Question Marks….

Question Marks….

Question pexels-photo-356079.jpegmarks are the bane of my existence and at the same time the fire in my belly. I guess feel if I ain’t searching then I am not really alive. This week has been fraught with them. The woulda’s, coulda’s and shouldas that permeate our psyches after such an incredibly senseless tragedy.

Whether you are a student at Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School or a parent you play the tape over and over, hitting rewind again and again. We hope and pray the results will come out differently until we finally accept the harsh realities of life. Then we have investigations and studies. I think in some way to soothe our consciences. You know, at least we tried to be better. We still don’t know why?spillednews-00-Parkland-school-shooting-in-Florida 2

9/11,Columbine, Sandy Hook, Orlando, Vegas. We could have just cued up the “Never Again” tapes from all of them. Have we made any progress? In a manner of speaking. Airports, ball parks, office buildings, places of government are all hermitically sealed from the bad guys. I guess that is an improvement to some but it feels like a regression to me. We have not eliminated the disease but just learned how to live with it.

I have thought a lot about the gun thing. Several friends of mine have guns for hunting and protection. That’s fine but to a man they could not find any valid reason for an assault rifle or high capacity magazines. I could get crazy about it but to what avail? We have well over 300 million guns in our country. At least 2% are high capacity weaponry. That’s over 6 million. Even if you banned them now there would still be that many out there. How can we create any sort of sense of ease in our schools, malls or homes?

I got to thinking about the NRA. They are no different from Congress when it comes to their estimation of the will of the people or their members. Screw’em, they don’t understand. A majority of NRA members are for tighter gun control legislation. That’s not the message I am getting from the top. We have taken the second amendment that was enacted when we had muskets and morphed that into the right to conceal carry 45’s or open carry AR15’s. Really?

Moving down my list is my total disbelief at the senator from my new state of Florida, Marco Rubio. Don’t worry he is one of many that will look you straight in the eye and say the fact that he has received over $3.5 million from the NRA has absolutely no effect on how he votes? I am not the sharpest pencil in the drawer but please don’t try my patience on this one. As it relates to our elected representatives they are complicit. If not on guns then on banking or oil and gas or whatever.lobbyist 2

One of the big takeoffs after our latest tragedy has been the swing to mental health as the culprit. Yes, this young man has had a very dysfunctional life over the last few years. But so have a lot of other people. Let’s assume for a moment that everyone who has issues could be a potential killer. Stats will tell you at any given point in time there are 10% of our population, or about 35 million of our fellow Americans who suffer some sort of mental illness. Forget about the cost, how in God’s name can we find facilities and staff to man them for those types of numbers? And then how can we instill in these tainted ones the gumption to continue treatment?

As in everything else we want someone somehow to provide the magic bullet. We will find a drug that cures all. Perhaps Virtual Reality to Artificial Intelligence is the way to Nirvana. I’ve got it! We will just find everyone who is not right and bring them in. Then we can find the most well adjusted person in the world if there is one. We can clone them or better yet use 3D printing to replicate the perfect brain and install it in our troubled brethren. We can do it laparoscopically on an out patient basis. Man, am I good or what?

This is not reductio ad absurdum. Crisis rears its ugly head every day of our lives. It is not the bane but the nature of our existence. From the shooter to the student to the teacher to the parent to security guard to the FBI, life in a way is not pretty. Or at least not without its ups and downs. I happen to believe it is the nature of man or woman as imperfect beings.That neither dooms us to a life of despair nor guarantees success.

And that is my final question to myself and to you. Parkland is a high end town. If not the top 1% at least the top 3 or 4% hang put there. So money didn’t really provide security. Our whole ethos is under question. What are our supposed values and do we really have the interest and the guts to live up to them? That school is about 50 miles south of us but it feels beyond close to me.

I am blown away by the kids not only here but throughout America. There is an inkling of a sea change. Do they have the wherewithal and persistence to carry on? I really hope so. They have caused me to question a lot of things How about you?th-6

As always
Ted The Great


Investigations (asking questions)are part of our national canvas from train wrecks, to 9/11. Some are useful (Watergate) and some are just fishing expeditions. Some are window dressing. The results are many times critical and therefore watered down. Over the Congressional history there have been over 1500 committees to provide the structure. Unfortunately there are too many overlaps to arrive at useful conclusions and if they are there they are rarely acted upon.

There are over 13,000 lobbyists in DC. There is upwards of $4 billion currently being spread over 535 members of Congress. Unless I missed my math that is about $7.5 million per. Now of course that money has nothing to do with the way they voteth-4

The NRA has around 5 million members. It holds safety and gun education thought the country. With approximately 1.4% of the population of America it is considered one of the top 3 most influential lobbying groups. As far as money spent the top five are the US Chamber of Commerce,National Association of Realtors American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America.

A study was done by professors from Princeton and Northwestern after accumulating some 20 years of data. The opinions of the lower 90% of wage earners have little or no effect on the decision makers.

Where Do I Go?…..

I did not post a blog last week. I wasn’t goofing off. I just couldn’t get it to work. Truth be told I wrote two and they both stunk in my book. All of you reading would probably say what makes you think the others have been any good? Point taken. This week’s events make originality and appropriate commentary even more difficult.

thWe got the news about Fort Lauderdale at 4:00 mass for Ash Wednesday. We had been playing golf that morning and Kathy and I looked at each other with a strange unknowing grimace. When we got home it played out in breathless attempts by the media to beat each other to the punch with information on the shooter or sticking a mic in front of a mom or dad who knew their child would not be coming home.

This was repulsive and we turned it off not out of disrespect but because we had been here so many times before since Columbine in 1999. There have been six shootings at schools already this year. There have been rapes, murders, beatings and hit and runs in the thousands in 2018 throughout our land and yet we claim violent crime is on the downswing. From what to what?

I can’t tell you why but a vision popped into my head of Viet Nam too many years ago. Our Swift Boat base was a series of barges lashed together in the middle of the river. A Vietnamese gun boat had been anchored in the same waterway about one click upstream from us. A sapper had floated down and blown up the vessel and himself resulting in 7 deaths. The drab olive green body bags were set in a row on our helo pad awaiting transport to wherever.

Seaflt5They stayed there In the hot steaming sun for days and days. They reeked and body fluids seeped from one or two ripped ones. I thought to myself, these people have no respect for their own. They failed to recognize the essence of human life. How can anyone who considers themselves to be human beings stoop to such levels of disinterest and nonchalance? They were so attuned to death that this might be might be the end of their society.

Fast forward almost fifty years. The bodies are lined up not on a God forsaken outpost in Nam but in a well to do neighborhood in South Florida. The coroner was going to be at the school performing his grim task until all hours of the morning. School was closed…until Monday. Time marches on.

I picked up my Wall Street Journal and Palm beach Post from the driveway at first light. I glanced at our local paper knowing it would be chock a block with interviews with a rather provincial but justifiable slant. After a brief perusal I moved to the Journal. There sandwiched between stories on the front page was a short three column article headlined by the picture of a mom who was crying with the ashes from church still fresh on her head.

The competing headlines dealt with inflation, Jacob Zuma’s resignation, the VIX and ice dancing. The ensuing pages featured, scandals here and abroad, military parades, editorials and, oh yes the finish of the front page story on the shootings. This is not blasting Newscorp or Dow Jones but was the minimal coverage reflective of our own thoughts? Really sorry for those poor people but what are we having for breakfast?

I am not calling you out any more than I do myself. I think part of it is that we OD on disaster. There is such a clamor for the inside story the news organizations pump out matter 24/7. The part that gives me the creeps is that throughout our fifty states there are some very sick people who are watching the non stop notoriety and fantasizing about how they would look and be perceived.

I keep going back to the respect for life. It is not just in killing but in every form of abuse. Women are beaten by their husbands on a regular basis. We recoil at parents chaining their kids to beds for years but how many youths are kept at bay psychologically by domineering parents. We had a friend who was a counselor in the well to do Bainbridge Island schools in Washington. She said the stories of sexual abuse by parents and siblings would curl your

The Weinstein’s and the Allens and the Lauers are not anomalies. Bernie Madoff? He got caught. There are thousands of cases of fraud and robbery of the elderly and the rich and famous in every state and county. One of our biggest untold crimes is sex trafficking….of teen and preteen girls and boys. The biggest events up the ante. World Series and Super Bowls and even the NCAA’s are prime time for these slime. Yet we overlook them as victimless crimes. Really?

Now TTG don’t get your knickers in a knot. That happens in Vegas and other big cities. Not in our little burghs. Think again kids. You have either seen it or heard it and looked the other way. This may all seem a far cry from a school shooting but is it? Bad things happen in fertile fields. Down here, Martin County Florida seems like a quiet friendly place. They just busted several dozen people in a massive drug raid.

I don’t expect you or me to dwell forever on this tragedy or that. But maybe we should all take a long look at our environs. If something seems bad maybe it is. When we see the bad things happen is it just an aberration or a symptom that has been just below the surface for a long time. Maybe is time to look around and under the hood? No play on words of course.

As always
Ted The Great


On exchanges in the price US gun manufacturers’ jumped 5-10% after the word on the Fort Lauderdale shootings got out. Gotta make a buck, don’t we?

In 2016, there were more than 600 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in Alaska, Nevada, New Mexico and Tennessee. By contrast, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont had rates below 200 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. Rest easy that means there were only 13,000 murders and around 100,000 rapes in the US. It is also noted that only 46% of violent crime gets reported to police.

th-3• Human trafficking earns profits of roughly $150 billion a year for traffickers throughout the world The following is a breakdown of profits, by sector:
◦ $99 billion from commercial sexual exploitation
◦ $34 billion in construction, manufacturing, mining and utilities
◦ $9 billion in agriculture, including forestry and fishing
◦ $8 billion dollars is saved annually by private households that employ domestic workers under conditions of forced labor
• While only 19% of victims are trafficked for sex, sexual exploitation earns 66% of the global profits of human trafficking.


• According to the FBI, a woman is battered every 15 seconds.
• Louisiana ranks 2nd in the nation for homicides related to domestic abuse.
• 2-4 million American women are abused each year.
• White, Black, Hispanic & Non-Hispanic women have equivalent rates of violence committed by intimate partners.
• Nearly 1/2 of men who abuse their female partners, also abuse their children.


Brain Crossings…..

e867ebfb3798fe91c7feb95e999977e3In these parts there is a new train in town. It is a privately owned railroad called Brightline. A few weeks ago it began high speed rail service from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach. This is more of a demo run as they hope to provide a high speed link several times a day from Miami to Orlando and the wonderful world of Disney in the years to come. As if South Beach wasn’t already an amusement park?

Like anything new it is not with controversy and this became exacerbated when a car, a pedestrian and a bike rider were killed by the aforementioned super liner in the first week of service. Your heart goes out to those left behind but the ensuing outcry leaves one scratching his or her head.

In all of the accidents the gates were down and the red lights flashing and bells ringing to sound the alarm. In each case the victim chose to try to beat the train against all odds. It does not take a huge bit of brain power to say they were incredibly wrong.Yet the c


larion call for investigations is afoot. Public outrage demands the whole project be reconsidered.Have we all taken leave of our senses? Is this the time where we are willing to take anything with the smallest possibility for danger and try to “people proof” it? A fool’s errand.

I really had to think about this one. In trying to figure it out I am going to consider mental incompetence, ignorance or pure folly. If someone is not in complete control of their senses I get it and feel horrible for him or her. The ignorance part is problematic. Does someone not know what a railroad crossing looks like and especially when it is giving at least three different signals to stop? Lastly the folly is just that. Tempting fate and the laws of physics, we know one of the people tried to dash across in some sort of weird challenge. All incredibly sad.

It brings a number of concepts to mind. Stupidity, common sense, intelligence et al. What does it tell us about ourselves? We are now placing a premium on learning and in specific, the fields of technology and engineering. Our best and brightest might be brilliant in one area but not in others. You can be a savant in quantum physics and not have a clue about the normal vagaries of life. I wonder if we should now have in addition to the standard IQ, a practical IQ or an emotional IQ. What are you crazy, TTG?

th-5We are fond of using catchy phrases like “a few cards short of a deck” or “not the sharpest pencil in the drawer” to describe our fellow travelers. That guy is “dumb as a stone”. Whatever works but perhaps we are a bit too full of ourselves. How many times have you asked yourself what on earth was that high profile person or institution thinking? I am not talking train tracks but public pronouncements that bear no resemblance to reason. You see a product or a TV show and and you think who was the idiot that dreamed this one up?

There are two sides to this. The first is the high and mighty exec or committee that preaches from Olympus. They have been working on this or that for so long they have effectively shielded themselves from the outside world. The are beyond confident and th-35ergo do not take input much less criticism very well. They know what is right for the unwashed masses and their arrogance loses elections or billion of dollars on an ill fated

The other part is how much real thought goes into things. As mere mortals we don’t really like to think too deeply. We want everything encapsulated from philosophy to theology. We really dislike tough questions that can’t be answered yes or no. We want to be entertained and occupied from outside. To many the thought of spending quiet time is the epitome of boredom.

The kids of today are the leaders of tomorrow. It is a known that they are severely lacking in critical thinking….the ability to think clearly and reason about what to do and to believe. They are lacking common sense because they have rarely failed. When hit with intangibles or a theorem without definitions they are stumped. They lack the ability to problem solve and perform life’s skills. It has all been done FOR them and not BY them. That have never had the chance to make a mistake and learn from it.

It is also said the youth of today are becoming more detached. They can communicate electronically which negates the need for social skills. Why read a book when you have YouTube or Facebook? You ask them a question and they want to Google the answer. If it gets at all sticky they can give you a “Dunno” or just say they are too busy to spend their time so foolishly. They view you impatiently and say how is that going to make them money in the real world? They are right. What was I thinking?

Now this seems a long way from somebody getting blasted to smithereens by a Bullet train. Then again maybe we are seeing the red lights and crossing gates and paying them no heed ourselves. I guess I am strange bird that goes deep into thought. I should probably just plod mindlessly forward. Doubtless it be a lot more fun and I could spare myself the angst. Let me get back to you. I really have to think about that. I hope you do too.

As always
Ted The Great


Every two hours a train slams into a car at a crossing in these United States. 20% of those crashes are into the sides of trains that have already partially gone through the crossing.

Brilliant projects beyond the Edsel: Brown University received $5,000,000 to research whether or not being a member of sorority or fraternity would lead a student to drink more. The National science Foundation received several hundred thousand dollars to see if we were being stressed by politics today.

Intelligence…the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.

Stupidity…behavior that shows a lack of good sense or judgment.
Common sense.. sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts

faviconI.Q Intelligence quotient…in general, an assessment of your ability to think and reason. You IQ score is a standardized way of comparing this ability with the majority of people the same age as you are.

Go To and see how you fare. You tell me yours and I will tell you mine.