Tag Archives: choice

Outside

outsideNext time on Biography

I’m on the outside
Lookin’ in

Oh I’m an outsider outside of everything
Oh I’m an outsider outside of everything
Oh I’m an outsider outside of everything
Everything you know
Everything you know
It disturbs me so

It’s trendy these days, or so it seems to me, for some among us to run around having conniptions of kittens because some law might apply to them and … gasp of horrors … they never had the opportunity to sign off on it first.

Well, la dee frickin’ dah! Who the fuck are you? Apparently I forgot that any one of me is worth a hundred of you. You’re special. You’re important. Me? I’m the official spokesperson for The Rest Of Us. Also known as the Wretched Refuse, the tired, poor huddled masses of the homeless, tempest-tost. I’m the elected leader of those not worthy to be ground to mush to fill the empty spaces in the waffle treads of your Nike footwear.

I’m the stranger in a strange land. As I look around and apply logic to what I see, the message comes in loud and clear. I do not belong.
Continue reading →

Proud sponsor of the American Scream

bank-robberI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: What of Mediocre Fred?

For newbies, Mediocre Fred is a decent, honest, hard-working guy. He doesn’t cheat on his taxes, obeys the law and is kind to small furry creatures. As such, he’s not exactly rewarded like a paragon of the American way.

Here in America we base our entire system of government on one simple principle: No freeloaders. You have to work for a living. As a nation we abhor the notion of those who work the system to get the promised land of freebies without pulling their own weight. Well, at least on the bottom end of the scale.

Mediocre Fred has worked every week of his life since he was 16. When still in school he worked part-time. After graduating with his high school diploma, he went full-time and has never looked back.

Over the decades Mediocre Fred has always worked. He’s had no pension, 401k plan, health insurance, vacation or paid days off. He just works. And when his fellow workers tried to unionize and the company closed and bulldozed the store and built a new non-union store across the street, Mediocre Fred always seemed to land on his feet. He’d just get a new job and keep his nose to that grindstone.

That’s what you’re supposed to do, right?
Continue reading →

Police State

sleeping_policeI ask if you will agree with this humble hypothesis:

Actions without consequence tend to repeat.
–Tom B. Taker

Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

If you stick a fork in an electrical socket and it shocks you, are you likely to do it again? If you touch a hot stove and get burned are you in a hurry to touch it some more?

Tell a dog to stay off the sofa and shoo him away a single time. The rest of the time allow him to lounge all over the bloody thing to his heart’s content. What lesson do you think the dog has learned?

Do you know about the most powerful force in the universe? It’s a child when improperly parented. That particular organism has the potential, in the right circumstances, to learn faster than any form of life we’ve ever encountered. Tell a child, “No, you cannot have the cookie.” Now comes the tricky part: Let the child eat all the cookies it wants. Maybe you’re busy playing Farmville. Maybe you’re composing your next tweet. Maybe, just maybe, you’re sick enough in the head to be doing it on purpose. Whatever. You can bet your life that the message has been received loud and clear. It’s the most instantaneous form of training we’ve ever discovered.

Try to teach them something important and it’s like pounding your head against a wall. But being assholes? That they absorb like sponges.

As I often try to do in my writings, I’m cleverly building to a point. It seems pretty obvious that a lack of consequences does not generally lead to good things. That child? She’s a future Chloe who has a shit fit on national television because her parents bought her a new car for her 16th birthday but it wasn’t an Escalade. She hates them, she does. Poor baby.

Have you accepted the hypothesis yet?

I was thinking about all of this when I violently had one of those aha moments. What if the precocious child in this story was the internet? And what if the role of mommy and daddy was played by the police? What might that look like?

Per usual I’ll begin with a charming anecdote and then slowly build up to the hate. Join me, won’t you? It’ll be fun!
Continue reading →

Juvenile Criminal Thoughts

shotgun

I have no idea if this is a 20 gauge. This is not a blog particularly concerned with the accurate identification of firearms. I do believe, however, it is a shotgun.

This week brought the news that a 12-year-old boy in the 8th grade took a loaded sawed-off 20 gauge pump shotgun to his school and opened fire, seriously wounding an 11-year-old boy (shot in the face) and a 13-year-old girl in the school’s gym.

cold… calculated… premeditated… random…

The New Mexico state police stated that the attack was “planned.” Part of that planning included the shooter issuing warnings to friends, advising them to stay away from school.

The 20-gauge shotgun is a type of smoothbore shotgun shell that is smaller in caliber (.615) than a 12 gauge (.729). It is often used as a beginning shooter’s practice round and is noted by its yellow hull.

A 20-gauge shotgun is sometimes considered more suitable for hunting certain types of game, because it damages less meat, which makes it suitable for most game birds.

Source: Wikipedia – 20-gauge shotgun

The firearm was obtained by the shooter from “family members,” the police said. The shooter’s Facebook page featured a picture of the shooter beside a deer he had killed during a hunting trip.
Continue reading →

Now You’re Cooking: An Airlock Prayer

I'm in the sphincter.

I’m in the sphincter.

Admittedly there is at least one major bummer about being an atheist. It’s a pretty big one, too. Quite simply: I’m deprived of a bunch of gods. Dammit. I guess that comes with the territory. So, in self defense, I learned to pray only to the Great Airlock.

“Oh, Great Airlock, please hear my humble plea.”

“I’m sorry, Tom. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

It’s easy to see how the Great Airlock could come in handy. Alas, it never quite works out that way. The Airlock is a cruel god. But you still gotta believe, right?

I’ve pontificated about The Great Airlock in the past. In theory, He represents immutable consequences to choice and action. The origin mythology is exceedingly simple: When the button is pushed the door opens. The door cares not what is on the Other Side. The door cares not if the occupant is ready. The door opens. The results are what they are. Nothing can change that. Nothing. Not even a god.
Continue reading →

Here’s to bad decisions, tonight is kinda special

hitandrunAn otherwise beautiful young person stood in court handcuffed and wearing an orange jump suit. Tearfully they addressed the court.

“I’m sorry for what I did,” they sobbed. “Fleeing the scene of the accident is the biggest mistake of my life.”

I do not doubt the sincerity. The young person was just sentenced to more than three years in prison. Also a mother, the woman was losing her son. I do, however, doubt the judgment. I doubt the assessment that the decision to run was the mistake. Sadly it was only the tip of a titanic-sized iceberg and wasn’t the first or last lapse of judgement on her part.

Where did things go awry? It was hours before the accident when a totally sober person made the decision to embark on an evening of drink with no thought process to address simple questions like, “How will I get myself home?”

The person who made that decision, although fully conscious, uncompromised and presumably rational, didn’t stop to consider the possibility of fateful events. Such planning didn’t rise to the level of being important. There was fun to be had.

Of course, we all know decision-making skills hit the toilet as soon as strong drink hits the gullet. That’s the way it works. No big surprise there. That’s why it’s prudent to make such important decisions and plans well before the alcohol begins to flow.

The record shows the young person didn’t exercise much care when it came to driving.  Her driver’s license had been suspended at least four times since 2009. She had at least 12 convictions on traffic offenses (none DUII related) since 2007. Offenses included speeding, not wearing a seat belt, driving with a suspended license, and use of a cell phone while driving.

Without a plan and legally intoxicated, the decision was made. The young person would operate a motor vehicle while drunk. It would be a fateful night.

Meanwhile, not too far away, a bicyclist had a flat tire. In the dark and on the side of the road, he was then hit from behind by the drunk driver. He was sent to the hospital ICU unit. He suffered several broken bones, including both legs, a ruptured spleen and other minor injuries.

The driver did not stop. She did not render assistance to her victim. Her alcohol-addled brain deduced (rightfully so) that she’d get in trouble. It was her choice to flee. Apparently what she was unable to deduce was that her very best option at that moment was to do the right thing. And that was something her hobbled mind was unable to fathom.

It didn’t end there, though.

Later, once she was sober and presumably had her normal decision-making abilities restored, her next move was to take her car to a body shop in a calculated attempt to conceal what she had done. Luckily someone tipped off police and, finally, once she was left with no other recourse, she made a decision to take responsibility and turn herself in. It was a long time coming and had little meaning by then.

Once again, I conclude things like this come down to a lack of empathy and an inability to reason consequences for our own actions. Young people, it seems to me, are especially prone to this of late. The news reports are rife with hit-and-run cases. It almost feels like hit-and-run is now standard procedure rather than an aberration.

In this case, in addition to jail, the judge also suspended her driver’s license for five years. That feels woefully insignificant to me. Without significant consequences, behavior will not change. She should have lost her driving privileges for life. Not merely because she drove drunk but because of all the choices she made.

Prison isn’t exactly known as a system that churns out improved persons. So, apparently, our future has the possibility of this woman back behind the wheel. I do not like the thought of that.

Thinking About Drugs Makes Me Want Drugs

I rarely drink but when I do it's something unusual.

I rarely drink but when I do it’s something unusual.

Vicodin! Oh, my poor wee bairns.
Credit: A Guru’s Lament

First things first. I hate drugs*.

*Per the Drug Subsistence Manual (DSM) III: A definition of “drug” that excepts caffeine and alcohol.

As I was saying, I hate drugs. I almost never take them. Present company of alcohol and caffeine excepted, of course. I have to be in some dire straits to even consider it and, even then, I generally take less than the recommended dosage.

I don’t like ibuprofen and I don’t like Tylenol. I even eschew aspirin. My wife knows a lot about prescription medications she’ll often respond to my whining by saying something like, “Take four of these horse-sized pills.” I’ll usually only take one or two.

Topping my list of things I hate is nicotine and marijuana. Gross and pointless. I understand life is hard. My advice? Eat it. (Life, I mean.) If you’re not going to live in the reality of the here and now, why bother? What’s the point?

I do admit, though, that Walter White’s “blue ice” looks tempting. I wouldn’t mind taking some of that fictionalized meth for a spin. Just one time.

And yet…
Continue reading →