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/

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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

The Trouble With Assuming Political Incorrectness

The Toronto District School Board is replacing the word chief with manager because they believe they are being politically correct in doing so. Here’s the kicker: No indigenous person or group asked the Toronto District School Board to make these changes. That’s all on the Toronto District School Board.

SIDE NOTE:  The term ‘chief’ as it pertains to Indigenous peoples in North America is a colonial construct.  You can read more about that HERE.

But let’s take a look at how things are devolving these days. If the word chief is thought of by some to be politically incorrect in a school setting, what’s going to happen elsewhere in society?

How will this impact on businesses? Are the terms CEO (Chief Executive Officer) and CFO (Chief Financial Officer) doomed to be phased out? Someone who is a CEO or a CFO is more than just a manager (to go with the replacement the Toronto District School Board has settled on using).

According to the dictionary, a chief is a leader or ruler of a people or a clan or an organized body of people. The chief is the highest in authority.

It doesn’t sound right to have a Lead Executive Officer or Lead Financial Officer as it diminishes the responsibilities such positions carry. It doesn’t sound right to have an Executive Ruler or a Financial Ruler as it bring too much power to these positions.

Chief also means most important and highest in power or position, but you certainly can’t call someone Most Important Executive Officer or Most Important Financial Officer. What about all the others at countless businesses and organizations around the globe? Who determines which is most important?

And Highest Executive Officer or Highest Financial Officer just leads so many to think inappropriate thoughts about what these officers do while at work as well as in their off time. After all, would you want to deal with the Highest Executive Officer or Highest Financial Officer, and if you did, wouldn’t some small part of you wonder if you should prepare for an unexpected police raid?

I’m loathe to considering celebrity to replace chief even though some are celebrities (or act like they are). And I’m loathe to consider superstar even though it’s a fact there are some serious superstars in those business roles.

I’m not crazy with using daredevil, demigod, or diva for obvious reasons. Replacing chief with ace just sounds silly, don’t you agree?

I don’t believe executive would work well as in Executive Executive Director. And we can probably strike big cheese, big gun, big wheel, big enchilada, head honcho, top dog, and great kahuna from the list as well.

Somehow taskmaster and task mistress leave the wrong impression (one best left in the hands of authors of erotica stories and the likes) as does dominator or dominatrix.

Once we start down this slippery slope, things can only get worse. Imagine having to find another way of describing an economy’s chief exports. You can’t just substitute a synonym for chief and run with it without sounding pretentious.

And that’s the chief — er, main — problem with being overly politically correct these days. Perfectly good terms are being replaced because one word, taken out of context, might offend or possibly offend or allegedly offend (because sometimes those who claim to be offended are just looking to stir the pot) someone somewhere.

I don’t know where the Toronto District School Board got the idea it had to replace the word chief with the word manager but it did, and now this has opened up a can of worms the likes of which  haven’t been seen since the news last Spring reporting on culinary historian Michael W. Twitty’s allegation that barbeque was an appropriation of African-American and Native culture.  Michael, the first time a caveman or cavewoman decided to cook food over an open flame  is the first instance of barbeque existing, so pretty much anyone who figured out how to do that back then can lay claim to that discovery without tagging any culture in particular as being the originator of this style of cuisine.

SIDE NOTE:  Mr. Twitty also claimed that there’s such a thing as cultural culinary injustice, and that has to do with someone building a successful business on what they cook.  I don’t see that as cultural culinary injustice.  I see that as the entrepreneurial spirit rising to the occasion, and paying off for the hardworking entrepreneur.  But I digress.

Back in 1886, Rudyard Kipling wrote and published his poem “The Betrothed.” One line among the many stands out for its aptness to this situation: A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.

Sometimes a word is just a word, no more and no less.  And sometimes people see more in a word than what was there in the first place.  I guess you could say that’s the chief point of this essay.

Elyse Bruce

 

Hoop Appropriation

Pitzer College in California was the recent victim of cultural appropriation shaming.  A group of Latino students was responsible for graffiti painted on the wall of a campus dormitory that made it clear how they felt about what they felt was cultural appropriation.


The Latino students believe that hoop earrings are part of their heritage and as such, white students should not be wearing hoop earrings.  Ever.

I guess no one told these outraged students that hoops have been around for hundreds of years.  Even William Shakespeare wrote of hoops of steel in Act 1, Scene 3 of “Hamlet.”  I suppose the argument could be made that Shakespeare heard about hoops of steel from explorers to the New World upon their return to England if someone cares to make that argument.

Except that even with excluding Shakespeare from the discussion, there are going to be problems justifying how hoops – and most specifically hoop earrings – are the sole property of the Latino culture.

Hoop earrings are found in ancient Rome and ancient Greece.   The earliest archaeological evidence that exists when it comes to hoop earrings date back to Sumeria and 2500 B.C.

It’s doubtful that Sumerians traveled to this continent, saw hoop earrings on women over here, then journeyed back to Sumeria just so they could appropriate culture in the name of being fashionable.

NOTE 1:  According to archaeologists, Sumeria is the name given the historical region of southern Mesopotamia which is now modern-day southern Iraq.

NOTE 2:  Sumerians also were among the first to brew beer so technically speaking, brewers in Europe and North America might be guilty of cultural appropriation as well.

Native American Indians also had a sport with varying rules that incorporated a hoop.  A hoop three inches to a foot in diameter was rolled along the ground and players tried to knock it over with spears or arrows.  Points were scored by how the hoop fell when it was struck down.

And in many cultures, circles – or hoops – have been a part of their identity outside of the concept of jewelry.   You see, the sacred hoop (sometimes referred to as the circle of life) is something that many cultures have at the center of their teachings.

But more importantly, the world is one great big hoop.  So are the other planets.  These planets travel in hoops be they round or oval or elliptical.  The wind whirls about in hoop shapes.  Water drains in hoop shapes.  The seasons form a hoop as they move from one to the other and return to the beginning of the cycle — a never-ending hoop the cycles endlessly through the years.

In the end, hoops belong to us all whether it’s a matter of spirituality or a matter of fashion, don’t you think?

Elyse Bruce

 

SOURCES:

COLLEGE SAYS IT RECEIVED THREATS AFTER EARRINGS DISPUTE
http://www.kctv5.com/story/34789674/college-says-it-has-received-threats-after-earrings-dispute

EARRINGS
http://fashion-history.lovetoknow.com/fashion-accessories/earrings

NINE THINGS YOU MAY  NOT KNOW ABOUT THE ANCIENT SUMERIANS
http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/9-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-ancient-sumerians

TREND IN FASHION: A HISTORY OF THE HOOP EARRING
http://www.finishtheoutfit.com/blog/hoop_earring/

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