Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Several people I knew were certain the world would explode, if Barack Obama were elected. I kept reassuring them it would not. I laughed to myself as I looked around the Cracker Barrel restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico on November 5, 2008. Everything was normal. Andy and I sat there among college-aged students and families. The world had not been shaken.
It’s different in other parts of the world. In Iran, they did what we did. They went to vote, but the results are in question. Forget the “hanging chads” in Florida. Little pieces of paper can’t compare to what the people of Iran are facing.
Some Iranians feel like the election was rigged. Government leaders deny it, but the level of mistrust is high. The idea that “every vote counts” doesn’t hold the same meaning there as it does here in the United States.
Americans have always believed in protests (and revolutions), it’s in our DNA. We rarely anticipate the government taking action to shed the blood of protesters. It is possible for peaceful protests to become violent at the hands of government police. Ask the Civil Rights protesters?
In Iran, peaceful protests are taking place in defiance of government leaders. They are now deemed “illegal.” One Web site reports Iranian police and militia are clashing with “terrorist groups."
The stories from Iran are heartbreaking and downright scary. And, it’s difficult to tell the truthful stories from the fake ones. The Iranian government took steps to stop the flow of information, but it continues to trickle out through Internet sites, cell phones and Twitter.
The more I read, the more I wonder if I would have the courage to do what the protesters are doing right now. The protesters are taking to the streets not knowing whether they will return home or not.
I’ve had the courage to step up to the plate in the past. I’ve done it as a journalist and as an advocate for a family member, but I’ve also done it in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
The movie was great, until it happened. The screen went blank and the emergency lights flooded white light throughout the once darkened theater. On a normal day, it’s a bad thing when a room goes dark. In a movie theater, it’s a bad thing when the lights come on abruptly.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
A CNN report by John Couwels on June 3 shared the sordid details of how four Tampa teens are accused of sodomizing a fellow male classmate with a broomstick and a hockey stick.
Prosecutors allege multiple attacks took place over a two-month period. The victim didn’t report it. The witnesses didn’t report it. Yes, people heard the attacks and no one reported it. None of the four accused reported their alleged acts. School officials began an investigation after a fight brought the issue to light.
I was shocked back in the early 1990s when a similar incident occurred at a small, Georgia middle school. Back then, the case was prosecuted; but many in town seemed to explain away the behavior with a wink and the old saying, "boys will be boys."
The news of this modern-day court case, reminded me of that story I reported on so many years ago. It made me sick to my stomach back then. This Florida story makes me sick to my stomach now, especially as locker room crimes continue to be labeled as horseplay.
The four boys aged 14 to 15 are accused of assaulting a 13-year-old boy. They each face four counts of sexual battery. Each is charged as an adult. Each count has a maximum sentence of 30 years. Surely, the middle school students can do the math — up to 120 years. They are facing a lifetime in jail plus a couple of decades for good measure.
Have we really arrived at the sad day when parents or school officials have to spell it out and say, “It’s wrong to hold down a classmate and sodomize him with sticks.”