a misunderstanding between the two.

SIDE NOTE 1: The two married two months after this incident.

That same year, he was arrested in El Paso County (CO) on animal cruelty charges. At the mobile home park where he lived in Colorado Springs (CO), neighbors reported him for beating his puppy with a closed fist. The sheriff’s department arrested and charged him. The shooter was given a deferred probationary sentence and ordered to pay restitution, and a protection order was issued against him on behalf of the local Humane Society.

He was investigated on two separate occasions by local authorities in Comal County on allegations of abuse against women.

There were accounts by former girlfriends of the shooter stalking and harassing them long after they stopped dating. Two of his former girlfriends who dated him years earlier stated that his behavior was disturbing and violent after they broke up with him. One former girlfriend said that when he was 18 and she was 13, she broke up with him and he continued to harass her long after the relationship ended.

And he had a number of minor traffic offenses.

His second ex-wife (with whom he had a child) was previously a teacher at the Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church.

He had a record of violence, and he had a history of texting threats to his second ex-wife’s mother-in-law.

He worked for 5 1/2 weeks as a licensed, unarmed seasonal security guard, having passed a criminal background check. His employment was terminated mid-season in July with a spokesperson for the employer stating the shooter was not a good fit with the business.

He posted anti-God statements, was vocally anti-Christian, and claimed to be an atheist. He was a member of a number of atheist groups according to his Facebook page (which has since been deleted).

Who Went After The Shooter?

The man who chased after the shooter is local plumber Stephen Willeford, a former NRA instructor and fourth-generation resident of Sutherland Springs (TX). When he ran out of his house with his shotgun, he ran outside barefoot. As the shooter ran off, Willeford got off two shots, hitting the shooter: One struck him in the leg, and the other struck him in the torso.

SIDE NOTE 2: The shooter died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head.

Johnnie Langendorff was the driver of the pick-up truck used to chase after the shooter.   When the shooter took off in a truck, Willeford ran up to Langendorff, told him the driver of the truck had shot up people in the church, and jumped into his pick-up truck.  Langendorff kept up as best he could, reaching speeds of up to 95 mph, when the shooter lost control of his vehicle, and flew off the road on a sharp curve near 307 and 539.

The Shooter Used An AR-15 In The Assault

According to CNN reporter Aaron Smith, mass shootings during the Obama administration years led to a surge in sales for AR-15s which is the type of gun the shooter used. He also reported that after Trump won the presidential election, gun sales for AR-15s dropped.

The reporter also stated a modern version of the AR-15 is what U.S. soldiers, and the AR-15 has been used by U.S. soldiers since the Vietnam War.

The Fifth Worst Mass Shooting in the U.S.

The worst mass shootings in the U.S. in the past 25 years are:

Las Vegas (NV) in 2017 when 58 people were killed
Orlando (FL) in 2016 when 49 people were killed
Virginia Tech (VA) in 2007 when 32 people were killed
Sandy Hook (CT) in 2012 when 27 were killed
Sutherland Springs (TX) in 2017 when 26 people were killed

In the end, the shooter in Sutherland Springs (TX) murdered 4% of the town’s population.

About The Meme

Compiling the information into an understandable overview of what happened, the meme is correct in stating the allegations made by liberals are little more than cognitive dissonance on the left’s part.   Devin Patrick Kelley wasn’t a conservative Christian NRA member.

Devin Patrick Kelley was an atheist whose views were liberal.

His murderous rampage was stopped thanks to a law-abiding NRA member who was a conservative Christian who attended a different church in town, and thanks to another caring person who also gave chase after the shooter.

Who Should Be Blamed For This?

There’s more than enough blame to go around including whoever in the military did not forward the shooter’s criminal record to the proper civilian authorities, and whoever in law enforcement may be responsible for making the animal cruelty and domestic violence and other important information available to those entitled to know about these incidents.  Someone with the history the shooter had should not have been able to pass a criminal records check.

But rest assured what happened has nothing to do with the NRA or with gun control laws or those who hold conservative views.  It doesn’t even have to do with Christianity or atheism, believe it or not.

It has to do with a severely disturbed individual who believed he had the right to harm others for reasons that will only ever be known to him.

Elyse Bruce

 

ADDITIONAL SUGGESTED READING

ABOUT 4% OF TEXAS TOWN’S POPULATION KILLED IN CHURCH SHOOTING
http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/05/us/first-baptist-church/index.html

DAVID KELLEY WAS AN OUTCAST WHO PREACHED HIS ATHEISM
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5053013/Devin-Kelley-outcast-preached-atheism.html#ixzz4xfCL8Y6I

FBI SEEKING ACCESS TO THE SUTHERLAND SPRINGS SHOOTER’S iPHONE
https://gizmodo.com/the-fbi-is-seeking-access-to-the-sutherland-springs-sho-1820273857

HERO EXCHANGED FIRE WITH GUNMAN, THEN HELPED CHASE HIM DOWN
http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/05/us/texas-church-shooting-resident-action/index.html

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, THREATS PRECEDED SUTHERLAND SPRINGS CHURCH SHOOTING
http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/A-history-of-violence-threats-preceded-12336789.php

IN 2012 ASSAULT, TEXAS GUNMAN BROKE SKULL OF INFANT STEPSON
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/06/us/devin-patrick-kelley-texas.html

MAN WHO SHOT TEXAS CHURCH GUNMAN SHARES HIS STORY
http://www.4029tv.com/article/man-who-shot-texas-church-gunman-shares-his-story/13437943

MASS SHOOTERS OFTEN HAVE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TRAIT
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/11/08/sutherland-springs-mass-shooters-often-have-domestic-violence-trait/846735001/

MENACING TEXAS CHURCH GUNMAN LEFT SERIES OF RED FLAGS
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/11/07/how-he-missed-menacing-texas-church-gunman-left-series-red-flags/841693001/

TEXAS CHURCH GUNMAN ESCAPED MENTAL HEALTH FACILITY IN 2012
http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/07/us/texas-church-shooting/index.html

TEXAS CHURCH SHOOTER DEVIN PATRICK KELLEY’S TROUBLE PAST EMERGES
http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/06/us/devin-kelley-texas-church-shooting-suspect/index.html

TEXAS CHURCH SHOOTER WAS A MILITANT ATHEIST
http://nypost.com/2017/11/06/ex-friends-say-shooter-was-creepy-atheist-who-berated-religious-people/

TEXAS HERO’S DAUGHTER SHARES STORY
http://www.4029tv.com/article/texas-heros-daughter-shares-story-with-4029/13446961

VIOLENCE FOLLOWED TEXAS CHURCH GUNMAN AFTER HIGH SCHOOL
https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/national/violence-followed-texas-church-gunman-after-high-school

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE RIFLE USED IN THE TEXAS CHURCH MASSACRE
http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/06/news/companies/ruger-ar-556-ar-15/index.html

WHO WAS TEXAS CHURCH GUNMAN DEVIN PATRICK KELLEY?
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41884342

Unfair Comparisons

Lately, this meme has circulated on social media, comparing the United States with Portugal in an attempt to justify decriminalizing marijuana in the U.S.  While it’s true that some States have legalized marijuana, the fact remains that marijuana is illegal on the Federal level.

Here’s something supporters of this meme seem to have forgotten:  Correlation does not imply causation.  Just because two things correlate does not necessarily mean one causes the other.

That being said, those who are bandying about this meme certainly would like people to believe that decriminalizing drugs such as marijuana in countries such as Portugal is the main reason (and perhaps the only reason) for everything else playing out as it does.

Let’s take a look at the facts as they pertain to Portugal and the United States of America because the meme leaves a great deal of factual information out.  If an argument is to be made for legalization of drugs such as marijuana, the argument must be iron-clad, not cherry-picked.

The United States of America (9,833,517 square kilometers) is 107 times bigger than Portugal (92, 090 square kilometers). To make it a bit easier to understand, Portugal is about the same size as Indiana. Surprise!

The United States of America has a population of more than 324 million people and Portugal has a population of about 11 million people. In other words, the U.S. has 29 times more people than Portugal.

The United States of America ranks 12th in terms of average monthly disposable income and Portugal ranks 53rd.

The United States of America’s economy is at $15.68 trillion dollars and ranks #2 whereas Portugal’s economy is at $212.45 billion dollars and rolls in at #43 on the list.

The per capita GDP in the United States of America places the U.S. #10 on the list, and the per capita GDP in Portugal places that country #36 on the same list.

In Portugal, nearly 20% more of the population lives below the poverty line with only 18 other countries doing worse that Portugal. The United States of America is ranked 34th in this respect with 33 other countries doing worse (including Portugal).

Portugal has 79% MORE police officers than the United States of America. Think about that for a while before you continue reading this article. Seventy-nine percent MORE police officers than the number of police officers in the United States of America.

Is it any surprise with so many fewer police officers in the United States that there’s 54 times more crime in the U.S. than in Portugal?

But wait a minute: Wouldn’t you expect Portugal’s crime rate to be much lower since proportionally speaking Portugal has so many MORE police officers keeping the peace across Portugal?  No wonder the police in Portugal have more time to solve other violent crimes.  They have more officers with which to work, so it makes sense they would have more resources with which to solve outstanding crimes.  Sure, Portugal has 4 times fewer murders and 7 times fewer rapes.  It stands to reason they would since they have so many more police officers and only about 11 million people to police instead of more than 324 million people.

Imagine how much crime could be thwarted if the police presence in the U.S. was nearly doubled so it would be on par with the per capita police presence in Portugal!

In Portugal, the price per square foot on average when buying an apartment is $200. In the U.S., the price per square foot on average when buying an apartment in a similar market is $207. In other words, there isn’t much difference between the two countries when it comes to buying an apartment. But do you know where there IS a big difference? In salaries!

The average monthly net salary after tax in the U.S. is slightly more than $3,000 per month. In Portugal, the average monthly net salary after tax is just under $1,000 per month.  But that’s not where the differences end.  What do clothing costs look like?  Good news!  You’ll pay about the same price for clothing in both countries.  Except paying the same price for an article of clothing in Portugal isn’t like paying the same price for an article of clothing in the U.S. because people in the U.S. have three times more money to spend than people in Portugal.

And good luck with buying that car you might need because in Portugal you’re going to pay nearly $30,000 for the same car that costs a shade over $20,000 in America, but in an economy where people are going to struggle more to find the money for that car than people in the U.S. are going to struggle.

What this meme actually is, is a post hoc fallacy — a logical fallacy, a fallacy of the false cause. A post hoc fallacy is one where an event is presented as the reason a later event happened … on the basis that the first event occurred before the second event.

The comparisons in this meme are seriously flawed, rendering the point supporters of this meme are trying to make seriously flawed.

If people want to compare the United States with a similar size country, they would be better off comparing America to Australia, Brazil, Canada, or even China. If it’s a comparison based on population, that’s going to be a challenge as the American population falls between Indonesia’s at 263,991,379 and India’s at 1,339,180,127.

In other words, the U.S. is responsible for 4.30% of the world’s population. Portugal is responsible for only 0.14% of the world’s population. It’s hardly a fair comparison now, is it?

Elyse Bruce

 

SOURCE 1: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/population-by-country/

SOURCE 2: http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/Portugal/United-States

Sharks, Shills, Scams, and Stealing

DISCLAIMER
An OpEd piece is written with a unique perspective on an issue,
and is a guaranteed right under the First Amendment allowing individuals
to articulate opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or
censorship, or societal sanctions.

Internet Marketing Expert Dan Dasilva is hopping mad after losing a copyright infringement lawsuit against him where he was found guilty of infringing on the copyrights of a photographer.  Dasilva reached a settlement with the photographer for $27,000 in June, and paid an additional $10,000 in legal fees … not including the fees he paid his owner legal team.

He’s so steamed about losing that he posted a video — against advice from his legal team according to Dan Dasilva — on YouTube lashing out at the photographer.  In part, this is what Dan Dasilva had to say about the situation:

To put it into context, the reason I was sued was because I used a picture that I found on Google Images. Now, I should have known better, yes, in my position I should know better. But, again, I never really thought that there are malicious people out there that […] maliciously put pictures on the Internet.

They copyright pictures that they take and what they do is they’ll get like a copyright on it, and they’ll put it out on the Internet, and it’s freely available on the Internet, If you run a Google search their image will appear […] and they literally, some people specifically do this as a job.”

Here’s the thing:  In the United States of America, copyright exists at the moment of creation of the work, although said copyright can be strengthened by registration through the U.S. Copyright Office.  That being said, Dan Dasilva lives in New Jersey (more about that in a bit) and the photographer lives in California (according to Dan Dasilva’s video on YouTube) so it can’t be argued that this is a case of people in different countries not understanding the differences that might exist in copyright laws in two countries.  All of this happened in the same country — the United States of America.

You can’t use a photo for any old purpose (especially commercially) just because you found it through Google (or any other engine) search.

For those of you who may be wondering who Dan Dasilva is, he has a website (duplicatedan.com) where in the ABOUT US section, he shares such a sad, sad tale about his life as a teen.  He claims to have been an emancipated teen and, according to his website, he didn’t grow up in the best part of the world.  Here’s the thing about that claim: He was born in New Jersey, and his parents weren’t as poor as he would lead people to believe on his website.


Perhaps he was a runaway; perhaps he was an emancipated teen.  It seems odd that in some of his backstory, he claims his father knew exactly where to catch up with him to talk to him about the difficulties that led to him returning home to his parents’ home to live.  But regardless, that he would trash New Jersey the way he does in the ABOUT US section of his website is odd.  Being from New Jersey isn’t the obstacle he portrays it to be.  In fact, here are the names of a few successful people from New Jersey who had much humbler beginnings than he.

Edwin Eugene ‘Buzz’ Aldrin (astronaut) was the son of a career military man and a housewife.
William James ‘Count’ Basie (musician) was the son of a coachman and a laundress.
William John ‘Bill’ Evans (musician) was the son of a golf course manager and a housewife.
James Gandolfini (actor) was the son of a bricklayer and a high school lunch lady.
Jerry Lewis (comedian) was the son of a vaudeville entertainer and a radio station piano player.
Robert Pastorelli (actor) was the son of an insurance salesman and an artist.

Jason Alexander (actor) is the son of an accounting manager and a nurse.
Jon Bon Jovi (musician/actor) is the son of a barber and a florist.
David Copperfield (illusionist) is the son of a small business owner and an insurance adjuster.
Danny Devito (actor/director) is the son of a small business owner and a housewife.
Randy Edelman (composer) is the son of an accountant and a first-grade teacher.
Donald Fagen (musician) is the son of an accountant and a housewife.
Chelsea Handler (comedienne) is the daughter of a used car dealer and a housewife.
Ed Harris (actor/director) is the son of a bookstore employee and a travel agent.
Lauren Hill (musician/producer) is the daughter of a computer consultant and a teacher.
Nathan Lane (actor/writer) is the son of a truck driver and a housewife.
Artie Lange (comedian) is the son of a television antenna installer and a housewife.
Queen Latifah (singer/producer) is the daughter of a police officer and a teacher.
Ray Liotta (actor) is the son of an auto parts store owner and a township clerk.
George R. R. Martin (author) is the son of a longshoreman and a housewife.
John Joseph ‘Jack’ Nicholson (actor) is the son of a showman and a showgirl.
Joe Pantoliano (actor) is the son of a bookie and a seamstress.
Joe Pesci (actor/comedian) is the son of a forklift driver and a part-time barber.
Philip Roth (author) is the son of an insurance broker and a housewife.
Richie Sambora (musician/producer) is the son of a factory foreman and a secretary.
Norton Schwartz (retired U.S. Air Force General) is the son of a typewriter salesman and a housewife.
Bruce Springsteen (musician) is the son of a part-time bus driver and a secretary.
John Travolta (actor/producer) is the son of a tire salesman and a singer in a radio vocal group.

New Jersey has seriously cool people who have worked hard at what they do.  The list above is a thumbnail of easily recognizable names, but the list is considerably longer than what I have place for on this blog.  Shout-out to all the hard-working people born, raised, and/or living in New Jersey as well as the other states and protectorates of America!

But getting back to the article proper:  For some reason Dan Dasilva thinks that having affluent parents (as opposed to the two-parent middle-class family from which he hails) who lived anywhere but in New Jersey would have made life far easier for him.  He seems to be saying on his website that he would have had a bright future if only his parents had been rich and lived in any of the other 49 states.

That sounds defeatist, don’t you think?

To make a short story a little shorter (but more enlightening), at 19 he moved back home (when his dad called him up and invited him to move back home with his parents) and claims his parents were the ones who changed.  Supposedly that change allowed him to allegedly earned $115,000 in 3 months as an internet marketer, and now he markets his method to upstarts interesting in making untold millions in a short period of time.

So what exactly does Dan Dasilva teach people to do?  His advice on how to get rich from internet marketing is to run with paid traffic and SEO manipulation models, running with drop-shipping charges that rely on consumer gullibility, and how to ride on other people’s coattails to get places.

He runs an online “academy” teaching others how to do likewise at a set monthly rate (in November 2016, that rate was around $250 per month but has since dropped down to slightly less than $50 per month) that, according to savvybloke.com, was far less helpful than any information that could be found free online elsewhere. But he’s managed to get people to give him a million dollars according to the Internet and as most of us know, on the Internet you can be whoever you pretend to be — even a successful millionaire influence marketing guru if that’s what you want to claim as your identity.

He is also a believer in what some consider domain squatting, and he mentors others in the ways you can buy a domain for a few dollars, drive up the value of the domain through SEO manipulation, upsell it to generate monthly income as part of the domain flip, and finally, where you can find domain names for free so you can circumvent that first step of paying a few dollars for the domain. Of course, that’s if you believe jvzoo on SamanthasOutlet.

Now let’s do a little comparison between Dan Dasilva’s alleged income compared to what the average professional photographer in the U.S. earns.  According to copyrightdefense.com, the average professional photographer works 50 or more hours per week, and on average earns $35,000 per year.  Dan Dasilva claims to already be a millionaire.

Contrary to what Dan Dasilva claims in his video, Dan Dasilva is the proverbial Goliath, and the photographer who dared defend his copyrights to his photograph, is David.  It would seem that Dan Dasilva continues to use how social media popularity and social media following to attack and bully the photographer even though his own legal team (according to Dan Dasilva) advised against uploading his video airing his outrage at what the photographer had done.

But I see another money-making scheme going on behind all this.  You see, Dan Dasilva gets paid by YouTube on the number of views his videos garner.  If this latest video of him railing against the photographer (which serves to also deep six that photographer’s reputation) goes viral, he’ll make a mess of money from all those views.  Think of it as a way to generate an easy $37,000 to pay off the photographer while getting even with the photographer for daring to defend the copyright on the photo Dan Dasilva infringed upon.

Would someone like Dan Dasilva do something like that?  I can’t say for sure, but I do know that elsewhere on the internet, people have been posting their experiences with Dan Dasilva.

READ MORE HERE: https://www.reddit.com/r/dropship/comments/5tkkmc/dan_dasilva_scam/

Only you know whether you side with Dan Dasilva or if you side with copyright owners who are oftentimes victimized by large corporations and digital native millionaires who believe the laws of the land don’t necessarily apply to them or their business dealings.

Elyse Bruce

 

ADDITIONAL READING

INTERNET “ENTREPRENEUR” SHOCKED THAT COPYRIGHT OWNER SUED HIM FOR STEALING THEIR WORK
https://www.diyphotography.net/internet-entrepreneur-shocked-copyright-owner-sued-stealing-work/

YES, USING A COPYRIGHTED PHOTO WITHOUT PERMISSION CAN GET YOU SUED
https://petapixel.com/2017/10/19/yes-using-copyright-photo-without-permission-can-get-sued/

YOUTUBE ENTREPRENEUR SUED BY “MALICIOUS” PHOTOGRAPHER FOR STEALING COPYRIGHTED PHOTO
https://www.lightstalking.com/youtuber-entrepreneur-sued-malicious-photographer-stealing-copyrighted-photo/

US CONGRESS DEBATING COPYRIGHT SMALL CLAIMS REFORM BILL: GREAT NEWS FOR INDEPENDENT PHOTOGRAPHERS
https://www.lightstalking.com/us-congress-debating-copyright-small-claims-reform-bill-great-news-independent-photographers/

 

 

%d bloggers like this: