I guess by now, anyone with access to a radio or television knows about the crazed lunatic who claimed to have a bomb on an airplane and was later killed by Air Marshalls. What I find utterly astonishing is that there's any type of debate possible over whether or not the law enforcement officers did the right thing. He claimed to have a bomb in his carry-on, he repeatedly refused to obey the orders of the officers, he resisted arrest, and then he reached into his carry-on. Ten out of ten times, when faced with that situation, law enforcement anywhere is going to react with deadly force, and if there are instances where one might not, then that law enforcement officer should be fired. The man's widow claimed that he was bipolar and had not taken his medication. If that were the case, she should be arrested for criminally-negligent homicide or any other similar statute that may apply in her case. Whenever you're travelling with someone, especially someone you care about, you check to see if they've taken any medication they may need in the course of the day at the proper time. I don't care if you're discussing hormones, cholesterol-lowering medication, blood pressure medication, antihistamines, motion-sickness medication or whatever, and that's doubly true of medicines to treat psychiatric conditions. You. Make. Sure. Debate Iraq. Debate our nation's domestic policy. Debate the relevance of France in international politics. Hell, debate the relative strength of the conferences, divisions, and/or teams in sports. This is clearly a case that's a no-brainer. My condolences go out to the agents who had to deal with this guy. I have absolutely no sympathy for his widow.
Tookie Williams founded one of the largest street gangs in the nation, glorified that lifestyle for years, and has been convicted of murdering four people in the process of two robberies that netted, if memory serves, around $200 in 1979 dollars, roughly equivalent to $500-600 today unless I'm way off. If he has changed his life around, as he and his supporters have alleged, good. If he has prevented even one kid from joining a gang, good. However, how much blood is on his hands, not only from his victims, but also from that which he created? If there is to be capital punishment, it should be applied in especially egregious cases, where the guilty are responsible for multiple and/or particularly heinous murders, and the exceptions to this should be few and rare, such as mental defect or spousal/domestic abuse. With the former, the argument is quite convincing in the opposite, and for the latter, the facts of the cases definitively exclude that from the realm of possibility. The only argument in this case should be one of whether or not the death penalty is moral, and I haven't been shy about my stance on that issue.
A Kansas City school showed that the Midwest will stoop to lows even the most backwoods part of the South refuse to approach when a kid was suspended for a day and a half for speaking Spanish in the hallway. The kid was responding to a fellow Spanish-speaking student who had asked to borrow a dollar, and responded in their native tongue a phrase even I, a nonspeaker of the Spanish language, knew: "No problema." Was the kid being disruptive? No, they were in the hallway between classes. Was he being ugly to a fellow student? No, he was exhibiting the kind of behavior any parent would like to see from their kids, in this case, thoughtfulness, kindness, and generosity. Did the school have a policy against speaking Spanish in a public school? No, and if such a policy were to be written, it would most likely be challenged heavily in the courts, and rightfully so. His father challenged the suspension all the way up to the superintendent of that school system, and the school quickly relented. He has since retained a lawyer to pursue a civil case against that school and that school board. I wish him well, and my advice to that school system is to bend over and grab your ankles.
As a bonus to this blog, I have a comment about the latest antics of one of my least-favorite people: Ann Coulter. At issue is not whether or not what she said qualified as hate speech. After all, there's plenty of that to go around, too much to be honest, and it comes from all corners of the political spectrum. What is at issue is her statement to the students, "I love to engage in repartee with people who are stupider than I am." Oh? I guess there are people less intelligent than Ann Coulter, somewhere, though I'd estimate the world population of such people at under 1,000. She equates reasoned dissent with treason and wrote a book defending Senator McCarthy. She's a superbitch who hasn't found a far-right cause she didn't like, and frankly, the only reason anyone pretends to listen to her is to stare at her tits and her legs. So, Ms. Coulter, my advice to you is to sit down, shut up, look pretty, and whatever you do, DON'T REPRODUCE! Most women have far more than that to contribute to society and are valuable as individuals and as women, but you do not.