Sunday, February 25, 2018

The 32nd Victim- The Sunday Collage

On Valentines Day, 2018, Nikolas Cruz walked into Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and killed 17 people and wounded 14 more. The wounded are expected to survive.

Police officers and soldiers have one thing in common. Killing people or being killed is not a game. It is serious business.

Police officers and soldiers are never looking for a fair fight. We don't want a fair fight- in fact we want a very unfair fight. We want a playing field where we have every advantage. We want the best weapons, the best protection, the best training, the best tactical plans, we want overwhelming numbers, we want surprise on our side, we want emergency operation pre- plans and we we want the smartest brain. In short, we want every conceivable advantage- because losing is a permanent condition.

And when we pray for our lives, we want God to listen to us and not our adversaries.

So when I discovered late last week that an armed Broward County Sheriff's Deputy was on duty the day of the Parkland school massacre- I was baffled. When I learned that he ran outside, drew his gun and did nothing- I felt sick. Now there is an additional inquiry as to why 3 additional deputies did not go into the school- when Coral Springs police officers did. I clipped this piece because it is the latest and most current news article out there.

Since the Columbine school massacre, every law enforcement agency in this country has had the opportunity to examine what happened that day. They have the opportunity to develop operation plans, drill them, equip police officers with the appropriate arms, ballistic shields, vests, helmets, and superior tactics. There is simply no excuse for the type of response seen at Stoneman Douglas High School. Not any more.

And I have another question bugging me. Why on earth would a school shooter go into a school and begin shooting knowing that there was an armed police officer on campus? It begs the question. Did the kid shooter know the cop was a coward or did Nikolas Cruz expect to die that day?

Many years ago, I had a kid wave or point a gun at another kid at our local high school. It turned out that it was one of those realistic looking toy guns- but to the parents picking up their kids that day after school- they were concerned it was real and they reported the incident to our school resource officer. The incident happened after school on a Friday- and our school resource officer did nothing. No report, no investigation. He went home for the weekend and when those angry parents called me on Monday, I had nothing to tell them. This angered them even more and they called my boss (the Mayor) and the school district. All hell rained down on me and subsequently I laid that shit storm- and the policy violations that occurred squarely on my school resource officer who I removed from the school. That level of incompetence was appalling.

It was my mistake for hiring this guy. A man who was a nice enough human being but probably never cut out to be a cop. It takes a while to sort those things out. Just the other day I saw him and we spoke, some 15 years later.

There are times in every police officer's life where he or she will be confronted by circumstances they cannot control.

We are taught to call for backup. Hell the FBI can't make an arrest with less than 8 agents in attendance. But sometimes you don't get the luxury of picking when and where the battleground will be. On Valentine's Day, that was the problem confronting Scot Peterson. Someone had brought the fight to him. There would not be enough time for backup to arrive. Kids were going to be killed. The only chance those kids had was going to be the intervention of Scot Peterson. Scot was going to have to take whatever skill set he had, whatever equipment he had, whatever training he had, whatever cover and sneaky hiding place he could find- and his 54 year old brain- and out smart a 19 year old killer. Or die trying.

It didn't happen. And so it is that I have to ask Sheriff Scott Israel- was Scot Peterson the right guy for this job? How could they not have known? What planning (or no planning) had the Sheriff done?

So I'm sorry Broward county folks. You don't just have a school resource officer that failed to do his job- but you might have a whole chain of command problem that includes a Sheriff that didn't do his job.

I know so many good cops. The good cops accept that they may have to kill someone one day or that they may be killed. We agree to those terms. We train and train, we prepare, we beg our bosses for the guns and armament that will give us a fighting chance to survive a bloody encounter such as this. The right tools and preparation give good cops the confidence that they will need to go in and stop a homicidal maniac. That and a little courage.

Perhaps Scot Peterson was dispossessed of those things. We don't know. Scot Peterson must now spend the remainder of his life wrestling with the shame and guilt of what happened that day. What a horrible way to live, what a horrible sentence to hand yourself.

Nobody involved in this is going to be made well again anytime soon. As baffled as I am by all of this- I want to pray for all of the victims and Scot Peterson. All 32 of them.

Nikolas Cruz is on his own.

Today (2/26} I found this-

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

MetLife Loses 13,500 Customers They Owe Money To...Another Corporate Shocker

I have always detested insurance companies. I cannot imagine how much money I have paid them over my 40 years of home ownership, car ownership, health insurance, and even a little life insurance.

I am going to say 50k in vehicle insurance, 12k homeowners insurance, and probably 200k in health insurance. About a quarter million is what I've paid them thus far.

I have made claims totaling about 20k for auto and homeowners related losses, maybe another 50k for a couple of hospitalizations- the last one about 20 years ago. All in all, I have had claims totaling less than a third of what I have paid in over the years. My guess is that most healthy people have had a similar insurance experience.

That is a lot of money. Compulsory I might add. The government or corporate America forces most of that on us and I am not even going to speak to unemployment insurance or Workman's Comp Insurance- both items required by government entities. I actually know small businesses that threw in the towel over those expenses- giving rise to the contract labor boom in this country.

Today's topic du jour is Metropolitan Life. MetLife has stated that they have 13,500 customers which they have lost track of and owe money to. I have clipped the article because I'd like to point out how a smart CEO gets in front of a train wreck and takes responsibility before getting into trouble.

MetLife suddenly discovered- on their own- that they had 13,500 liabilities out there that had gone unaccounted for.

That's right. There were thirteen thousand people which were owed annuity payments and were somehow lost. The company takes responsibility for the big error, claims they found the mistakes on their own, says they will do better, and sets aside half a billion to pay the claims. This is a textbook example on how to triage your image. The stock price dipped- but not much.

So if you really believe they "discovered" this on their own and turned themselves in- let me be the first to say- "bullshit."

Some 20 years ago, my mother who dutifully paid in a couple hundred a month to Prudential over the course of a decade or so- was informed that Prudential could not make the promised annuity payments. They offered my mother some sort of puny cash settlement which she refused to take- I think it was half of what she had paid in. Instead mom opted for a paid in full life insurance policy of 50k which paid 4 times more than Prudential's offer.

All in all Prudential managed to screw over a million or so people, settled for cents on the dollar and essentially loaned themselves their customers money. They had to set aside a couple billion- but Prudential hardly blinked. Read the employee's account in the last two paragraphs.

So if you think MetLife actually caught this with no prompting and self reported it- then I have a bridge to sell you. It's the same bridge that MetLife is selling. Remember- these missing people have been missing for up to 25 years.

So after 25 years, what do you suppose was the catalyst that suddenly caused Rip Van Winkle er MetLife to wake up one day?

I'd make a decent wager that person(s) unknown were either suing for damages and payments, a discovery request had been initiated, or a pending audit by a state insurance commission. It seems highly unlikely that any form of whistle blower actually was at work here- since apparently 25 years worth of employees had not yielded one single employee who thought, "Gee what happens to all of that money MetLife is supposed to pay but can't find the people it belongs to?"

Well, I guess it's the CEO's story and he can tell it however he'd like. But please, don't ask some of us to believe that bullshit. We've been hosed too many times by corporate America and people like you. Please disregard all ethical or moral standards- and do what is minimally legal.

That's the standard we've grown accustomed to Mr Kandarian. You've earned your 15 million dollar a year salary. Our congrats on catching this after only 7 years at the helm.

Just for shits and giggles I found this.

Kandarian is a former executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation[3], an agency of the United States Government. Kandarian was appointed to head the PBGC on Dec. 2, 2001, by Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, announcing his departure in January 7, 2004 to return to his family in Boston. [4] He left on February 13, 2004.[5]

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Amazon Now Equipping Employees With Monitoring Devices - The Sunday Collage

Like shock collars for dogs- it just delivers a different kind of shock.

I have a special kind of dislike for dominant, controlling bosses. I think those feelings are sourced from the thousands of miners who died putting "rock into the box" from the underground operations in my hometown. As a child, we traded those stories of the people who died and who was responsible for their deaths. It doesn't take long to identify the villains.

So when I read that Amazon Inc., had invented and patented a wristband to track employees, it made the hackles on my neck stand up and brought me out of hiding.

For years, I've been reading blurbs here and there from current and former Amazon employees about what a crappy place it is to work.

The problem of course- is that corporate America and it's rich campaign contributing owners- get away with this type of conduct. Treating people like dogs, swapping shock collars for wristbands, seems ok we rationalize. We tell ourselves, "Well they can always quit." Unless that's the only job available since Amazon has destroyed every mom and pop business in the U.S. Or until you find yourself wearing a wristband.

That was the dystopian future painted by Orwell's novel, "1984." A future where everything sucks- which is starting to sound a lot like an Amazon warehouse. When you can electronically watch employees you can pressure them into working harder and cut employee overhead because you are forcing one person to do the work of two at a more casual, decent pace.

In the end, those kinds of working conditions trace right back to management and it's owner, Jeff Bezos. Bezos is worth a staggering 120 billion dollars- not quite enough I suppose- to curtail his electronic monitoring of employees. Guys like Bezos can never have enough. That ego of his must be the size of Vermont. You wanna hear the best part?

Wikipedia calls him a "philanthropist." One of the reasons they use this term is because Bezos and his wife contributed 2.5 million for a referendum for same sex marriage. He also donated 33 million for the education of illegal aliens. So I guess if you spend your money on gay marriage and illegal aliens that makes you a philanthropist. Oh and I forgot- Bezos bought the Washington Post so he could slam President Trump. More Bezos philanthropy.

They should let Amazon warehouse employees write the Bezos' biography for wikipedia. I have a strong feeling that despite all of that alleged philanthropy- the warehouse workers might not see it the same way.

Pay attention to how people treat the help. One day, they will treat you exactly the same way.

I've worked for people like Bezos. One place I worked at monitored employees with video cameras- they even caught me putting my feet up on a chair during the graveyard shift- about 3 a.m. one morning. They called me into the office to issue a warning about my deviant and aberrent behavior while the ten other residents of that sober house were sleeping. 

Maybe they should have focused more on the residents and a little less on the employees.

Mostly, I considered the job a volunteer gig and at nine bucks an hour- I wasn't looking for a career. A year or two after after I left that job- one resident killed another resident one night. Beat her with a pipe. Thankfully, I wasn't around with my feet up on a chair when that shit happened.

I am grateful that I no longer have to work for blood sucking, control freaks who must patent electronic devices to take the place of decent human supervision. Perhaps Bezos could take a few million and instead of endowing it to illegal aliens- offer the same benefits to his employees.

I'm not going to hold my breath looking for a little human decency here though- guys like Bezos never disappoint me. 


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Colin Kaepernick Could Have Used a Civics Class- The Sunday Collage

So this is what happens. Briefly, some background.

I have loosely followed the Kaepernick saga since Colin decided to sit for the national anthem. Colin was protesting racial inequality I guess, in as much as a guy making millions apparently felt like he wasn't getting a fair shake. This week, I read an article wherein Ray Lewis, former Baltimore Raven great, explained why Colin Kaepernick can't find a job in the NFL. According to Lewis, Kaepernick's girlfriend apparently likes to run her virtual mouth on twitter in addition to her day job. A racist tweet from her caused Ravens' management to drop any thought of signing Kaepernick. After reading this, I believe Ray Lewis is probably correct.

The other odd thing that happened is that I read that false letter on Facebook- attributed to the Kansas City Chief's owner- in which he demands that his players and staff all stand and respect the national anthem or he will fire them. Suspecting this was bullshit, mostly because of contracts and pussified owners, a quick check or two proved the letter was indeed, false. I also read where a few people refuse to watch pro football and are boycotting it. In all likelihood, these were not fans to begin with.

When I say odd things, I use the term "odd" because I find it strange that I have not been able to find a writer anywhere who can articulate with any level of precision- what the real issue is.

I'm not talking about residual racism or using the wrong venue to protest. I think we can agree on those things. This brings me to the topic du jour.

The study of the duties and rights of citizenship or civics. We attended civics class. We said the pledge of allegiance every morning.

I was a child of the Vietnam War. My uncle fought in it and my father, a rural news anchor, reported on it. The Vietnam War was unpopular and still remains so. The problem was that whether we agreed with the war or not- real friends and family were dying in it- some 58,000 souls.

That is where my reverence for our country began. Real people, many volunteering and getting wounded or killed, in a war with no support. Who would sign up for that?

Our country was made up of patriots. We attended civics classes. We believed in the mission of America and all of the opportunities we were given. We believed this was a great place to live and we had gratitude. So people signed up. They shouldered that duty and responsibility.

The Vietnam War probably changed our opinions of leadership forever. What it didn't change was the definition of a patriot. A patriot loves his country but a patriot doesn't have to love his government. In fact, some of our most famous patriots detested government and they died proving it. But the patriot spirit lives here.

So we can debate wars and inequality forever. What is not subject to debate is that hundreds of thousands of Americans that have been wounded and killed protecting our way of life.

That is the same way of life that allows me to speak here. That is the same way of life that allows Mr. Kaepernick a college education and a job making millions to play a game. One of the luckiest people on the planet, rich by every measure, born in a country where his physical skills mean big bucks. In another place, Colin's skills would probably go un-noticed.

When I hear the national anthem and see our flag, I think of our war wounded and dead. I think of all of the fallen police officers and funerals I have attended. Flags draped over coffins, bagpipes, widows and children crying or bewildered. The thought of disrespecting all those people who have sacrificed so much- while enjoying all of the freedoms and opportunities those sacrifices have given me- never enters my mind.

In uniform I stand and salute. As a citizen, I stand, I take off my hat and I place my hand over my heart. I do that to honor the dead and all of the gifts I have been given because of those folks. Standing at attention and showing some respect takes very little effort.

I do that I think because I was given all of those gifts including a civics class- where we discussed all of those issues. That is where I formed my opinions of patriotism, reverence for our dead, and  a sense of gratitude.

I can't help but think that Colin might have had a different view of things had he been given an opportunity to discuss and debate the merits of citizenship within the confines of a civics class while an un popular war raged on.

I'm not upset with Mr. Kaepernick. In a way I am sorry that he did not get the same education that our generation received. If he had, I think he would still be playing football.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Only Winning Move Is Not To Play- The Sunday Collage

- from the movie, WarGames.

In his book, "A New Earth", Eckhart Tolle talks at great length about the damage that the human ego causes.

Ego is a false sense of self, or who you think you are, created in your mind. This is what you present to the world as you. Of course it is false- but you can't possibly allow the world to see who you really are. Or so you think.

Imagine inheriting some kind of dictatorship such as the Supreme Leader of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. You've done absolutely nothing to earn such a position- but there you are- leading 26 million people around by the nose.

You buy in to the whole illusion. You must be great you tell yourself. The people around you expect great things, your ego convinces you that you must do great deeds, and so you begin all of your anti-American sabre rattling with a giant false sense of self- furthered along by those who surround you.

You kill a few people, including your uncle, aunt, and your brother, because you fear them. You fire missiles to and fro, issue threats, fire a missile over Japan, and then conduct an underground hydrogen bomb blast that appears to be successful. You are trying to convince the world that you are this fearless man that must be taken seriously.

And so it is, this version of the insanity of the planet emerges.  

Your false sense of self is now in direct conflict with other people who are just as unconscious as you are- they have their egos and false sense of self to attend to as well. These are our leaders, our politicians and generals.

Eckhart Tolle revealed all of this insanity in his book, A New Earth. It wasn't exactly proprietary information but I think the way Tolle revealed it was most effective. If you truly comprehend what Tolle writes, then you are left with the intrinsic truth that what he says is true. Because you have done those things so you know they must be true.

I remember reading A New Earth at the rate of 20 pages per day. It was hard for me to digest and comprehend. There would be days where I would read what Tolle had written, realize I was guilty of some ridiculous behavior, and find myself feeling ashamed. Two great benefits of comprehending what Tolle had written. I was no longer unconscious. I realized just how insane I had become over the years. The other great benefit was that the insanity of others becomes glaringly obvious.

I learned a lot over the intervening ten years. Not only is this planet inhabited by billions of unconscious nut jobs, but there is nothing you can do about it. We cannot slow them down. Their journey here apparently does not include a stop at the Port of Consciousness.

There is no intervention for this.

Millions upon millions of people have lost their lives over things as ridiculous as which make believe God to believe in- or which political system is best. The same topics banned from many homes- talk involving politics and religion- are the same things we've been dying over for thousands of years.

You'd think we'd have learned by now.

In the movie WarGames, the computer plays tic-tac-toe by itself until it learns that it is a game if played correctly- there can be no winning outcome. The computer then simulates global missile launches wherein mutual destruction is guaranteed. Like tic-tac-toe, the computer learns that there is no point in playing a game where there can be no winner.

The only winning move is not to play. Could we disengage? Sure. If the United States said "ya know Kim Jung un, we're not going to play. No more war games with South Korea, no sanctions, no threats of war- you just go ahead and do what you want. You are a sovereign state, we're going to let you behave like one.

Is that going to happen? Not a chance. Because the egos on our team are every bit as big as Kim's.

In a way, it really might be a zombie apocalypse. Their unconscious egos versus ours.

So sit back, relax, and watch this latest episode of uncontrolled egos playing out. No need to worry about it, there is nothing you can do. It's not like Kim or Don are going to grab Tolle's book and come to their senses.

Just remember that Kim Jung un had his uncle, aunt, and brother killed. What's the worst thing that could happen with a psychopath who finds nothing wrong with killing his own family?

I gotta run now, I've been looking at generators and nitrogen packed foods. I think UPS is at the door...

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

44 Days of Hell

I lost 35 pounds and 1 girlfriend. It was a good trade.

I aggressively applied the Atkins diet on Jul 18 to my 290 lb frame. When I say "aggressively" I am talking 30 carbs or less per day, every day. No creamer, no orange juice, no booze, no breath mints. The only carbs I would take in came from vegetables.

Coconut oil. On a tip from a commenter, I started using coconut oil. Three big globs in my three cups of coffee in the morning, I also used it to saute' vegetables at night. Costco has virgin, organic oil in 5 pound containers. I am a believer. My energy levels shot up almost immediately. After my coffee, I would drink one low carb protein drink, swallow my supplements, ( I am a huge believer in turmeric) and headed out for the gym.

I run/walk 5k every day which took me about 34 mins. I can usually make 4 days in a row before I have to take a day off. As my weight came off, my times improved and my knees hurt less.

I am an over pronator with flat feet. My heel strikes the ground first- so I bought a couple pairs of running shoes made for over pronators from 6 PM. com. I bought an inexpensive pair of Nikes just to walk around in. I bought an expensive pair of Sauconys to run in. I am a big Brooks fan but I find that those shoes break down on me after a month or so.

For lunch, it was usually salad to go- 4.51 cents at Pizza Pie Cafe or chicken. Dinner was usually a big chunk of meat, steak, hamburger, ribs, with sauteed vegetables.

I finally broke down and bought a scale and then I did something really sadistic. When my weight would refuse to go down for three days- I would crank up the exercise to 5 miles and fast on the same day. All I would consume was coffee, 1 protein drink in the morning, and water the rest of the day.

I lost a total of 8 pounds on the 3 days I fasted. Eating nothing and burning 1250 calories forces your body to burn fat. It's not just the 1250 calories you burn exercising on those days- it's all of the other calories you burn during a normal day and while sleeping.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I lost a girlfriend. We made a deal, at least I thought we had, to stick this diet thing out. She tapped out at the two week mark and that as they say, was that. I kind of take a que sera view to women and dating. I just haven't found anyone I can't live without. I know that sounds horrible but dating at my age is a different animal than when I was young. At my age people are through raising kids, everyone has had their career and most of us are financially secure. Men and women have leaned how to live without asking permission. So people date for different reasons at this age. Mostly it's companionship. It's not easy finding a good companion- or harder yet- finding someone you want to make some sort of longer term commitment with. That's been my experience thus far.

A friend of mine told me recently that the reason I was single was because I was an asshole. That may be true I thought- while silently noting that she too was single and at least two divorces ahead of me. Maybe she just has bad luck...

So what's the long term prognosis? Can I keep gaining weight every two years and then put myself through 6 weeks of hell? I don't think I wanna be pushing 60 and doing this again. I have a friend who eats properly 6 days a week and then on Saturdays- he eats nothing but garbage. I think I might give this a try- this one day a week junk food binge. My big fear here is that my shitty eating habits will spill over into other days.

Atkins works. It's just hard to stick with it although I did it once for 10 weeks and lost 82 pounds. The key I think is finding low carb foods you can tolerate and then combining it with as much exercise as you can. Just walking works well.

I have noticed that this diet gets harder and harder as I get older. The other day I was in the grocery store and looking in people's carts. My gawd we eat an unbelievable amount of pure shit in this country. It almost makes you wonder if the corporate oligarchy, big pharma, big insurance and healthcare, and corporate fast food- do this on purpose.

They keep winning and their customers- keep losing. The rest of us have to find a way out of the matrix. No wonder every parking lot has 20 handicapped spaces. They knew.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Taking the Context Out of History- The Sunday Collage

"For everything you know, there was a time when you didn't know it."

I remember my first commercial plane trip very well. I was pretty excited about it. It was uneventful as plane rides go. That trip in the early 70's had something not found on commercial airliners anymore.

The plane was full of cigarette smoke.

Everyone seemed to smoke back then. There was simply no point in complaining about it because you would be told to shut up by the smoking mob. That's how it was.

Today, nearly 50 years later, our culture has changed dramatically. The smokers are all dead or recovering. Smoking today is not only frowned upon and illegal in any number of venues- smoking in public may subject you to any number of verbal assaults and shitty looks. That type of obnoxious behavior never happened in the 70's. Some people feel entitled to engage others with that type of obnoxious behavior because now they stand with the new majority. I know that mentality well.

The point of this vignette is that our history is a shared experience. Human beings have been making mistakes for thousands of years and undoubtedly, we will continue to do so. We realize smoking is harmful and kills us now. The vast majority of us have learned that lesson, some of us the hard way, and most of us no longer smoke.

Our shared historical experience is full of mistakes. People generally don't make decisions thinking that they are bad decisions at the time or that their decisions will go horribly awry later on. That is the context of decision making- we take our best shot given the circumstances at that moment. We do the best we can and yet, our best decision making has spawned some remarkably bad mistakes with horrific consequences throughout history.

The truth is- we may not be that smart to begin with.

Owning slaves was considered normal back in the 17 and 1800's. Slaves were brought here and sold by other black "slavers" or traders. Slowly, covering some decades and perhaps a century, our collective conscience got the best of us. Treating people like property, like farm animals to be bought and sold at auction, was losing favor.

If you love irony, I have always loved this. A slave owner himself, Thomas Jefferson penned the famous sentence in the Declaration of Independence that "All men are created equal."

Can you imagine what might have happened if you had stood in front of the Second Continental Congress and asked, "Umm Tom, that "all men are created equal phrase" does that apply to slaves like the ones you own or did God just sort of exempt them according to your interpretation of God's intent?

Our collective history is full of mistakes. That's how we learn. That's not something to be ashamed of- that's something to hold sacred and not forget lest we keep making the same mistakes.

In 1862, we had the mass hanging of Indians in Mankato, Mn. Originally our government was going to hang over 300, but instead hanged just 38 at once. They were not tried or convicted of anything really, other than they were Sioux. It was all part of a war or uprising brought about by our own government- as is often the case. The great emancipator, Lincoln, settled on the number 39 and ordered the executions. (one Indian received a reprieve)

Who could forget the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee?

In 1917, mine owners in Arizona rounded up nearly 1300 striking miners, kidnapped them and forced them into rail cars, and dumped them in a desert 200 miles away. I can't even begin to list all of the laws that were broken and civil rights violations that took place. Not one person was ever prosecuted for the Bisbee deportation.

The 1942 illegal seizure, deportation, and false imprisonment of 130,000 Japanese- Americans. Our country ruined their lives, they lost most if not all of their property, and a few lost their lives.

I want you to remember that according to our Constitution in place at the time- all of these men were created equally and endowed with certain inalienable rights. They were also entitled to freedom from illegal search and seizure, due process, trial by jury, and all of the other protections in place and afforded to them by the Bill of Rights. Yet somehow, we simply ignored all of those inalienable rights as we deemed fit.

That is part of our history. Horrible mistakes made by our best and brightest leaders. Yet every one of those mistakes seemed justified at the moment we made our decisions. The context in which all of those mistakes were made can never be forgotten. They were all thought to be good decisions at the time. You cannot simply erase our collective history by tearing down statues or declaring certain individuals as racist. The time and the context are long gone.

History is our collective, cultural memory- attempting to erase our history will not change anything. The dead will not care. The history books will not change. Robert E Lee will still have come from a family of slave owners. So will Andrew Jackson, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Johnson, Sam Houston, John Hancock, James Madison, Zachary Taylor.

Are we going to declare all of them racist, remove all statues and documents tied to them, tear out pages of our history books?

I love history. Transcribed as accurately as possible by the winners, I try to understand what it must have been like to be a soldier out on the South Dakota prairie that winter at Wounded Knee. Or who were those people who had to physically round up Japanese Americans and take them away? I try to understand how they must have thought and felt- like they were doing the right thing. I find it all quite fascinating but the one thing I never want to forget is that at the time those things were done- those were the best choices and solutions available to us. History and the context in which it happens- are inseparable.

Like smoking on planes.

Once again I shall leave you with my all time favorite quote which sums up this piece quite nicely.

“Most of the harm in the world is done by good people, and not by accident, lapse, or omission. It is the result of their deliberate actions, long persevered in, which they hold to be motivated by high ideals toward virtuous ends.” 
― Isabel PatersonGod of the Machine