Archive for January, 2011

I’m no fan of Godsmack

Excuse my logic, but don’t many people have a way of perverting their religion (this goes for all denominations) in ways that would almost leave them better off with no religion at all? In support of this question, I will leave you with more questions but no answers because I believe that to get to the truth each person must forge his own path and seek answers on their own..  So I would urge anyone reading to ponder the sampling of questions and observations below.

There was a book written by U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Robert L. Scott entitled “God is My Copilot.”  Wasn’t that just a tad egotistical of the good general?  Shouldn’t God be the pilot?  Doesn’t the title imply that the general was elevating himself above the status of his creator?

 Simpler to comprehend but no less illogical, dog is God spelled backwards.  People always tout dog as man’s best friend. Isn’t that backwards too?  Shouldn’t God be man’s best friend?

Isn’t it a sad commentary on society as a whole when we see so many people worshipping other people more than they do their God?

Isn’t it also crazy when someone declares idiotically “so and so has more money than god?”  Excuse my logic, but God is far above needing legal tender.

What about that trucking company known as “Guaranteed Overnight Delivery” that highlights its initials which are G.O.D.?  Crass commercialism.  Isn’t it akin to taking the lord’s name in vain?

How about people who elevate patriotism to the status of a religion?  We say the pledge of allegiance in schools, but quiet time for prayer whereby a student can pray in whatever fashion they choose is rarely allotted in the schedule. 

Then I ask, what do we make of people who allow their lives to be guided more by astrology than their Bible, Torah or Koran?

Then we have the current dilemma faced by the Catholic Church.  It is true that Jesus never married and those who choose to preach his gospel in the Catholic faith are displaying their fealty to him by remaining single.  Yet today the Catholic Church is rife with scandals of indiscretion by priests. Why does the Church fly in the face of the current realty when other major religions allow their clergy to marry? Why do they continue to prohibit marriage by their priests?

And now for the million dollar question concerning religion that a man once asked me. I was in my mosque attending a wedding of a friend’s family member. This man came up to me and said that it was his first time in a mosque and he wasn’t sure how to behave.  I responded that the mosque is a good place and he should feel comfortable and at home as he would in any other place of worship.  Then he hit me with it.  “Greg,” he began.  “Why is it that in this day in age we have so many religions, each professing to worship our creator and everyone goes around saying how religious they are, yet there’s so much killing in the world?”

That man I believe was a truth seeker.  I was awestruck by his question.  I do not have an answer.  The question is far too grandiose in scope.  The best thing I can do is put it out there for others, perhaps someone reading this blog, to provide me the answer.

Copyright 2009; Greg S. 

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Stop the Insanity!

Excuse my logic but why do many states have laws on the books that make it impossible to at least detain and perform a psychiatric evaluation of a potential murderer or rapist who is a clear and present danger until after that person has already killed or raped an innocent victim?

Sadly, the recent case of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting is just another example of a tragedy that may have been prevented if the warning signs Jared Loughner was leaving a trail of had just been heeded.  His was a textbook case of a disillusioned and troubled youth who perhaps could have been stopped from committing his heinous act if laws were in place protecting the public’s safety from individuals with an evident proclivity for bringing harm to others.

Oh I know now you’re thinking “innocent until proven guilty” and the right to a fair and speedy trial.  You’re ready to accuse me of trampling on an individual’s constitutional rights.  However, I am not advocating long term incarceration of people who are simply deemed threatening but who have not actually committed a crime.  It’s not as if I am proposing a lethal injection or electric chair for a person who hasn’t even done anything wrong yet. 

Rather, I am proffering that states and the federal government should do something to amend the legal system so that it’s proactive rather than reactive.  We need to detain and question people who are making threats or displaying other forms of deviant behavior BEFORE they can act out on their negative fantasies. The components that comprise the fourth amendment and probable cause may need to be altered to reflect the dynamics of a changing world.

I can remember as a boy when a relative of mine attempted to stab another relative of mine with a kitchen knife but ended up jamming the dagger into the dining room wall instead.  The police were called and upon their arrival they explained that the only way they would be legally allowed to make an arrest of the aggressor would be if the knife had actually made contact with the other person.  The memory of that episode still resonates indelibly in my mind some 40 years after it happened.

Fast forward to much more recent times.  There was the recent case in July, 2010 of Latiea Boyer, age 29 from Garfield, NJ. who was gunned down by a man who had just been let out of prison a week earlier. Her assailant, Quashaun Harris of Paterson, NJ had been released on $400,000 bail one week prior after being held on charges of three counts of attempted murder.  Ms. Boyer, a Navy veteran and mother of a 12 year old was targeted because she was slated to testify against Harris in his upcoming murder trial.  Still think the system as it is works?   

The obvious question is how in the world a 19 year old Paterson youth can get $400,000 posted on his behalf.  Yet, the more important question is how a fine young woman such as Ms. Boyer was thrown to the wolves by a legal system that allowed her to be killed by a man who was as obvious a threat as anyone could ever be.

Look at the 1999 Columbine massacre that left 15 dead and the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting that claimed 33 lives.  In both cases the perpetrators of these gruesome crimes were “troubled” youths who had shown clear cut hints at their instability.  This is not to say the problem is confined to young people. Scores of less publicized mass shootings have been committed by murderers of all ages who showed all the signs of a powder keg ready to explode.   

If a person is showing tell tale signs of a destructive or violent personality he needs to be taken off the streets, if for just several days so trained psychiatric professionals can assess his level of danger to the society.

Otherwise we will find ourselves again and again in the future asking the question “What went wrong?”. 

 

Copyright 2009, 2011; Greg S.

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The Grass Would Be Greener

Excuse my logic, but why don’t we legalize marijuana nationwide and have the government or the medical profession oversee its safe growth instead of continuing with the current quagmire where it is being sold on the black market by criminal youths and of defective quality?  “Run on thought?” you ask. Guilty as charged.  Please understand that often when I set out in this blog to do battle with the illogic that pervades our world, I get very excited and animated.

Many years ago (but not anymore) I used to smoke marijuana so I speak with first hand experience when telling you that there definitely is such a thing as “bad” dope.  Just a for instance – I once shared a single solitary joint with a dealer who would end up serving time and it sent me on a trip I will never forget. This marijuana caused symptoms in me most commonly attributed to pot that has been laced with PCP (phencyclidine).  While driving my car I passed a cemetery and swore I was already buried there.  A short while later, I became very much lost in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, a town only ten minutes from my own home. In a panic I pulled over my car and ran for a deli where I instantly downed a large soda because of the “cotton mouth” I was experiencing.  The kicker is a guy I knew from college walked into this store and began calling me by name but I didn’t even know my own name at this point.  Imagine being so strung out that you don’t know your own name! That man saved my life that day because he came up to me and asked if I had been smoking grass or something worse. When I answered yes, he took control of the situation. For the next two hours, he walked me around and around the same city block in the frigid winter air until I had straightened out. He took the ½ ounce bag of grass that I had and threw it down a sewer.

Some people who have ingested or smoked drugs laced with PCP aren’t as lucky as I was that day.  A high dose of PCPs can cause hallucinations, seizures, coma or even death according to a website called “The Partnership AT DRUGFREE.ORG”.  Some street names for PCP are Angel Dust, Killer Weed, Wack, Rocket Fuel and I like this one – embalming fluid.  Yes, PCPs are a component to something they fill you up with when you are dead. Lovely.   As much as I was a seasoned doper, I can’t tell the reader whether marijuana is typically laced with PCP by your average street dealer or by bigger suppliers higher up in the drug dealing hierarchy.  But I can tell you it’s dirty business.  Sometimes a person is sold nothing more than oregano tainted with PCP.  Much higher profit for the bad guys there.  Other times PCP is used to add to the weight of real marijuana, the net effect being that you pay for an ounce of grass but are only getting a half ounce of actual grass.  Other times, dealers and their superiors are looking to distribute a product that will be extremely potent (figuring that you’ll come back for more) and the dazzling array of effects PCP has on the user were just described above. 

However, PCPs aren’t the only dangerous carcinogen to make their way into marijuana.  The United States used to spray the herbicide paraquat on Mexican and Hawaiian  marijuana crops.  This practice supposedly has been discontinued.  However, do we really know what governments in Latin American and Asian countries are doing to combat the proliferation of marijuana?  Might they be spraying paraquat or some equally dangerous herbicide on crops that will make their way to our country in the present day?  Paraquat can cause severe lung damage according to CannabisMD.net, Cannabis Medical Dictionary, a website.  This website also points out that in 1998 the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration at one point was planning to spray something called Triclopyr on marijuana fields right here in the United States.

Also of danger to marijuana smokers are bacterial or fungal infections that can be contracted as a result of using grass that has been cultivated carelessly.

On the flip side, CannabisMD points out that “properly cultivated marijuana and its constituent cannabinoid components are amongst the safest drugs known to medical science.”

So what are we waiting for?  Although debated by some, a great many experts point out that marijuana is not addictive like other street drugs.  Opponents will argue that marijuana use increases the likelihood of experimenting with other drugs.  Is a 75 year old osteoporosis sufferer likely to start trying cocaine because they have used marijuana?

So it’s not habit forming and even better, marijuana is known to be an effective pain reliever.  As for young people, there is always the possibility that using marijuana will start them on the path to stronger drugs.  Yet if we take as a given that certain youngsters who are predisposed to using marijuana are going to get it one way or another (legally or illegally), isn’t it better that they smoke the safe stuff?

The current situation where medical marijuana is only legal in some states needs to be examined.   What we have right now is a situation akin to that which occurred during prohibition.  Our government outlawed booze and this paved the way for one of the greatest promulgations of organized crime in our nation’s history.  The longer we make marijuana illegal in some states, the more criminal elements will continue to flourish and profit from selling the “junk” variety of marijuana they are known for.  Kids will experience bad trips. Our prisons will fill up with two-bit pushers that taxpayers will have to cover the bill for.  People who genuinely need marijuana for medicinal purposes will have to cultivate their own at risk of being prosecuted or resort to other nefarious means such as going over state lines to make a “buy.”

Even worse, with each passing day we see a worsening situation at our southern border with Mexico.  Drug wars and the carnage they create are making their way into our southernmost towns.  I don’t pretend to have all the answers but I conjecture that if our government and the medical profession working in tandem could cultivate on a massive scale, safe and inexpensive marijuana made available to any and all who wanted it, it would become much less alluring to criminal elements from Mexico and Latin America to try flooding our country with their product.

The time has arrived for legalized medical marijuana.  As for marijuana being legalized just for the purposes of getting high, I have one message for young readers of this site.  The old saying “NO HOPE IN DOPE” is as true today as it was when I was young.  I gave up all that crap more than 20 years ago. I count myself lucky to be alive.  If you try any street drugs you may not be as lucky as me. 

 

Copyright 2009; Greg S.

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