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.
We 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.
They 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 hair.
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.
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.
• 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.