Friday, August 02, 2013

What were they thinking?

It's been one of those days, folks. A day that leaves me wondering what to post about because all the things I have considered writing about have an excellent chance of setting me off on a rant. But it's a nice day here, relatively speaking - as it gets close to 5 pm local time it's just 93 degrees F out, with the humidity so low that, the local weather channel tells me, it only feels 87 F. The average high here this time of year is 99 F, so 93 F is more than acceptable. On a nice day like this, I'm reluctant to bring everyone down with a rant.

But...I'm still thinking about yesterday's post, and the thing I heard today come from the mouth of that idiot (Ariel Castro, for those who have not been following along) at his sentencing hearing, something that escaped me when I was watching the news reports yesterday. While he was standing in front of the court justifying himself and blaming everybody else for the things he did, he not only said that his victims had asked him for sex, he also mentioned...just mentioned, mind you...that what he had done to them was okay, since they weren't virgins, anyway, but had had "many" partners before him.

Where do stupid attitudes like that come from, anyway? Who is so ignorant - or thinks they are so entitled - as to believe that if a woman (young or old) who is not a virgin (and I don't know that any of those young women weren't virgins at the time, anyway) is fair game to have anything done to them that some ass like Castro wants to do to them? Really?

So that's got me pissed off.

And then there are the Republicans in the House of Representatives, who are trying their best to cut more and more money from funding for food stamps. First, they wanted to cut about $20 billion from the program. Now, they want to cut $40 billion, setting up a situation where millions of people who need that help could be thrown out of the program.

I guess it's part of their continuing determination to punish the poor for being poor. Or, their delusion that everyone who gets help from the government is a stupid, lazy deadbeat who wants a handout so they can continue to sit around home and get drunk all day. Or whatever it is they think people on government assistance do. I'm not sure why they are unwilling to admit the fact - yes, fact - that the vast majority of food stamp recipients are either children or employed. Yes, Republican leadership, there are working people in this country who make so little that they have to make a choice every day of whether they are going to put a roof over their families' heads or put food on the table, because they cannot do both even though they are working, often two or three jobs. Other food stamp recipients are victims of the economy, people who were formerly employed but lost their jobs in the wake of the Crash of '08, maybe holding on to their jobs for a year or two after the crash but ultimately being downsized by their employers...or being made redundant, as the Brits put it. Many of them are looking for work, but cannot find it. Some have been looking so long that they've spent all their savings and still have no new job. These are people who are professionals, but who would be willing to flip burgers or work a cash register except that employers won't hire them because they are "overqualified."

So that's got me pissed off, too.

And then there's the column I read on Huffington Post today, from the mother who had her son attacked by an adult male during a shopping trip to Wal-Mart because the child was wearing a pink headband. According to the story, the man ripped the headband off the boy's head and started yelling, calling the child s very bad word for homosexual that I will not use here and warning his mother that "he'll get shot for it one day."

First of all, way to be judgmental, jerk. Second, adults do not get to go around touching children who are not theirs. Third, he not only touched the child, he threatened him. And then he just walked away as if what he had just done was natural, normal, respectable, and acceptable. This was a two-year-old child that this adult assaulted. And, to add insult to injury, apparently no one did a thing to help the child, or his mother and little brother who were also there, after the man had departed the scene.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I probably wouldn't have confronted the man directly if I had seen this occur. There's way too many people running around armed for a confrontation like that to be safe On the other hand, I've got a voice that carries and carries and carries if I choose for it to do so, and I'm not afraid to use it. It was Wal-Mart, for Pete's sake. Wal-Mart has security, and I would have been yelling for it at the top of my lungs. Something like this: "Security! We need Security here! An adult is attacking a child!" And if security didn't arrive quickly enough, I would have made sure the police were being called. But no one even offered the mother assistance or comfort after the man had walked off.

There are multiple issues that this story raises, of course. Why wouldn't anyone get involved, even after the fact? That's one issue. But also, what in the name of all that is holy, would possess anyone to do that - to assume the sexuality of a child, and then attack them if they came to the conclusion that his (or her) sexuality was of a kind that the adult does not approve of? What makes them think it is any of their business?

So, yeah, that story has me pissed off, too.

People are always telling me that I shouldn't get so upset over things like this, since I can't do anything about any of it. I can see their a point. Because, yes, I know there is nothing I can do about any of the things I've ranted about here today. On the other hand, I just can't quite get my mind around not being upset over stuff like this. Because, you know, every time someone gets away with something like attacking a child, or when they can act as if it is fine for our leaders to take away help from people who desperately need it by cutting assistance programs but doing nothing about high unemployment, or when a convicted felon is allowed to stand up before God and everybody and blame his victims for the things he has done...every time someone can do one of these things, it just encourages people to do these things more often.

I know, in the case of Ariel Castro's recitation at his sentencing hearing, one commentator I heard earlier today said that there was nothing the court could do to prevent him from saying the things he did because it was his right to say anything he wanted to at his sentencing. What? The court was powerless to prevent him from torturing his victims one last time?

Like yesterday, I'm calling bullshit.

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