We all know that our laws, like those who make and enforce said laws are imperfect. That being said, we can only hope that it is yielded for good and not to advance one’s personal perspective.
In Rutherford County, Tennessee, Donna Scott Davenport is the sole Juvenile judge. She has been accused of jailing children as a young as elementary school age for reasons are extremely questionable or non-existent. Adding insult to injury, she allowed the jail staff to determine how long the children would be locked up for instead of following legal precedent. Of course, it goes without saying that Judge Scott Davenport is Caucasian and most of the children “accused” of crimes are not Caucasian.
I’m not an expert in the law, but this is perversion of justice in every sense of the word. If this is Judge Scott Davenport’s attempt to scare the children from committing any crimes in the future, it the wrong way to go about it. I can only imagine the psychological trauma that these poor kids are living with.
Hopefully, come the next election, the voters in the county will hire someone who will do their job and not twist it to fit their view of the world.
School shootings have sadly become just another headline in the evening news. The latest one in Arlington, Texas this week was far from the most important news of the day.
The new movie, Mass, takes this all too familiar event and makes it personal. Written and directed by Fran Kranz, it tells the story of two couples who lives have been upended by one student killing his classmate. Jay and Gail (Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton) are the parents of the victim. Richard and Linda (Reed Birney and Ann Dowd) are the parents of the shooter. They meet in a church basement to iron out what led to the shooting and how they can live with their new normal.
This film is important and timely. Kranz’s script is deep, emotional, and speaks to the harsh truth of the reality that comes with an experience such as this. It explores question that lead to school shootings. It is due to mental health, the lack of gun control laws, a combination of both, or perhaps something else that has not even been considered?
Though the screenplay is not as strong as it could be, the interrogation of what leads to one young person killing another on school grounds and its aftermath is potent and unfortunately still too relevant.
After everything that we have been through in the nearly two years, I would think that we would use our heads. But logic still seems elusive, even when the facts are right in front of our eyes.
The United States reached a grim milestone this week, 700,000 people have lost their lives to Covid-19. In spite of the proof that the vaccine prevents hospitalization, severe illness, and (most importantly) death, there many who refuse to get the jab. In New York City, teachers and other school personnel had until today at 5PM to get the first shot. If the choice was made to remained unvaccinated on Monday morning, those who made that decision will be forced to go on unpaid leave. Statewide, a similar mandate has been put into place for healthcare workers. The only exemption is for religious purposes. Those wishing to file have until October 12th to do so.
I don’t get it. We are all entitled to our rights. But, we also have to realize that the vaccine requirement is not being done for shits and giggles. It is the only way to defeat this virus. What is frustrating to me is that teachers and healthcare staff work with those who are the most vulnerable to Covid-19. The reason I was vaccinated earlier this year was not just for selfish reasons. G-d forbid I get sick, the last thing I want is to spread it.
We know what we need to do. The science is clear. But instead of getting it done and returning to normal, we continue to be foolish and let our fellow Americans die for no good reason.
May G-d have mercy on all of us and one day, forgive us for what we have done.
America is made for and by immigrants. With the exception of being Native American, most of us can say that at least one person in our family came from another part of the world. The problem is that there are many people who forget this, or even worse think that they can amend our immigration policies to fit their racist ideals.
The truth is that no one wants to leave their homes if it is not necessary. If we live in a nation with a stable economy and political system, feel safe, and have access to education, jobs, and other opportunities, there is no need to go. But there are many places around the world in which life is harder than it needs to be, forcing many to flee in hopes of finding what they did not have in the land of their birth.
Last week, as Haitian migrants gathered at the US/Mexico border, they were attacked by law enforcement on horseback. Some were whipped as they tried to get away, creating reminders of the treatment of runaway slaves who were caught before they could reach freedom.
I can’t blame these people for wanting to leave Haiti. Between multiple natural disasters and the presidential assassination of Jovenel Moïse that has resulted in chaos and lawlessness, what reason is there to stay? We have every right to protect our borders and make sure that those who we allow to enter are not going to make trouble. But at the same time, we should be treating them as human beings. We are not obligated to let everyone into the country. But we are obligated to give them a chance.
This is not the America I know. The America I know welcomed my relations more than a century ago, providing safety and the chance to thrive that did not exist in Europe. If we do not at least attempt to live up to our promises and our values by letting at least some of the Haitians at the border into the country, we will be nothing more than a fraud and a lie. That is nothing short of heartbreaking and disgusting.
Regardless of where one stands on any specific social or cultural issues, there is one thing we can all agree upon. The media, in its various formats, has a huge role on determining how we view the world around us. The problem is that in our fractured society, one’s perspective depends on which media one consumes and the messages they are putting out to their audience.
Last month, The Hill reported that Fox News, as per New York state mandate, the network was requiring its employees to provide their Covid-19 vaccination status to HR. While they have been internally making sure that their staff have gotten the shots, the ideas that are being communicated to their viewers is the opposite. Their lies and outrageous half truths have added to the death toll and the unnecessary grief that too many American families have forced to live with.
Granted, every media company has their own perspective and an audience who has a receptive ear to the content they are watching and/or reading. However, there is also a responsibility to at the very least, tell the truth. What they say has consequences. In light of what we are currently going through, those consequences can either save a life or take a life. I don’t know about you, but I would rather see someone live than die needlessly from a preventable disease.
If there is one thing we all take for granted, it is life itself. Then we are reminded how quickly we can go.
Tomorrow night is the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Jews around the world will fast for 25 hours and pray that our creator writes us in the book of life for another year.
Between the more than 600,000 Americans who have died from Covid-19 and the 20th anniversary of 9/11 this past weekend, the reminder that life is precious has been more than obvious.
One of the most important prayers is called U’Netaneh Tokef. One of the passages in the prayer is as follows:
On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation, and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted.
Yesterday, death came close to home. To say that I am grieving and shocked is an understatement. A friend passed away. I haven’t seen her since before the pandemic and have only spoken to her once since last Spring. Now I wish I had stayed in touch. We need to tell the ones we love how we feel when they are here, not when they are gone.
Z”L my friend. RIP.
To everyone fasting, have an easy fast and may you be written into the book of life for another year.
When it comes to abortion, the people who are against it believe in the right to life. They are entitled to their beliefs, but the question I have to ask is whose life is important and within what parameters?
The political spotlight has been in Texas for the past few weeks due to the new anti-abortion law that has galvanized the nation. The sad and disgusting irony is that while the powers that be in that state are concerned with the uterus’s of the female residents, they are ignoring the lives that are being lost due to Covid-19.
Kali Cook died from the virus last week. She was just four years old. Though she was too young to be vaccinated, her mother was not. Covid then passed to the entire family. As of this article, Kali was the only one whose life was taken. Speaking to the press, her mother said the following:
“I was one of the people that was anti, I was against it,” she said. “Now, I wish I never was.”
The question I have to ask Governor Abbott and other lawmakers is how many deaths it will take to open their eyes? The loss of this precious child and the millions of other Americans is on their hands. They know, as we all do, what we need to do to stop this disease and save lives. Instead, they continue on this path that will only lead to more Americans dead and a nation with scars that may never heal.
There are two ways to lose our innocence. The first is the slow and gradual growth to maturity when old ideas begin to be replaced with new ideas. The second is when a single event forever changes the way we see the world.
Today is the 20th anniversary of September 11th. It was an ordinary day. The sky was blue and bright, a perfect early fall day. Offices, schools, and stores opened as normal. Then the first place hit the Twin Towers and everything changed.
I was in college back then, part of the younger generation. It’s amazing how fast two decades can go. Though it seems like it will take forever for the time to pass, it goes in the blink of an eye. Those of us who were young then are now adults with adult responsibilities. Some of the the kids who were too young to know what was going on or not yet born are now on the verge of adulthood themselves.
On Thursday, The Brian Lehrer Show asked listeners what the term “never forget” meant to them. What I remember is that for a brief time, the divisions that normally kept us apart disappeared. We were all Americans and we were all grieving. It was a communal loss that knew no boundaries or labels.
Last month, I visited the 9/11 Museum with a couple of friends. It was my second visit. Walking into the building is akin to a ten pound weight being thrust on your shoulders. There is an energy that is emotional, heavy, and sometimes difficult to bear. The energy of the day and the souls of the innocent people whose lives were taken that day are all around you, a solemn reminder of what was lost on that beautiful September day.
It was if nothing else, a potent reminder of how important it is to not only live while you can, but tell the ones you love how you feel before it is too late.
May the memories of the nearly 3000 people who were taken us from forever be a blessing. Z”L.
Some say that climate change does not exist. It is just part of the natural cycle of life and nature.
After the damage that Hurricane Ida wrought on multiple parts of the country, millions of American are still suffering. In Louisiana, there are some parts of the state that may not have full power back until the end of the month. The return of full infrastructure and normal life (well, as normal as it can be with Covid-19), is going to take some time).
In my hometown of New York City, the destruction Ida left behind is much more than any of us in this part of the country could have imagined. Between flooding, fires, and tornadoes, it was storm that was dangerously underestimated. Approximately 40 people lost their lives to Ida.
I don’t know what it is going to take for all of us to believe that climate change is both real and dangerous. We cannot undo what has already happened. But I believe there is still time, if we are willing to do the work. The question is, can we face up to reality and do what needs to be done?
If we don’t, then we are dooming ourselves, our children, our grandchildren, and further generations to an Earth and a fate that will eventually kill us all.
There is nothing more hypocritical than a politician speaking out of both sides of their mouth.
I wrote about the Texas abortion ban earlier this week. I am not the only one who is outraged by this law. Yesterday, actress and model Brooklyn Decker shared her thoughts via social media. When a state tightly controls women’s bodies, but is lax on gun control, their actions speak louder than any amount of words can. If this is what it means to be “pro-life“, I have to ask what they mean by stating this and whose lives are worthy of protection?