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000 - Introduction
001 - Death at Albion Prison
002 - Punished to Death
003 - Social Security/Welfare
004 - Facebook Condemns Practice
005 - Idiocy of Jesse L. Peterso
006 - Many Faces of Feminism
007 - Equal Rights & Selecti
008 - Pitbulls - Defending My Po
Thursday, 21 June 2012
Pit Bulls - Defending my Position and the Breed
Topic: 008 - Pitbulls - Defending My Po

Freedom of speech, it is one Americas’ most cherished constitutional rights.  Regardless of the issue or the position taken, each and every one of us has the right to voice our opinion in support or opposition.  There are unfortunately many issues are so emotionally charged that it can be easy to allow ourselves to become obsessed to the point that we cannot see the blinders that prohibit reasonable discussion, therefore reaching a workable solution.

One such issue is the proposed Breed Specific Legislation, in particular the banning of Pit Bulls, a highly volatile issue between advocates and opponents of such legislation.  A member of the Ohio Valley Dog Owner’s Association and a Pit Bull owner, I am personally in opposition to such legislation.  I cannot and do not speak for every individual in opposition to this proposed legislation, however I do exercise my own freedom of speech in staunch opposition to the broad and unrealistic scope of such legislation.  While it would be ideal, this commentary is not so much intended to create converts from supporters of Breed Specific Legislation as it is simply a statement as to why I am now and will forever oppose such drastic measures regarding this issue.

I have been associated with the Pit Bull breed since 1978 and have owned a total of five Pit Bulls and Pit Bull Mix breed dogs.  Having been raised around large breed dogs since early childhood, I have developed a preference for them.  My mother raised Boxers before I was even born and continued to do so long after my younger sisters were born.  I believe that my preference for larger breed dogs can be linked to many happy memories of romping through the back yard, chasing, being chased and wrestling with the family dog which was always a Boxer.  I have no memory of injuries beyond skinned knees and the normal bumps and bruises associated with the rough and tumble style of play that I enjoyed with my four-legged best friends.

Although recommended by various agencies, it is unfortunate that so many people who decide that they want to bring a dog home will make that decision based on an uninformed perception of the breed.  All too often dogs are selected based on their appearance and size.  This applies to all situations, whether the person or family is looking for a protector or a companion.  There are a great many things to consider before bringing a pet of any kind into your home.  These things include but are not limited to geographical location, number and age [if any] children in the home, the overall social life of the person or family, are there any specific health issues within the family, and even the family income should be considered.  These are unfortunately some of the most common factors that are not considered until after they have acquired the pet.

My first Pit Bull was obtained from a local animal shelter where she had been brought by her former owner because she just didn’t fit in with their lifestyle.  Her name was Maxine, a dark brindle colored Pit Bull that literally stole my heart with that big smile, cocked head and bright sparkling eyes.  I filled out the paperwork and waited impatiently for the day I could take her home.  In Alaska at the time there was a 30 day waiting period between application and possession, followed by a 60 day probationary period where agents from the shelter would make impromptu visits to assess the progress.  I didn’t mind any of it except the waiting period, which I consoled myself with by daily visits to the shelter to visit with her in the ‘Doggie Visiting Arena’.  The arena was a large fenced in area where potential owners could interact with the dog of their choice on a one to one basis.

Maxine fit so well with my lifestyle that approximately a year later when I discovered that there was another dark brindle Pit Bull that had been brought to the same shelter, I wanted him.  I was immediately interested as I wanted a playmate for Maxine.  Interestingly enough, part of the application paperwork involved signing a Neutering Agreement which I shrugged off and signed because I wasn’t looking to breed them.  There was also the additional cost, meant for two reasons to help cover the costs of the procedure as well as the ideology that when people actually pay for something there is a higher probability that they are sincere in their desire to take care of it.  Because I had already adopted a Pit Bull from that shelter the waiting and probationary periods were waived.  I only had to wait for him to recover from the surgery and get the okay from the veterinarian to take him home.  I named him Mikie who was also the only Pit Bull I ever had any difficulty with and that was only later when he became overly protective of me and did not like it when people touched me or got too close to me.

In the back of my mind I have always been aware of the stigma attached to these dogs, but I had as of that time never personally experienced or witnessed anything that would justify it.  Although I respected the majority of their points, I could not embrace a philosophy that called for the complete extermination of an entire breed based on what I viewed as irresponsible pet ownership.  This is the key factor that usually irrupts into inflammatory accusations from those who have condemned the breed, which usually accuse me of ignoring the fact that they are a dangerous and vicious breed of animal.  This is not the case, my position is simply that I support the concept of ‘Punish the Deed, Not the Breed’ and advocate holding the owner responsible for the actions of their dog.

It wasn’t until 1984 that I began actively speaking out in opposition to those who would destroy this breed.  The incident that triggered my activism was the blatant and senseless murder of my beloved Maxine.  Part of my daily routine when weather permitted was to take walks with both of my dogs.  I walked each one for a total of a two mile trek, it was a great way to spend quality time with each one individually.  One day in June of 1984 as I was crossing the road with Maxine a vehicle that had been parked suddenly sped forward directly at us.  Within what seemed to be a matter of seconds I heard Maxine scream as the braided leash was literally ripped from my wrist.  My wrist was broken and Maxine lay dead some twenty feet away from me.

That moment, for the first time in my life I knew what it meant to actually hate another human being with every fiber of my being.  Thus was launched my own personal crusade to defend these dogs, this breed from such blind hatred.  Blinded by their own desire to destroy what they perceived to be a dangerous animal, this individual was willing to run the risk of killing a human being.  I believe that single incident also galvanized my choice of breed for a pet and have owned Pit Bulls ever since, stubborn I may be but stupid I am not.  This was also when I began doing as much volunteer work at the shelter as time would allow.  I made a number of friends who also owned Pit Bulls which was beneficial when I came down on levy to be shipped out to Texas as part of a ‘beefing up’ maneuver for medical units that were slated to ship out to the Persian Gulf.  It was a tearful and painful goodbye, but I knew in my heart that leaving Mikie with a couple that already had one Pit Bull was in his best interest because I knew that I would not be returning to the state of Alaska.

In 1991, when I returned from the Gulf, I was ready psychologically for another pet, another Pit Bull.  However, now disabled I had to take into consideration the fact that I might not be able to own another Pit Bull.  I had always enjoyed the rough and tumble play in my back yard with Maxine and Mikie and our long walks together.  Pit Bulls are very attention demanding, at least those two were for me.  I talked this over with my physical therapist and discovered that there were a number of Pit Bulls that were available for those of us that needed therapy dogs, I was elated!  Within a few weeks I was introduced to Maggie, my third Pit Bull and we clicked right away.  Although she was 8 years old and very much an adult dog, she was very sociable and quite playful.  I solved the walking problem by purchasing two treadmills, one for me and one for her.  This way when the pain got to be too much or I got tired out, she could keep walking while I just stood there.

Maggie was a gift from heaven, she saved me in so many ways.  Unless you’ve been there, I do not know how to explain it.  I was still silently suffering the death of Maxine and the painful separation from Mikie even as I denied it.  I had thrown myself into my job and refused to think about anything but that task at hand at that moment, that day, that whatever.  I did not even look to the future for anything, I was in a strange God forsaken place where nothing made sense anymore anyway.  I was terribly lonely and I didn’t even know it.  Maggie gave me the inspiration to get on that treadmill every day, she gave me the courage to be who I am not who I was turning into.  Unfortunately Maggie passed away quietly in her sleep on April 24, 1995, she was 14 years old.  Their average life span is 10 -15 years.

Based entirely on my own experiences with both Pit Bulls and those who are against them, I believe that if I were any less of a logical or reasonable individual it would be so very easy for me to strike out in anger at every individual that even implies that they support the banning and destruction of this breed of dog.  There are numerous times when it is very difficult to win over this urge to chime in so to speak and spew much anger, therefore I either ignore certain comments or I reluctantly play the silly word games with most of these supporters.

There are those that will use my hypothetically presented situations and make reference that I sated it as fact when the reality is that the original comment is so clearly meant to be a satirical statement that is completely nonfactual.  I totally understand that individual viewpoints on things is going to be heavily influenced by personal experience, yet there are those who have admitted that they have never owned or even been around a Pit Bull yet will state in such a matter of fact manner that all Pit Bulls will at one point or another cause bodily harm to myself or someone else because it is in their nature.  To which I can only rely that it is an interesting concept considering that I have owned five Pit Bulls and have suffered no such harm nor has anyone around me.  I am in no way stating that Pit Bulls do not attack and that they do not cause serious harm and or even death.  To make such a statement would be ludicrous and yes would indicate that I am blind to the reality of their physical capability.

I have found that once the ‘conversation’ can move beyond the fact that I accept the fact that Pit Bulls can and do attack, maim, and even kill people, the foundation of their argument moves toward the fact that they have a natural propensity to attack and that it happens at rates that are astonishingly higher than other breeds of dog and that they cause more damage than other dogs when they do bite with the accent being on the amount of damage that is done with the bite.

Regrettably these ‘conversations’ always arise in light of a tragic event where, more often than not a child has been seriously injured or killed by a Pit Bull [or other large breed that nobody really talks about].  Personally it is extremely difficult at best to participate in some of these conversations turned debates, primarily because emotions are naturally at a higher level than under normal circumstances.  Attempting to defend a breed suddenly means that you are blaming the victim of this tragic event, which could not be further from the truth.  It is out of respect for the victim and the victims’ family that is the root of my personal struggle with terminology and even sentence structure when commenting in light of the event.

Unfortunately individuals on both sides of this issue are guilty of blatantly exploiting these tragic events for the purpose of furthering our own goals on the subject.  Sifting through the myriad of comments that can be found concerning any one of these articles, I feel a renewed amazement at the narrow mindedness that prevails on both sides of the issue.  Although I do believe that the greater majority of that narrow mindedness is displayed on the side if those who prefer Breed Specific Legislation.  There are literally hundreds of comments clearly meant to instigate an argument and so very reminiscent of characters on the Jerry Springer or Steve Wilkos television shows.

This situation is in my opinion doubly tragic because this was the family pet that caused the death of this innocent child.  There is no question as to the results or the fact the dogs actions are the cause of that death.  When people such as myself make the statement that it is a situation that could have been avoided had the owner acted in a more responsible manner, we are instantly attacked with claims that we are blaming the victim and unfortunately in cases such as this that is in essence true.  Any situation where injury or death occurs due to the actions of the family dog there will be both victims’ and responsible parties.

Admittedly a very different scenario yet very similar in aftermath, however if a family leaves their house one day to go on a trip, they pile into a revved up muscle car and there is an accident that results in everyone being seriously injured and even the death of some of the occupants of the vehicle.  The investigation concludes that the driver of that vehicle was the cause of that accident due to excessive speeds that resulted in a loss of control of the vehicle.  This is also a situation where they are all victims yet there is also a responsible party, the driver.  So, now do we say that we cannot blame the driver for their recklessness because they are also a victim?  Do we start a campaign to ban the sale of all muscle cars?  Do we stand back as whisper to ourselves that it is such a tragic event, now the driver must live with themselves because they did not act responsibly behind the wheel of the car?

Absolutely not on all counts.  Just as in the tragic situation where the family pet is responsible for the injury or death of another family member, the entire family is a victim yet there is also a responsible party.  In the case of the dog attack, that responsibility is squarely placed on the shoulders of the one that is identified as the owner of the dog.  Just as the responsibility for the injuries and deaths that resulted in the reckless driving of the muscle car is placed squarely on the one that is identified as the driver of the vehicle.

Let’s talk about another very volatile scenario that plays itself out continuously across this country.  Debt and the economic downturn have left many teenagers in charge of their younger siblings after school hours as both parents are now working.  While parents believe that they have taken every precaution possible to safeguard their children regarding the fact that there are firearms in the home, they cannot predict the effects of peer pressure even from the friends of their child whom they [the parents] have even come to look upon as a ‘good kid.’  Perhaps that child is raised in a home where guns are prohibited.  They are well aware of the fact that there is one [or more] located at their friends [your] house.  Curiosity gets the better of them one day as they are sitting there in the family room playing video games as is the norm while waiting for one of the parents to arrive home.

Reluctantly but innocently, your child gives in to the pleadings of their friend that all they want to do is look at it.  So, your child goes upstairs and into your bedroom, high up in the top of the closet, closed up in a gun case is the handgun that is supposed to be off limits.  They bring it downstairs to show it to their friend while a younger sibling takes over the television and is now sitting there watching cartoons.  Suddenly, without warning the weapon discharges and the innocent child consumed by the antics of their favorite cartoon is now sprawled on the floor while blood pools beneath them.  What happens now?  There are victim’s everywhere, some of them are not yet aware of it as they have not arrived home.  Who is to blame?  Do we run out and start a campaign to ban all firearms from private citizens because one irresponsible parent did not take enough or the proper precautions?  Should all households that do not have children be subjected to laws created based entirely on this irresponsibility?

Therein is the root of my personal advocacy against Breed Specific Legislation.  Every situation is unique just as every person and every dog is different and unique.  The foundation of what I am personally fighting for is my right to not be controlled by the irresponsible and yes reprehensible actions of others.  I’ve been down this road before in numerous situations where I was judged by the actions of others, specifically when I was called a whore and a lesbian when I joined the Army because according to the general consensus of my male counterparts in that good [straight] girls don’t join the military.

I currently live in my mother’s house in Ohio and I now have two more canine companions.  Although they are both Pit Bull mix I still handle them the same way I have always handled all my dogs, the Pit Bulls and the Boxers I had early in those first days out on my own.  Buckingham “Buck” for short is a 6 year old brown and black Pit Bull, Rottweiler, German Shepherd and Jack Russell mix that weighs in at 120 pounds.  Kohl, or sometimes called ‘Baby Girl’ is approximately 3 years old, black with a splash of white on her chest Pit Bull and Lab mix that weighs in at 45 pounds.  I’ve had Buck since he was 5 weeks old and rescued Kohl at the Cleveland Veteran’s Hospital just over 2 years ago.

I don’t know about other states, but here in Ohio all dogs have to be registered at the County Clerk’s Office.  It is only because I am aware of the fact that both dogs are of Pit Bull mix that I take extra precautions with them.  The question has been posed to me that why would I want to own a dog that required so much control.  The extra precautions taken are neither needed for control or for the protection of other people from my dogs but rather to protect my dogs from other people.  While they are only mixed breeds, the physical traits of their Pit Bull heritage are clearly visible and I am well aware of the fact that this is the part of them that most people see when they look at them.  Regardless of what breed of dog I have ever owned be it a Boxer, Pit Bull or my current mixed breed companions, I have always been a staunch advocate for responsible pet ownership and will always be.

The eradication of this breed of dog is not the answer now and it will never be the answer.  If there is to be new legislation introduced regarding dogs, be it one that established and allows the enforcement of stiffer fines and harsher punishments for those who neglect and abuse their responsibility as a pet owner.  This breed is not the ticking time bomb that it has erroneously been labeled, like children they seek only to please and ask for nothing in return but love and companionship.  I have often been told that because of what their ancestors were bred for, it is only a matter of time and my luck will run out and I will suffer an attack from one of my dogs because of the fact that they are Pit Bulls or even Pit Bull mix.

This is an idea that I find so completely preposterous simply because it would imply that these dogs alone operate through some collective memory of how their ancestors lived.  If that be the case, then every single dog out there should be living through the collective memories of their wolf ancestors because that is where every dog known today has its origins.

While it seems that those individuals who support Breed Specific Legislation, more specifically those who are just simply against Pit Bulls seem to believe that everyone of us who own them do so because we are looking for this misguided notion of needing a powerful, vicious dog.  This could not be further from the truth for the majority of those who own them.  I do not, nor do I know anyone either personally or as an acquaintance that is even interested in fighting them.  This is not to say that those sorts of people are not out there, that is an unfortunate fact that so completely overshadows the thousands of Pit Bulls who have never committed an attack of any kind on a human being, all of those awesome service dogs that are out there working as Therapy Dogs, Police, Drugs & Bomb Squad Dogs, and Search & Rescue Dogs and so much more.  Very few of them want to hear about them as that would destroy their negative image of the breed.

The culmination of so much of what I have experienced regarding this particular breed of dog and those that seek to destroy it have resulted in a new career choice for me.  While I can no longer be as physically active as I once was, I am still a whole person thanks to the memory of my beloved Maggie.  I no longer have the restrictions of the requirement to get up and go to work every day, my job has now become the voice for this breed, she never gave up on me and I’m not going to give up her.  I do what I do for the love of her, for Maxine, and for every other Pit Bull that deserves so much more.

I am going to close this commentary now, yet I do not silence my voice.  There is still so much work to be done and I still have a bit of time before I graduate with my degree in Criminal Justice.  I have chosen to be the voice of those who have none and therefore, quoting a poetic excerpt from the movie ‘Independence Day’… “No, I will not go quietly into the night.”

Posted by vjbuchanan at 5:00 PM EDT
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Equal Rights & Selective Service
Topic: 007 - Equal Rights & Selecti

Interestingly but not surprisingly the Reverend Jesse Peterson’s arcane attitude toward women has triggered numerous side ‘discussions’ on a variety of topics relating the issue of women and how they are generally viewed by some members of the population.

Every post here on this blog is an extension of a post that has been placed on the boards within the Huffington Post.  Ordinarily I would simply post the first 240 characters of my response to a particular comment on the board and provide a link to the rest of it here on this blog.  However, in this case I have decided to maintain a chronological order with the original post first.  The following is a commentary of my conversation with another individual using the pseudo name of Iklex

Comment posted by Iklex:

“Of course women should have the right to vote. But they should also have equal responsibility under law. The greatest deal in the American experience was not the acquisition of Manhattan for $24 worth of trinkets, but female Americans getting the right to vote and enjoying all rights and privileges of citizenship without being subject to the most onerous burdens of citizenship. That gender-based special treatment is also one of the most glaring flaws of American democracy. Still today, in 2012, only male Americans are compelled under threat of five years imprisonment and the loss of federal funding for college tuition, to register their bodies for a possible military draft. Equal rights under law without equal responsibility under law is unfair, unjust...and unequal.”

My response:

“Although it is not on the immediate horizon, that day is inevitable. However, the primary point that you are clearly missing is that it is the general population, not the fact that women do not want to serve that has historically made it clear that they do not want to see women drafted into the military.

When I entered the U.S. Army in 1977 there were very few occupational specialties that were actually available to women. This was essentially due to the additional consideration of the very limited availability of the unit of assignment. This was strictly due to the very distinct possibility that their unit could possibly be deployed to a combat zone.

Retired Female U.S. Army Veteran and Proud of it! By the way, I also vote!”

Iklex responded:

“Although I disagree with your factual premise, as long as the general population in fact continues to feel as you have indicated they feel (and, by the way, for decades, women have constituted a majority of the electorate), we will have a sexist society that deems male lives more expendable than female lives.”

My response:

“Respectfully speaking, I did not state as fact that the draft would include women. The statement was a mere personal observation based on my personal experience when it comes to the viewpoint of a lot of service men, women and veteran's. I would agree that we have a sexist society, however my references for that determination are oceans apart from yours. There are still parts of the various military components in which women are not allowed to serve. Until such time as that can be fully addressed, the draft will not include women. Just a little FYI, the number of women constituting the majority of the electorate has little to no bearing on this issue because both men and women are against the idea as much as there are both men and women that are for it. Have a nice day!”

Iklex responded:

“Clearly, in any society that truly subscribes to the notion of equality of rights, women should be allowed to serve -- and be REQUIRED to serve -- in the military on the same basis as men. If you do not believe women are up to the task of front-line combat or if you believe that women's lives are too precious to be lost in combat, that is your own sexist view. Upon what polling or other data do you base your contention that the same number of men and women who believe that women should not be exempt from the draft or combat hold the opposite view? The fact that a preponderant majority of states ratified the Equal Rights Amendment approved by Congress in 1972 emphatically refutes your contention.”

My response:

“Where in any of my comments did I state that it was MY personal belief that women should not be allowed to serve their country?  None.  I served for 13 years until I was injured and was forced to take a medical discharge.  Six of those years were served in Alaska near Little Diomede watching Russians watching us.  I do not have sexist views as I personally do not feel that even men should be forced or required to serve, I believe in the all-volunteer Army.  Especially after having to serve beside criminals who were put in the military because some fool hearted judge thought it would do them good.  If anyone is sexist in this little conversation I do believe it is you as you are obsessed with the fact that women are exempt from the draft.  If it bothers you that badly, then help out and do something about it, write your Congressman, your Senator or even the President.  I don't care, I served, I did my part.  I am not the only female who feels this way.”

Iklex responded:

“You write: "I personally do not feel that even men should be forced or required to serve... " "EVEN MEN" -- as though men are somehow less human than women or their lives are less precious and more expendable. Your own language reveals your sexism. Unlike millions of male Americans who were forced to serve in the military (hundreds of thousands of them losing their lives, and even more suffering grievous injuries, as a result), you CHOSE to serve. You, and all female Americans, have had a free ride, with your freedom bought and paid for with the flesh and blood of male Americans. I have written to members of Congress, as well as the White House, about the gross inequity of male-only Selective Service registration and of any male-only military conscription. It is very difficult, however, to effect the institutional change necessary to redress those wrongs when more than half of the electorate has a vested personal interest in maintaining the status quo and in continuing to reap the benefits of a free ride.”

My response:

“My my, you are truly grasping at straws now.  Taking only that part of my comment that suited your purposes.  The entire comment stated “I do not have sexist views as I personally do not feel that even men should be forced or required to serve, I believe in the all-volunteer Army.”  Please note the term ‘all-volunteer’ which is the way I feel it should be for all of the armed forces, not just the Army.

While the term ‘even’ was used in the same manner as the words ‘to include’ you can view it in any manner you wish, it matters not to me.  It is obvious to me that you have chosen to believe that no matter what women do themselves, there will never be payment for [your perceived] debt that was forced upon them by the arcane philosophies of those males [yes males because they were the ones in charge] who have deemed themselves superior to women.

You are so blinded by your own crusade that you can’t even see when someone is basically agreeing with you.”

Iklex responded:

“As I have made clear -- and you have repeatedly ignored -- women have constituted a majority of the electorate for years. We live in a representative democracy. Would you contend that if the institution of slavery were still extant in America, the electorate should not share the blame for perpetuating it? My "crusade" is about fairness and gender equity. I suggest you read Scott Dunn's article, appearing in the Army Lawyer (April 2009), about why women -- who enjoy all the rights and privileges of citizenship as their male counterparts -- should be subject to compulsory military service on the same basis as men. In the meantime, unless you have since acquired a Selective Service registration number, continue enjoying your free ride.”

My response:

I would be more than happy to review whatever source you have for your information [Scott Dunn], providing a substantiating link would most defiantly help.

Yes, you have ‘stated’ but have not ‘made clear’ the point that women constitute the majority of the electorate.  There is a big difference between simply commenting on something as a fact and making something clear by providing facts.  The fact that there are more women in the United States than there are men, does not equate to more women votes, complicated by the fact that your theory would imply that every single woman of voting age actually votes.  This applies to men as well.

Your statistical approach would be more applicable and carry more weight if you provided resources and numbers.   According to the [widely relied upon] Gallup Polls, there is only approximately 55% to 60% of the voting population actually votes.  Which may or may not account for the fact that the Equal Rights Amendment of 1972 was rejected because it was only ratified in 30 of the required 38 states.   

Source:  Registered Voters vs. Likely Voters – Understanding the Difference [published 2008]

If, as you say that we live in a representative democracy, then with the majority of women constituting the majority of the electorate – don’t you think that there should be a higher percentage of women in in government positions?  The United States is currently ranked at 90th position when it comes to women in political positions of all levels.  It is the government that creates, adopts and enacts the laws of the land not the citizenry, because if it doesn’t get passed Congress or the Senate, it doesn’t go anywhere and that includes the states for possible ratification.  That process includes all laws applicable to the Selective Service Program.

Regarding your reference to the ‘institution of slavery’ and the [supposed] shared blame of the electorate and… [who else you don’t name, because it was not the government].  No, I do not willingly shoulder any responsibility for that issue any more than I personally accept any responsibility for the fact that ‘John [or Jane] Doe’ goes out and robs or murders someone.  Besides, if one wants to get technical, not that 100% of the South supported it but I am Northern born and bred and would have been part of the Underground Railroad bringing as many slaves out to freedom as I could.

Statistical Source:  Women’s Campaign Form Foundation – Facts About Women In Politics

I stand by my position that all American citizens should be given the opportunity to voluntarily serve their country.  I do not support the Selective Service Program as it is currently written.  Additionally, I will not endorse [vote] the conscription [drafting] of women until ALL barriers have been removed.  I feel that if an individual is to be ordered or forced to serve then they should be permitted to serve in whatever capacity they so choose.  My opinion is based entirely on the fact that I have served side by side with both men and women, I am well aware of the truth of the matter.  I’ve known a few men that did not display a comfortable level of ability or courage to do the job expected of them.  Then likewise I have known a few women on whom I would place my bet in a confrontation with a male counterpart.

I realize that I am probably treading on dangerous waters here so to speak in that for once I’m going to assume that you are a male of the age required to register for the Selective Service or at least the parent of one.  Normally in a situation such as this I would have simply stated “Get over yourself” but it does not apply in this case, rather I feel pity for you.

My closing thoughts on this subject are simple, I do not need your approval or your acceptance to know that volunteer or not, I did my patriotic duty.  I know that I do count, regardless of your opinion.  You can live your life as angrily as you chose and it does not affect me.  I am very proud to say that yes I did CHOOSE to serve my country and did not have to be asked or told to do so.  If there is anyone with which to take issue with it is those who either fled [Dodged] their responsibility or used their wealth and academic status to defer [repeatedly] their responsibility while the middle and lower classes had no such luxury.  The fact of the matter is that at the end of the day I know who I am, I know what my accomplishments are, do you?

Female Soldier’s Fight and Die For Their Country


Original Huffington Post Article on Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson


Posted by vjbuchanan at 4:58 PM EDT
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The Many Faces of Feminism
Topic: 006 - Many Faces of Feminism

The core issue of feminism is not about the equality between men and women being able to stand toe to toe with each other in every aspect of life.  That would be complete idiocy and any rational minded individual would attest to that fact.  Every society is continually evolving therefore so are the issues that face them, thus also the manner in which humans approach these changes.

All too often the ideologies of Feminism and Women’s Liberation are confused and therefore viewed as ‘the same thing’ which they are very different from each other.  I would say that I am a Feminist, but I do not subscribe to the philosophy of the Women’s Liberation Movement.

It would seem that the Reverend Peterson’s comments regarding the issue of women’s voting rights have triggered ‘discussions’ on various additional and very controversial issues.  This particular blog entry is primarily dedicated to a thread of discussions that involve the issue of Feminism, a subject that is probably one of the most misunderstood philosophies.

All too often when the subject of feminism comes up, there are those who seem to grasp onto the more famous images of the earlier days of the Women’s Liberation Movement.  Born out of the postindustrial revolution period, women came together from varied backgrounds, cultures and ages to speak out sometimes angrily that they were being discriminated against in the work force.  Many of these women had volunteered to ‘do their patriotic duty’ as industry revved up production of military supplies and equipment, only to be cast aside when the men returned home from the war.

Unfortunately while there were many stories brought to light regarding the number of our soldiers who were coming home with physical disabilities that now prevented them from also returning to their former position as the ‘bread winner’ for their households, the stories rarely brought to light are the ones about the number of women who now found themselves forced permanently into the work force.  Both my Great Grandmother and Grandmother found themselves in this position when their husbands, my Grandfathers returned from World Wars I and II, respectively.   There were other women within the ranks of my family whose husbands did not return.  All of these women, like many others across the nation did what they had to do to provide for their families.  They had the courage to stand up and go out there every day and not only fight for the right to keep their jobs but to fight for the same pay that was being given to the men that stood on the lines beside them.  The greater majority of my family worked in one of three trades, the coal mines, pottery or truck driving.

Born during the last wave of the ‘Baby Boomers’ I did not personally experience these events yet as the eldest child in a close knit family and community, I watched it play out time and again within my family as well as for those within our community.  Even before I entered high school I had attended numerous funerals for male relatives who had elected to work the coal mines for the better wages, but paying for it with their lives by suffering the devastating affliction of ‘Black Lung’ a disease known now as mesothelioma.  This disease is not exclusive to the coal mines, unless you’re worked there it is difficult to associate the same affects with the pottery industry to which I also lost a number of female relatives to this disease.

Most of my early childhood was darkened by the constant eruption of physical violence as I watched my father brutalize my mother until I was seven.  Naturally, once she decided that this was not the way life was supposed to be, she packed up me and my two sisters and left, moving back in with her mother.  By the time I reached the age of eight, she had managed to find herself a decent job and had saved up enough money to move out.  We moved into a small apartment above a grocery store and my aunts, there were four of them, and they would take turns being at the house during the hours my mother worked.

In 1967 when my mother’s childhood sweetheart returned from Vietnam they met up again and were married.  He brought with him a toddler son and then in the summer of the following year I was gifted with another little sister.  Life was enormously better, my stepfather was a truck driver who managed to stay employed because he was willing to drive further distances than the others within the company he worked.  Unfortunately that meant that he was not home very much.  Another lesson I learned before even entering high school was what was truly meant by the old saying ‘keep the home fires burning’ because it was up to us as a family to do just that.

Growing up in the foothills of the Great Appalachia Mountains, we heated with coal.  I learned how to shovel it, how to build a fire with it and then in the evening how to prepare it so it would last all night.  I learned how to mow the lawn, how to change a flat tire, how to check and manage the fluid levels in a car, how to fix a broke faucet, how to cook, clean, do laundry and to sew.  All while learning how to help my mother with two very small children.  My brother learned all of these things as he grew up.  My parents held the philosophy that life wasn’t going to spoil us so we best be prepared for it.  They made sure we had everything we need and a lot of things we didn’t, but we also had to earn a lot of it as well.

So what is my point with this [brief] trip down memory lane?  Quite simple, my childhood taught me that being female did not limit my abilities any more than it limited my responsibilities.  The greater majority of those born during the same time era and [in my opinion] raised or lived the majority of their lives in either small towns or rural communities have a very different idea of what is expected of them.  Furthermore, the women [such as myself] were not taught that the world stopped turning because there was no man around to do the things that needed to be done.  You just knuckled down and did it, or it would not have gotten done.

In the early 70’s my stepfather had a serious accident that resulted in his being hospitalized for nearly two years.  Coming down on of the state routes that weaved its’ way through the Appalachia Mountains during the early part of the winter season, my stepfather hit a pack of black ice and lost control of his tractor trailer rig.  He plummeted down a steep embankment, taking out 20 foot of guard rail and basically decapitating 14 trees before his rig came to rest at the bottom of a ravine.  Although the circumstances were different for her than they were for my Grandmothers, my mother stepped up to the plate and went back to work to support the family during his fiver year recovery.

Upon my graduation from high school I decided to join the Army.  I served in Germany, Italy, Belgium, France, Texas and Alaska, for a total of 14 years.  This was the only way that I could realize my own dreams while assisting my parents because working minimum wage summer jobs just wasn’t getting me anywhere.  I had told my stepfather one day when I was about 14 or 15 that I didn’t have a problem growing up and marrying a local farm boy, but I just wanted the opportunity to see the world first.

I lived my dream until an incident forced me to accept a medical discharge.  It took a while for me to get past the anger but I refused to give up or to give in.  I came home and got a job and a few years after that I found a husband.  We were married just short of 17 years before he passed away in September of 2010 of a heart attack at the young age of 57.

I now basically live alone and I’m not complaining.  I have a male friend in my life because as humans we do need the socialization and the companionship of the opposite sex.  He and I associate for a few hours each day and I see him every other weekend.  I do not depend on him or anyone else, male or female to take care of myself, my house or my property.  Although it is up for debate among my friends who say that I should be enjoying my retirement, I am actually enjoying it more than I thought I would.  Because now there is only me to concern myself with on a daily basis which means I have a lot of time for other pursuits and I have gone back to school.

I am a second year student at Kaplan University’s School of Criminal Justice working toward a Bachelor’s Degree.  My academic achievements of maintaining a 3.97 at the lowest GPA have brought other accomplishments such as memberships in two Honor Societies as well as various other leadership orientated organizations.  I am hoping that my life can inspire other young women to know that there is more out there for them, if it is truly what they want.

There are various opinions regarding feminism.  I for my part subscribe to the ideology that my abilities should not be prejudged simply because I am a female.  I believe that any person, male or female should be allowed to pursue whatever dreams they have.  One should not be expected to perform within a certain role because of the fact that they were born a man or a women.  Every person has something to offer society and it is not determined by their sex, their strength or their size.  The world around us is changing and we cannot continue to subscribe to arcane ideologies that will like a cancer, eat away at progress.

Related story from Huffington Post:

Jesse Lee Peterson, Conservative Preacher, Says Women's Voting Rights 'One Of America's Greatest Mistakes'


Posted by vjbuchanan at 4:55 PM EDT
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The Idiocy of Jesse Lee Peterson
Mood:  irritated
Topic: 005 - Idiocy of Jesse L. Peterso

"How did we get to a point where women think we should pay them to have sex? How did we get to a point they want to force us to buy them birth control?" Peterson said. "They want to have sex out of wedlock, they want to have abortions and they want us to pay for that."

While I [and hopefully every other reasonably prudent individual] have multiple issues with the so-called Reverend, I am only addressing the above quote at this time.

After reading the comment I just stared at the screen, shocked as a number of responses ran rampantly over themselves in my mind, stopping only when my own sensibilities screamed out “You’ve got to be kidding!”  Personally the missing element in this individuals thought process is the blatant absence of the male role not to mention the mutual responsibility when it comes to sexual encounters among men and women.

Having gone back and read the article again, I still cannot make a connection to his comment regarding the idea that women think men should pay them for sex.  In my opinion this statement seems to be out of context to the entire article unless viewed in conjunction with the false ideology that birth control is a license to have carefree sex.  Meaning, in turn that the use of birth control can be viewed as some form of an extension of the last statement referencing either the approval of or the condoning of premarital sex.

In addressing the second sentence in that statement, regarding the idea that “women are forcing us to buy them birth control”, I have a great many questions.  First of all who are the “women” and who is the “us” that he is referring to in that statement?  While I have my own theories, I’m not going to attempt to read into the chaotic though processes of this man.

However, in the matter of birth control outside of the purchase of various forms of over the counter contraceptive measures, this is a medication that can only be obtained through a prescription from a licensed physician.  Additionally, there are multiple reasons that birth control is prescribed for beyond its use as a conceptive.  As an older woman who suffers from endometriosis, I still take birth control pills because there are two major consequences to this condition.  First, in some women it manifests itself in the inability to even conceive a child yet in the greater majority of cases the condition will always result in a miscarriage that occurs usually sometime during the first trimester of the pregnancy.

The second consequence of this condition is that the menstrual cycle can be excruciatingly painful due to the slow disintegration of the uterine wall during the cycle.  Menstrual cycles are usually extremely heavy and can be physically debilitating to those who suffer from this condition.  This is not a condition that can be corrected through surgical means nor ‘waited out’ through time.  While it does not correct the condition, prescription birth control has long been recognized as the most cost effective means of reducing many of the physical pain involved with these issues.  While it is not a guarantee, many women who suffer from this condition have found that if they are successful at being able to carry a child to full term, this can sometimes result in a reversal of the condition due to the birthing process.

Therefore it appears to me that at least on a theoretical level, he is in opposition to this being something that is covered by health insurance.  This is the same fallible logic displayed in Rush Limbaugh’s [in my opinion] intentionally hurtful and completely misguided outburst toward Sandra Fluke which was in turn a reflection of his opinion about women in general.  Contraception is not paid for in tax dollars, it is paid for by the premiums paid to insurance companies by the insured party that is using the insurance policy.  Arguably there are organizations that provide certain medical services to low income families that are financially supported through both federal and state funding which is in fact tax dollars.  I for one am in support of these organizations as they are much needed in view of the economic downturn that faces this country right now.  We can either take steps to prevent unwanted pregnancies or deal with the much larger cost of adding to the already over populated ranks of those who will continue to need these services. 

There was a point in time where I would have been appalled at the statement that women [with no mention of the male counterpart in the equation] are seeking sex outside of the marriage bed.  Perhaps it is only that while my personal viewpoints are in fact rather old fashioned of not at times out right arcane, I have accepted the realistic fact that this is no longer the 1950’s or 60’s.  Statements of this nature arguably imply that women would rather view abortion as the answer to an unwanted pregnancy rather than to avoid the pregnancy in the first place.

This does not apply strictly to young, unmarried couples.  There are already far too many unwanted children being born in this country, children who are subjected to untold emotional, physical abuse that often results in death at the hands of the parents.  Does it not make more logical sense to provide a means by which to avoid the pregnancy in the first place?  There are also many young couples who are just beginning their lives together who have made the conscious decision that they do want children but at a later point in their marriage.  There are still others who already have children and have been providing for them a loving and stable home, yet have suddenly found themselves victims of the economic downturn and are struggling to maintain their home life on only one income that where there had previously been two.  They have in turn made the responsible decision to forego having any more children.

Addressing the issue of abortion itself, I am personally against it in that it is not something that I could ever agree to for myself.  I am however of the belief that it is not up to me to make that same decision for anyone else.  When reviewed in conjunction with health care and health care coverage, then I feel that there should be a few additional stipulations regarding the abortion procedure.  I do support abortion if it has been determined by a licensed [and practicing] physician that the mothers’ life is at serious risk if the child is carried to full term.   As a rape survivor myself, I am in total support of the ‘Morning After Pill’ primarily because while I did not conceive, I am well aware of the number of women who were not so fortunate.

On a national level the issues of abortion and rape are extremely complex, made so by various factors such as but not limited to civil rights and religious morality.  That view is based entirely on my own sincere belief that religion and politics do not mix on any level.  I have never considered myself to be an activist of any kind yet I have reached the realization that there comes a time when you not only have the obligation and the responsibility to speak up for yourself, but for future generations.

I do not believe this country in not going to move forward until we can get beyond the basic issues of race, religion, creed, sex and sexual orientation.  These are issues that we cannot sit back and wait for politicians to come to realize, simply because while I believe that there are those who in their heart may believe that they are acting the best interests of the general public in which they represent, there are far too many who have allowed themselves to succumb to the evils of power and greed.  I do include many members of those in leadership positions within any number of religious organizations as well.

Posted by vjbuchanan at 4:52 PM EDT
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Facebook Condemns Practice of Employers Demanding Employee Passwords
Mood:  not sure
Topic: 004 - Facebook Condemns Practice

As always this commentary is the product of my interaction with other users on the Huffington Post.  I understand and actually invite public discourse from others on just about any subject; it can make for a very interesting read at times and as usual I was not disappointed today.

This morning as is my usual routine, I poured a cup of coffee and started my customary scan of the headlines on The Huffington Post, which is one of several of my personal choices.  After reviewing a number of articles, I stopped to read some of the user comments on the article “Facebook Condemns Practice of Employers Demanding Employee Passwords” by Courteney Palis.  It is a topic that is and should be of interest to any Facebook user.  On a personal level this is more of a curiosity for me since my employer; along with a couple of previous employers are also friends on my Facebook page.

I was struck by the audacity in a post made by a user with the pseudo name of ‘Guy Girl’ in stating quite presumptuously that Facebook is dying in America.  The entire comment is provided here: “How do I feel about it? I don't. Facebook is already dying, in America, anyway. Look at your friends' pages. Activity is down. Posts are down. Even the ego addictive friending is down. So many pages are just neglected. Some peoples' pages remind me of the junked out cars I used to see in NYC tunnels and road sides- abandoned. Unwanted, neglected. So, I don't care what they do to try to win back active clients. Privacy was once of concern to Facebook users. Now, most of them don't have the time or interest in Facebook to even care.”

However, to me it was more so the generalization that prompted my simple reply of “Perhaps in your neck of the woods. With the exception of a few that rarely post actual conversation style comments on Facebook, I personally love Facebook!

Specifically intended to state that while things may be such with regards to that particular Facebook users experience, the same sentiments are not shared by me.  Although I have to admit that there are a few of my friends on Facebook that have an irritating tendency to continuously post, share and reshare those certain images that are supposed to either be some sort of joke or some inspirational message that is religiously oriented or even worse politically oriented, and I respect that as their choice.

Somehow my meaning was lost on another Huffington Post reader using what may or may not be a pseudo name of ‘Jack Boat’ who commented on my post with the following:  “What are you trying to say ^ I think all the tweeting and facebook posting has affected your ability to communicate effectively.”  Whose comment is the reason for my commentary on here today rather than the original comment that actually sparked my participation in the ‘conversation’ on Huffington Post.  Even without the elaboration provided, I believe my articulation of the English language was quite clear, which gives cause to question the comprehension level of shall I say Mr. Jack Boat.

Although I understand the purpose of limiting comments to a set number of characters to avoid tirades and other soap box style commentary, as I will most willingly admit that I have a tendency to do; it can be somewhat difficult at times to fully address a specific comment on the Huffington Post or any other interactive site for that matter.  Therefore based on the established limitations, I scaled down my reply to Mr. Jack Boat by stating:

 “My apologies [not] that my comment [to someone else’s post] was not crystal clear to you.  Every individual who uses the internet whether it is for personal research, work, school or social media, does so for their own purposes.   Everyone who ventures into the realm of Cyber Space does so [hopefully] with the understanding that there is nothing that is truly private.  You are very correct that Facebook just like any other media source is a tool to be used but is often abused.  It is the responsibility of the individual user to take the initiative in educating themselves regarding the ‘Terms of Use’ which are part of every interactive site on the internet, social media included” which is unfortunately the only part of this blog commentary that appears on the Huffington Post.

I read a large number of articles on the Huffington Post on a weekly basis and often find myself [almost] without words at times to describe the complete lack of substance that is blatantly displayed and that particular post ranks right up there in my top ten.  The content of the post is a testament to the lack of knowledge as it pertains to the subject matter.  The first question that came to my mind as I read the statement was to wonder what rationale was used to make this assumption.  Is this individual friends with nearly every other Facebook user in America?  That they could make the determination that enough pages would “remind me of the junked out cars I used to see in NYC tunnels and road sides-abandoned. Unwanted, neglected” as a sign that Facebook was dying in America as was stated in their post.  The images inspired by the comment are eerily similar to a scene from a Mad Max movie.

I wonder, did it ever occur to this particular user that perhaps the actual owners of those ‘other pages’ those supposedly abandoned, unwanted and neglected pages have perhaps taken the time to actually read the information regarding privacy on Facebook?  Contrary to their assumption that “Privacy was once a concern to Facebook users. Now, most of them don’t have the time or interest in Facebook to even care.” Privacy is very much a concern for Facebook users as evidenced by the information provided in yet another article on Huffington Post entitled “Facebook Privacy in Demand: Users Don’t Want You Prying” by Bianca Bosker dated February 24, 2012. [Link provided at the end of this commentary]

A couple of points brought out in the article provide a very interesting perspective on this issue:

Researchers at Polytechnic Institute of New York University tracked the privacy settings of 1.4 million Facebook profiles belonging to New Yorkers over a 15-month period between March 2010 and June 2011.  They found a “dramatic decrease in the amount of information Facebook users reveal about themselves to the general public” and the authors concluded that the users became “dramatically more private” during the period, according to their report.

Additionally I found their concluding remarks to be quite interesting:

These statistics paint social networkers as an increasingly privacy-savvy group of individuals who are concerned about who sees what details about them online and are taking steps to protect themselves.

There’s an important distinction to be made between oversharing and not caring.  It’s true that users bombard their friends with mundane details about their snacks, runs, burps and buys.  But that’s when they know their audience – not when they’re addressing the world at large.  We’re less inclined to broadcast our status updates to strangers or reveal intimate details to the unknown, and social media companies would be wise to take note of just how far social norms have – and haven’t – evolved.”

The simple truth is that people are not abandoning their Facebook pages, they are abandoning the once ‘complete openness’ that has historically been touted by Facebook representatives as the ‘social norm’ and necessary in order to the able to be found through a simple search conducted by former classmates, coworkers or whomever.  Facebook users are now more than ever concerned about their privacy and have actually taken charge of their accounts by familiarizing themselves with how to properly utilize the privacy settings and other available options that have been there all along.

When I think about the poster ‘Guy Girl’ and the ideology behind the comment that so many pages have been abandoned like so many junk cars, I am curious as to how many of his or her friends have simply changed their settings so as to either hide or block them from viewing the entire content of their pages?  If users are paying attention, every time Facebook makes changes to the privacy settings or any other part of the user interface, there is a notification sent out to the email address that was used to open the account.  If users are not paying attention and do not take the time to read about these changes then they have nobody to blame but themselves.

It is interesting to me that in a world that seems to be ever more dependent on the use of the internet, social media in its’ many forms often comes under fire from various critics as well as a number of disgruntled users.  It is almost a given that with the massive user base claimed by Facebook that it would probably be one of the primary targets, especially in the name of privacy.  A fact that I find to be the epitome of an oxymoron simply because nobody at Facebook, Mark Zuckerburg included has ever hidden, concealed or otherwise distorted the real purpose of Facebook.  It is only the user who has failed in their responsibility to take the appropriate measures to understand the requirements.

I find it particularly humorous with reference to the ‘gamers’ who will literally pour over the rules and instructions on how to win at whatever game they have just purchased in the shortest amount of time possible, even going so far as to buy into monthly subscriptions in difference publications in order to get the cheater codes to accomplish this task.  These are the same individuals will sign up for some social media source such as Facebook that offers them the possibility of a vast audience with whom they can play these games, yet they fail to read the rules and instructions for their choice of social media that are so clearly available.  Each and ever app on Facebook clearly tells the user that if they choose to use their application that certain predetermined information about themselves and their friends will be collected.  When the user clicks "Allow" they have just agreed to these terms regardless of how they have privacy settings.

Those behind the Facebook that exists today never intended it to be anything close to a personal or private social club of any kind.  Just like the architects and engineers who design and build elaborate shopping malls, they did not spend massive amounts of time and money in researching what attracted people to them.  They did not build them just to have people drive by and marvel at the beauty of their work, they left that to the builders of museums and cathedrals.  They built these shopping malls for the sole purpose of getting people to come inside and actually spend their money.

Facebook is not, never has been and never will be any different and for those of you who believe otherwise, you need to wake up.  Do you really think that Mark Zuckerburg and his staff are there, volunteering their services and knowledge out of the goodness of their hearts because they believe people need some form of social media outlet?  Come on!

In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt stated “If you build it, they will come” and if you have ever had the opportunity to visit Panama City, of which Roosevelt was speaking, you’ll see that it has become the awesome metropolis and a thriving city that he predicted over 100 years ago.  The same can be applied to just about anything else, Facebook included.

The creators of the social media site as it appears today was never intended it to be anything more than a cyber-building, an awesome piece of virtual of architecture that was constructed for the sole purpose of ‘herding’ the general population toward an artistically designed cyber-mall where peddlers of a different nature could hawk their wares and services.

Stop and think about it.  The reason that Facebook advertises that it is free and always will be is because the everyday user is what the Fortune 500 companies are paying for it.  They are paying Facebook to create a platform that 'herds' these 'everyday users' toward their ads in the belief that we will buy their products, just like the window shoppers at the local mall.

The stark reality is that Facebook is going to cater to those who pay their bills and while the 'everyday user' is the source that generates the revenue used to pay the bills, if what they want is adverse to the market value of Facebook it is not going to happen.  It is as simple as that folks.


Facebook Privacy in Demand: Users Don't Want You Prying


Posted by vjbuchanan at 4:48 PM EDT
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Since When is Social Security a Welfare Program
Mood:  irritated
Topic: 003 - Social Security/Welfare

This particular blog entry is made in response to a specific comment posted by an individual on Huffington Post who uses the pseudo name of ‘Anonymous enigma’ and was something that I personally just could not refuse a rebuttal.  The comment as it was presented on the Huffington Post under the article "Drug-Testing Welfare Recipients" by Rachel Bloom and is provided below in its’ entirety…

     [quote] “Look, we are completely missing the point. The American public has been bamboozled. The argument is always about those so called "welfare people." We need to look more closely at who these so called welfare people are. We need to look more closely at the, "middle class," self-employed that appear to be using our tax dollars to subsidize their "retirement" plans. Of course they still want to maintain their "middle class lifestyle," i.e. expensive homes; two luxury vehicles in the garage etc. Let's face it SSI and SSA pay's all their medical bills so what do they care!!! We need to look more closely at these people that are hiding assets in bank safe deposits and claiming questionable injuries that make them eligible for SSI or SSA

It appears to have become a cottage industry that we the tax payers are on the hook for. These are the same people arguing for less government and against so called "Obama care."

Let's face it if you are getting a "free ride," you can afford to belong to these radical tax payer expense.”
[end quote]

As I read the above comment I could see that there are a few of valid points; however the complete generalization of individuals who are receiving Social Security or Supplement Security Income over shadows them in my opinion.  Granted on Huffington Post we are limited to the length of our posts and therefore our ability to fully address an issue.

My personal position on this issue is that drug testing for the expressed purpose of approval or denial of government benefits is in fact a violation of privacy no matter how you look at it.  On the other hand, I do support the option of indefinite suspension of benefits if it should be discovered [through routine non-targeted means] that they are a user of illicit drugs.

I do not support the targeting of any ‘group’ in this issue.  With that being said I do not count employees as a ‘group’ because employers have every right to take whatever measures available to them to insure that they are doing what is necessary to provide a safe working environment for all employees.

I find the comment… “We need to look more closely at who these so called welfare people are. We need to look more closely at the, "middle class," self-employed that appear to be using our tax dollars to subsidize their "retirement" plans.” … to be of particular interest with reference to this subject, at least based on my own definition of ‘welfare people’.

They exist in every community, those individuals who are of both sound mind and body who ‘leach’ off the graces of a civilized society.  They are those who have nothing that prohibits them from seeking gainful employment beyond the reasoning that exists within their own minds.  These are people who make no effort to utilize certain benefits as the temporary assistance for which they are meant.  Welfare people are those who make the conscious choice to do nothing that would better their lives even when these opportunities are presented to them.

It must be recognized that although individuals can receive certain benefits from each one, the Welfare Department and the Social Security Administration are two very different entities.  Eligibility for one does not always guarantee eligibility for the other, although they can when necessary supplement one another.  Neither does it exist that there is a need for both of these benefits by the same individual.

Within my own community there are individuals who are currently collecting Social Security benefits due to a medically verified physical deficiency that they have suffered from since their youth or even from birth.  Unfortunately situations such as this can be devastating to these individuals as they get older because they have not accumulated the required units [a specific time frame of employment] in order to be eligible for benefits that can even remotely be considered as above the state poverty level.

Contrary to popular belief there is no across the board scale that provides uniform benefits to all Social Security recipients.  Individual monthly benefits for Social Security are determined by the total earnings that individual has accumulated throughout their lives.  Many individuals who were born with physical limitations or those who have suffered some form of industrial, on the job, or an automobile accident early in their lives find themselves severely handicapped in the sense that through no fault of their own they may be forced to struggle for the rest of their lives to live in a state of poverty simply because their employment career was cut short.

One example within my own community is an elderly lady that was born with a blood iron deficiency that has required weekly visits to a physician’s office throughout her entire life in order to receive lifesaving treatments.  Her condition has resulted in the fact that she was never able to secure gainful employment that would have provided her more than the minimum of benefits.  As a result of this her monthly Supplement Security Income benefits are only $550.00 which is supplemented through a meager $200.00 a month in Food Stamps.

Yes, she is also on Medicare at the monthly cost that is in excess of $100.00 per month and paid out of her own pocket as this is not free, contrary to popular opinion.  There is also required co-pay with Medicare participants for prescriptions and certain physician’s and hospital visits.  Medicare benefits are not uniform and in some cases must be supplemented with additional and costly medical insurance.  Additionally, many of these people live as ‘shut ins’ because they cannot afford a vehicle due to the costs associated with ownership such as maintenance, insurance and the rising cost of fuel.  


Fortunately for her and so many others like her, this community has various organizations that have regularly scheduled ‘free food’ programs that can also supplement their nutritional needs.  There are also a number of organizations that provide free cooked meals on a regularly scheduled basis and have volunteers that will provide transportation to the location for much needed socialization in an effort to combat the growing problem of depression and suicide among these recipients.  There are also groups that organize seasonal assistance programs such as providing these individuals with warm coats, hats, scarfs and gloves for the winter months.  Also, like most states there are additional state funded agencies that provide financial assistance with heating bills during the winter months. 

The reference to… "middle class," self-employed that appear to be using our tax dollars to subsidize their "retirement" plans.”…when viewed in the context that it was presented, it makes absolutely no sense to me.  Again, perhaps it is my own perception of these individuals that colors my opinion.  Reading that statement I am reminded of my husband and others like him, who have worked all their lives and paid into these programs, paid their taxes and yet are deprived of substantial benefits for themselves when they are needed.

During the majority of his lifetime my husband was a self-employed roofer, an occupation that was either feast or famine depending on the time year, location and the economy.   I continued to work because there were at times long periods where there was no income from his self-employment and the bill collectors were not sympathetic.  My husband was a meticulous records keeper and regularly filed his quarterly taxes, which many times resulted in pulling funds from our savings to cover them and hope we got enough back at the end of the year when we filed income taxes to make up for what we took out of the savings.

Roofing is a hard and laborious profession that is financially ruthless on individual contractors.   It can and often does take a serious physical toll on the human body.  Regardless of the fact that he could no longer continue in the profession that he had known all his life, my husband was not considered to be disabled and could not be considered for Social Security Disability.  Unfortunately due to the various ‘famine’ periods throughout his self-employment his entitlement through the Social Security Retirement was barely above poverty level.  Unable to financially survive based on the minimum allowed by Social Security, he continued as a self-employed individual by diverting from a profession that he could no longer physically perform to mowing lawns.  This choice obviously only provided a seasonal income that was thankfully below the maximum allowable per year and still be eligible for Supplemental Security Income which is separate from Social Security and not based on work history or Social Security taxes.  So my question regarding the statement provided by this particular Huffington Post commentator is simple…”What about the taxes he [my husband] paid into the program?”  

Again, I am struck with yet another level of ignorance as demonstrated by the following statement…”Of course they still want to maintain their "middle class lifestyle," i. e. expensive homes; two luxury vehicles in the garage etc. Let's face it SSI and SSA pay's all their medical bills so what do they care!!!”  Where it is written that the self-employed are all members of the middle class?  Better yet, where is it that every middle class family has an expensive home and two luxury vehicles in a garage?  I don’t know any and we were considered to be middle class!

We lived in a moderate home that was valued at approximately $60,000.00 at the time he was a self-employed roofer.  I drove, shall we say a functioning Dodge Omni that I picked up second hand out of the newspaper because we could not afford a car payment of any kind much less for a luxury car.  He drove a Ford Ranger Pickup that was purchased the same way for the same reason.  By the way, both vehicles sat outside in the driveway 365 days a year regardless of the weather.  Incidentally, my husband has since passed away and I no longer live in that ‘moderate’ home but rather in a $34,000.00 mobile home dated 1974 and I drive a $600.00 GEO Tracker that a friend found for me.  I bought it because I like that style of vehicle and I just didn't want to make car payments

The last sentence in this ‘interesting’ perspective has already been addressed in the example provided of the elderly woman in my community.  I do not know where people get the foolish notion that Social Security Retirement or Supplemental Security Income pays all of the medical bills.  Anyone who watches television has seen the various commercials talking about Medicare and Medicaid, all of which constantly state that these programs 'help' with medical bills.  At no time do they ever state that these programs pay all of the medical bills.  As I pointed out earlier, there are certain medical costs that are not covered by either of these benefits.  Individuals who are covered by Medicare are not getting it for free!  They pay for it just like any other insurance.

Yet again the flagrant display of ignorance continues with yet another statement…”We need to look more closely at these people that are hiding assets in bank safe deposits and claiming questionable injuries that make them eligible for ssi or ssa.”  First of all there is no asset that can be hidden in a bank safe deposit box that would even be close to any substantial benefit that would disqualify an individual for eligibility for Social Security (SSA).

First of all, this commentator continually lumps SSI and SSA together as if they are the same, which they are not.  The Social Security Administration is only responsible for three areas, retirement, disability and survivor benefits, which are funded through Social Security Taxes.  Supplemental Security Income is not so clearly defined and provides an income that is intended to supplement earned income for those who are not of retirement age or who are blind or disabled to the point that they cannot work and is funded from the general revenue fund and not social security taxes.

Individuals who have worked all their lives and paid into the Social Security Program are NOT penalized by the government by being told that they cannot possess or even stockpile whatever assets they can throughout their lives.  To believe such a thing is hogwash!  Even those individuals who are eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) are not penalized provided they have accrued the required number of units for eligibility for Social Security Retirement.

In this instance I will use myself as the example.  I am collecting Social Security Disability and the only form of penalization is in reality a technicality.  I call it a technicality because there is no way that I can physically violate this restriction.  I am permitted to earn up to but not to exceed the amount of $499.00 a month in addition to my Social Security Disability Benefits.  Why?  Because at the time that I became disabled, I had already exceeded the required number of units that would have qualified me for Social Security Retirement Benefits when I reached the age of 65, so I filed for disability because I am only 53 years old and cannot sit around and wait until I turn 65 in order to begin collecting Social Security Retirement benefits.

I was injured in a work related accident in 1995 which was followed by a number of surgeries, thousands of visits to various therapy sessions and pain management clinics.  It was finally determined by not only my primary care physician but nearly all of those associated with my recovery that my ‘condition’ is not correctable and therefore I was [finally] considered to be disabled.  I did not begin to collect my benefits until September of 2009, fourteen years after I was injured.  Contrary to popular belief the greater majority of those individuals who are collecting government benefits as a direct result of a physical limitation have gone through years of paperwork and bureaucratic red tape in order to get those benefits.

One of the statements that I can agree with regarding the statements provided by this particular commentator is that yes, there are a large number of individuals who have filed for benefits based on ‘questionable’ injuries.  However, based on what I myself went through and what I have witnessed a few others having gone through, the approval rates of these ‘questionable’ injuries are seriously decreasing.  This is largely due to the fact that as I stated previously Supplemental Security Income is not as clearly defined as are those claims associated with the Social Security Administration and some of these SSI claims are paid from State Revenues verses Federal Revenue.  States are beginning to take a closer look at many of these claimants, even those that have been collecting these benefits for years by reinstating the requirement for regularly scheduled re-evaluations.

I have a few friends who spent a large portion of their working lives bouncing from job to job or working various different part time jobs that paid only minimum wage.  They are unfortunately unable to enjoy the same benefits as I do simply because of the fact that the amount received is based on the amount that was earned throughout their lives verses mine.  Because of decisions made early in life, my friends unfortunately find themselves living within a very restrictive set of rules.  They are not allowed to own their home, they cannot own more than one vehicle and that vehicle cannot exceed a specific cash value and if they are not the head of a household they cannot earn any form of additional income which includes the sale of any item.

Beyond the fact that this particular commentator has continually combined the Social Security Administration and the Supplemental Security Income Programs together as if they are one in the same, they have also lumped these together with Welfare Programs which are not federal at all but are state run programs.  The simple fact that someone is collecting some form of SSA or SSI does not always automatically qualify them for any welfare program.  Qualifications for welfare are based entirely on the household income, resources and assets, which will in most cases, disqualify recipients of Social Security Retirement and Social Security Disability for welfare benefits.  My disability benefits exceed the monthly income that would allow me to participate in any welfare program even if I were interested in do so.

I have earned the right to live as a retired individual albeit much earlier than I had originally intended for myself.  Once it is paid off, I will own my home.  I currently own a vehicle but am looking for a small truck because there are times when I need one.  I have various other assets that I have bought and paid for over the years that no one has the right to take away from me or force me to relinquish.  I have planned for the future in regards to those I care about in the form of purchasing ‘whole’ life insurance so that no one is stuck with the responsibility of any debts that may exist when my time comes.  Although I have already pretty much paid for my own funeral, I have also bought and paid for additional ‘whole’ life insurance strictly for the purpose of making sure that I just in case I missed something there will be funds to cover anything related to the funeral expenses.  None of which by the way is kept in a safety deposit box at the bank, rather in a fireproof safe in my house.

Drawing to a conclusion here, I would like to address the fact that this individual has clearly demonstrated to me that they have absolutely no factual knowledge of how any of the programs they mention operate.  I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the Huffington Post community and while I read a number of articles on a daily basis, I am very particular in regards to those I choose to comment on and even more so when it comes to commenting on something another individual has posted.  This is because I refuse to enter into a back and forth debate with individuals who [by their comments] have done little to no research on the subject matter for which they are speaking.  Every single rebuttal post that I make on the Huffington Post is also posted here on my blog where I have the ability to elaborate on the subject and to also provide references for those who may be interested in understanding the issue at hand.

Finally, for those individuals who are actually concerned about government over spending as it concerning those recipients of Social Security Retirement or Supplemental Security Income please feel free to research the fact that in 2008 the Social Security Administration paid out approximately $40.3 million dollars in benefits to deceased individuals, even though they have already entered them into the Master Death Records.  They continue to send out monthly checks even though surviving family members have continually contacted them and reported their family member as being deceased.

During the audit conducted on the Social Security program in 2008, the following disturbing findings were made public.  The fact that the Social Security Administration had been paying out benefits to nearly 2,000 recipients for not just months but for years!  These errors have cost tax payers nearly $7 million dollars and will continue to cost the tax payer year after year.  In addition to paying deceased individuals, the review also revealed that the Social Security Administration over paid out about $313 million to approximately 89,300 beneficiaries and improperly paid about $7.3 million to 11,912 non-beneficiaries.

Take a moment to read the following report provided by Blake Ellis, a reporter for CNN Money Watch.  You'll see that there are many other disturbing things about the Social Security Administration that the majority of people are completely unaware of for various reasons.

Please visit the following sites if you or you know someone who may be eligible for Social Security, Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income: 

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Retirement Benefits

Social Security – The Red Book – Our Social Security Programs

Huffington Post Article – Drug-Testing Welfare Recipients


Posted by vjbuchanan at 4:44 PM EDT
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Savannah Harding: Punished to Death
Mood:  sad
Now Playing: Forever Young
Topic: 002 - Punished to Death

There's more to this story, I'm sure. A healthy 9-year-old body should be resilient enough to withstand a great deal of physical activity. If a child is regularly denied nourishment and hydration, it would result in a weakened condition for the child. Before anyone jumps on me about jumping to conclusions, this is just me trynna figure out how a child of that age could die from a 3 hour run.”

The above comment by an individual using the pseudo name of minerva117 on the coverage provided by the Huffington Post regarding this tragedy caught my attention.  I can agree with only the first line because I also believe that there is always ‘more to the story’ than is reported regardless of the subject or who is doing the reporting.

Personally I believe that this individual’s comment was not quite so well thought out prior to posting it because the overall ignorance of what is actually required of the human body to run for a three hour period [regardless of age] is brilliantly presented.  However, I decided to actually attempt some form of basic explanation that would fit within the maximum 250 word count allowed for comments made on the Huffington Post.  The posted comment is as follows:

[quote] “One point that comes to my mind after reading this article is that she was being ‘punished’ for eating chocolate because of a bladder condition that was irritated by the caffeine.  Unfortunately the other problem that I’m sure they [the step-mother and grandmother] were not aware of is that caffeine is also a culprit for adverse effects in physical activity, especially running.

In the early days of my military service we were all told to avoid certain types of foods at least a day [12 hours] prior to any serious physical fitness training.  The Fitness Test administered once a year only required a 2 mile run with a time limit that varied based on sex and age.  The same with the push-ups and sit-ups, the time frame of 2 minutes was standard across the board; however the required repetitions varied based on the soldiers sex and age.

My point referencing this article is that this young girl had consumed chocolate which contains caffeine and was allegedly punished by having to run for 3 hours.  Caffeine is at the top of the list of things to avoid consuming prior to any serious physical exercise.  The Fitness Test required by the Army if completed within the required time frame took less than 30 minutes.  Running for 3 hours straight goes beyond serious physical training. [end quote]

Therefore my personal opinion on this situation is that this young girl was ‘punished to death’ even though it was because of a lack of knowledge on the part of the participants.”

However, as usual I have so much more to say on this topic than is allowed based on the [understandable] restrains currently in place by Huffington Post.

I’m not going to do it for everyone, however interested parties can look it up for themselves on the web; the fact that there are numerous accounts of young athletes both male and female that have suffered various forms of irreparable physical damage and even death due to their participation in organized athletic events which are supported by the school systems.  These are individuals who were active participants in programs that required them to perform a certain amount of physical activity on a regularly scheduled basis.  They were not individuals who just went out one day and decided to run for three hours straight.

Regardless of any additional health factors, children’s bodies are not developed enough to withstand the physical rigors of strenuous exercise.  Even older, more experienced athletes would not attempt to run for a three hour period without some form of ‘buildup’ time.

In my opinion what these women allegedly forced this young girl to do went well above and beyond the realm of punishment.  This was flat out torturous abuse on a level that must be addressed as such.

I will continue to follow this article, if for nothing else to shake my head for the comments posted by the likes of minerva117.


The Huffington Post -


Posted by vjbuchanan at 4:42 PM EDT
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Death at Albion Prison
Mood:  sad
Now Playing: Amazing Grace
Topic: 001 - Death at Albion Prison

I did not choose to comment on this article because I am defending the criminal himself in this case rather my defense is reserved for the U.S. Constitution and what it stands for in its’ entirety.

Following a discussion regarding this article and some of the comments with a colleague, I have to admit that he made a number of interesting points.  While observing the majority of the comments on the article, he noted that for a society that claims to be based on the Christian Faith, there are a great many that also appear to support retributive justice.  Further into the discussion on the subject he compared this to the way certain Christians have a habit of pulling specific passages from the Bible in order to make or support a specific point.  The same can be said for those who use specific sections of the U.S. Constitution in order to defend specific actions.

The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:  “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted

Regardless of the crimes committed, all criminals have been brought before a court of law in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.  They have been tried, convicted by a jury and sentenced in accordance with that finding.  Unfortunately there are too many Americans who don’t know or understand exactly what that document is, says or does especially when it concerns the Criminal Justice System.  As a society we don’t necessarily have to approve of the results of that process, yet our entire social structure concerning our values are clearly laid out in that document.

While reading through the various comments attached to this article, I did find very interesting ‘attitudes’ displayed throughout.  While an individual using the pseudo name of ‘Blue Knight’ seems to think that what has happened in this case is ‘justified’ simply because this man was a convicted criminal which is in my opinion completely absurd.  Not to mention completely adverse to what I have always understood the primary Christian Doctrine’s teaching regarding compassion.

In one post Blue Knight stated simply [quote] The bible states ‘tooth for a tooth’ & ‘eye for an eye’ [end quote]

I believe this is what my colleague was speaking of during our conversation about some of the comments on this article when he stated that certain Christians have a habit of pulling specific passages from the Bible in order to make a point.

The entire scripture reads:  “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:  But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smith thee on thy right cheek, to him the other also” Matthew 5:38-39

And for further reading:

"Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:19-21

As I continued to read additional comments, curiously enough the Biblical logic continues with a comment from Jason McMahon:  [quote] – Psalm 137:9 “Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.”  Thats the bible telling you its fun to stone your­nt really trust every passage in the bible. [end quote]

I personally found this to be interesting, particularly after a review of the scriptures.   That specific passage [Psalm 137:9] is in reality the writer speaking of the vengeance the Lord will take upon the Babylonians.  The terminology is symbolic, not literal.  The entire 137th Psalm is a song of lament that was written during the time period that the Hebrew nation were held captive by the Babylonians from about 586 to 538 B.C.

Again, interestingly enough my reply to Mr. McMahon earned a comment from an individual commenting under the pseudo name of ‘Madameruby63’ who stated [quote] Thank you Valerie - I love the Bible! I feel so much better knowing it's all in God's hands! [unquote]

I do sincerely appreciate the back and forth commentary on the Huffington Post for a variety of reasons, none of which are the belief or expectation that there will always be agreement. Contrary to that fact I enjoy learning new things through the public discourse provided on the various topics that arise from the articles contained herein. This is also why I always make a concerted effort to respond to those who respond to me, regardless of their viewpoint. My intention is simply an attempt to clarify my position rather than to justify it.

Which is probably the case when this individual reads my reply:

[quote] You’re welcome. I read a lot of articles on the Huffington Post, to include as many comments as I can before I post. While I myself do not profess to be a Christian but rather a Theologist, I was appalled at what I felt was the complete disregard for human life that was displayed in the comments made by Blue Knight. I personally would not have allowed something like this to happen to an animal much less a human being.

As a rape survivor and a victim of a domestic violence altercation that has left me permanently disabled, I view cases like this in a different light. The anger never truly passes from you, it is only diluted with the understanding that there is absolutely nothing that will change the fact that it happened. You can let it rule your life or can move one, those are your only choices. [end quote]

If you are a regular commentator in any area that affords a ‘back and forth’ discussion there will always be opposing viewpoints of which I can appreciate so long as there is a respectful discourse between the participants.  I also believe the use of facts in their entirety is vital and not simply pulling on bits and pieces of some source be it the Bible, the Constitution or otherwise simply because that small reference appears to justify the point that is being made. 

Personally when someone uses a Biblical reference to support a particular viewpoint, there is a lot more ‘additional’ research required to support the point being made.  This is particularly relevant because there are so many passages in the Bible that are not literal in their translation making them too subjective in their interpretations.  A primary example of this is fact that the greater majority of the Book of Revelations is comprised of ‘visions’ and therefore subject to the readers’ interpretation of them.  Similarly are those passages in the Bible that are ‘parables’ which were used so often by Jesus himself.  So much so that the Apostles themselves came to him [Matthew 13:10] asking why he continued to speak them in such a manner.

I do not in any way discount the validity of the Bible, yet at the same time it is for these very reasons that I personally do not attempt to profess some special knowledge as to the true meaning of so many of its’ passages.  My stance on this particular issue as it relates to the Bible is the sole reason that I choose to define myself as a Theologist rather than subscribe to the Atheistic doctrine.  I do believe that there is a God, I simply choose not to speak for Him anymore than I would attempt to interpret the true meaning behind the dark poetry of Edgar Allen Poe or the epically written tragedies of William Shakespeare.

Although the gap is not as wide as the above references the same can be said for my studies as a Criminal Justice student.  The one constant element within this study is the perpetual reference to English Common Law which is the foundation of our current Criminal Law and how it has affected us as a society.  While the greater majority of our research is confined to the changes made within the structure of our laws, there are still various requirements in the area of attempting to understand the criminal mind.  Even so these additional studies are referred to as theory and not fact because no one can read anyone’s mind, actions can become somewhat predictable based on previous actions but it is still not ‘mind reading’ in any sense of the term.

We are without a doubt a society that continuously strives to understand how these things can happen.  It is a study that is plagued with the constant struggle to evenly balance our justice system with the moral values that make us a civilized society.  A fact that I believe is why the death penalty strikes such a cord within most of us, bringing forth our own inner most reflections on the meaning of life; all of which is governed by our own individual ideologies that are borne of our spiritual and religious beliefs.  The taking of a life is a serious matter regardless of the circumstances that surround the sacrificing of that most precious of gifts.

Our laws establish that there are specific punishments applicable to specific crimes based on certain criterion that surrounds the commission of that crime.  Our justice system is also based on the fact that we shall be judged by a ‘jury of our peers’ as has been established by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which reads:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witness is his favor, and to have the Assistant of Counsel for his defense.”

The Sixth Amendment affords criminal defendants seven discrete personal liberties.  1-the right to a speedy trial, 2-the right to a public trial, 3-the right to an impartial jury, 4-the right to be informed of all pending charges, 5-the right to a cross-examination of adverse witnesses, 6-the right to compel favorable witnesses to testify at trial through subpoena power of the judiciary and 7-the right to legal counsel.

Based on this doctrine, the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment require each state to recognize certain fundamental liberties that are enumerated in the Bill of Rights because such liberties are deemed essential to the concepts of freedom and equality.  Together with the Supremacy Clause of Article VI, the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits any state from providing less protection for a right conferred by the Sixth Amendment than is provided under the federal Constitution.  Every state has the right to develop and implement their own State Constitution in which they can expand upon the rights guaranteed by the Federal Constitution but they cannot create and implement laws that take away from or restrict any right that is protected under the Federal Constitution.

All of this was established by the Founding Fathers of this country as a measure of protection against the Crown of England, in that no citizen of this country could be stolen away in the night and transported to a Royal Court for judiciary action.  A better understanding of this can be found through a complete history of what all of that means, look up the history of the Magna Carta and you’ll understand.  All legal proceedings would be conducted in plain view of the public in order to convey to the citizenry that the people of this country would enjoy a fair trial, which they [the citizens] were not going to be railroaded so to speak for the sake of some facsimile of justice.  This ideology is supported by the fact that in all cases where the death sentence has been imposed are automatically appealed to the next higher court for a review.

All of this is demonstrative of the fact that we as a society, regardless of our spiritual or religious beliefs do hold dear the sanctity of life.  When we are tasked with the burden of deciding the fate of a defendant who has committed a criminal offense that warrants the imposition of such a weighty decision as the death penalty, we must exercise to the fullest the requirement of ‘reasonable doubt’ so as to insure that the sentence is not only justifiable but that it truly attests to what is the essential meaning of justice itself.

As a rape survivor and one who has also suffered the brutality of a domestic violence altercation, I am aware of the fact that I will personally view ‘justice’ in these cases very differently than those who have not been in this position.  Every case of this nature is different and unique simply due to the nature of those involved.  There are many individuals who never recover from the effects of these brutal attacks and in that sense there can be no justice; even with the death of the offender.  Many people talk of closure, believing that the death of this offender will bring closure to what they have suffered only to discover that when it is over there is no closure.  There is no peace when it’s over because it is never truly over

Therefore in conclusion I will state that I do believe that this was a case of willing and intentional neglect based entirely on the personal notions of justice.  Those individuals who had it within their power to provide the proper care for this individual did most assuredly place themselves in the positions of judge, jury and executioner even though he had already been tried, convicted and sentenced in accordance with the laws of this land.

Kevin Barwell Retired Corrections Officer Speak Out:

Posted by vjbuchanan at 4:38 PM EDT
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Mood:  happy
Topic: 000 - Introduction

Welcome to my blog space here on Tripod.

This blog is exactly as it has been titled ‘Opinion’ which is a reconstruction of the original blog entitled ‘Politically Incorrect’ which first appeared on Blogger, sponsored by Google.  The decision to switch from Google is based on many of the reasons I created the original blog in the first place – limitations.

While my intention is not to actually set out to purposefully offend anyone, I’m not going to kid glove anyone or candy coat my commentary in the interest of pacifying those that have the option of clicking the little exit button and departing this site.

Although the greater majority of these entries are in response to a post made by another reader, all of the commentary on this blog is the product of articles read on the Huffington Post.  The current limit of only 250 words is far too often merely a ‘Reader’s Digest’ form of my preferred to post.  While I understand the necessity of limitations, I have experienced far more misunderstandings due to what was not said rather than what was actually stated in a post.

I am fully aware of the fact that I can get a bit wordy at times, especially when it comes to issues of a political or religious nature and I can probably write a novel when the two subjects end up intertwined.  I suppose my commentary style can be compared to the same concept as that of ‘Tree Beard’ in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy when he stated that they felt anything worth saying is worth taking a long time to say.

All of that having been stated, I am providing the following disclaimer:

I am not in any way associated with the Huffington Post beyond being an avid reader.  I am not now nor do I ever intend to become a Huffington Post blogger.  I like my life just the way it is and have no desire to add even more deadlines or expectations to my already full schedule.

Index of posted commentary:

001 - Death at Albion Prison

002 - Savannah Hardin - Punished to Death

003 - Since When is Social Security a Welfare Program

004 - Facebook Condemns the Practice of Employers Demanding Employee Passwords

005 - The Idiocy of Jesse Lee Peterson

006 - The Many Faces of Feminism

007 - Equal Rights & Selective Service

008 - Pitbulls - Defending My Position and the Breed


Posted by vjbuchanan at 4:35 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 21 June 2012 5:10 PM EDT
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