♫ Eve of Destruction – Redux Again ♫

I give no reason for playing this song again … for the fourth time … tonight.  If you don’t know the reasons, then … go on back to sleep.


Released in 1965, this song was an anti-government protest against racism, hypocrisy and injustice at a volatile time in American history.  Sound familiar?  I’m really surprised that this song hasn’t made a huge comeback in the past year or so, for it is every bit as apropos today as it was 50+ years ago.  In some ways, the issues today are different, but in other ways … not so much.  Today, instead of Vietnam we have climate change and a clown in the Oval Office, Brexit and election manipulation.  Racism is still alive and well, but today we have no Martin Luther King.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah, in spades, my friends.  And Injustice is the name of the game here and around the world.  I could name 100 reasons that this song is as relevant today as it was then. Different faces, same ol’ song. 😢

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

Time For ‘Toons!!!

Ever have one of those days where nothing goes right?  It started with getting up late, finding that the kitties had knocked over my flowers and water was everywhere, then trying to quickly get a beef roast into the crock pot for supper took me nearly an hour for some reason.  So, long story short, I am in a time crunch today and thought … what a perfect opportunity to showcase some cartoons!  Political cartoons sometimes make us laugh, sometimes shake our heads, and sometimes make us want to cry, but they say so much with a simple drawing.  So, let’s see how the cartoonists have viewed the past week or two …


Trump does love tariffs.  Too bad he doesn’t understand them.  

tariffs-1tariffs-2tariffs-3toon-2tariffs-4


One of the biggest issues dividing this nation … one of the few hundred, that is … is guns.  Every time there is a multiple-death shooting as there was in Virginia Beach on May 31st, the debate becomes more vocal, with the gun nuts saying “this isn’t the time to discuss it”, and the rest of us positing that this is exactly the time to discuss it. 

guns-1guns-2guns-3


Of course, regardless of political party, the “I-word” is on everybody’s mind these days …

impeach-1impeach-2impeach-3cover-up.jpg


Who can resist poking fun at ol’ 2-faced Lindsey Graham?

Lindsey-Graham


And just for kicks …

democracyTom Toles Editorial Cartoon - tt_c_c190609.tiftoon-1.jpg


Have a great week, folks … remember, humour helps us maintain perspective in these troubled times!

♫ Eve of Destruction ♫

Tonight, as I write, this nation is no longer a democracy, no longer the nation it once was.  I am filled with angst, as I know many of you are.  This song that I have already played back a few months ago, speaks for me.

Released in 1965, this song was an anti-government protest against racism, hypocrisy and injustice at a volatile time in American history.  Sound familiar?  I’m really surprised that this song hasn’t made a huge comeback in the past year or so, for it is every bit as apropos today as it was 50+ years ago.  In some ways, the issues today are different, but in other ways … not so much.  Today, instead of Vietnam we have climate change and a clown in the Oval Office, Brexit and election manipulation.  Racism is still alive and well, but today we have no Martin Luther King.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah, in spades, my friends.  And Injustice is the name of the game here and around the world.  I could name 100 reasons that this song is as relevant today as it was then. Different faces, same ol’ song. 😢

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

♫ Eve of Destruction ♫

I’ve played a lot of great music the last few weeks … a lot of Motown and the sort of music that makes you tap your toes and just feel good.  Tonight I must veer for just a bit …

Released in 1965, this song was an anti-government protest against racism, hypocrisy and injustice at a volatile time in American history.  Sound familiar?  I’m really surprised that this song hasn’t made a huge comeback in the past year or so, for it is every bit as apropos today as it was 50+ years ago.  In some ways, the issues today are different, but in other ways … not so much.  Today, instead of Vietnam we have climate change and a clown in the Oval Office, Brexit and election manipulation.  But racism is still alive and well, but today we have no Martin Luther King.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah, in spades, my friend.  And Injustice is the name of the game here and around the world.  I could name 100 reasons that this song is as relevant today as it was then. Different faces, same ol’ song.

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

Bleeding Heart …

I was working on my post for tomorrow morning, waiting for the potatoes I had baking in the oven, when across my screen flashed the news of yet another school shooting, this time in Florida, and at least 17 people confirmed dead.  I literally dropped my mouse, set the computer on the table, and wept.  Since I was a teenager, I have been called a ‘bleeding heart liberal’.  I guess this confirms that indeed, I am exactly that, for my heart bled even as my eyes streamed and my shoulders shook.

I am not going on a rant about the asinine lack of gun control in America, at least not tonight.  But I have another little story to tell you.

Last Saturday night … actually Sunday morning around 2:00 a.m., I was tired and getting ready to head up  to bed when we heard 6 gunshots in rapid succession right outside our back door.  Police were called, no trace of anybody, the usual story.  Nothing to see here, folks, except that any one of those six shots might have come through our walls and taken one or all three of us out, all within under 6 seconds.

No, I will not go on a rant about guns in America tonight, for my heart is still bleeding from the news of the Florida school shooting.  Yes, I’m a bleeding heart liberal … and I’m proud to be.  Tomorrow I will have tears of rage, but tonight my tears are only of deep sadness.

Cleveland: Hot Town in the Summertime

It is going to be hot in Cleveland this summer.  The average temperature in July in Cleveland, Ohio, is 83°F, but I believe it will be much hotter than that this July.  It is going to be hot and it is going to be ugly.  Not that Cleveland isn’t used to ugly, but next month they are likely to get a triple-dose of ugly and hot.  Why?  The Republican National Convention will be held in Cleveland from Monday, July 18 through Thursday, July 21.  Given that merely hearing the name of the presumptive nominee sends some people into a fit of rage, and given that the man himself incites rage and riots everywhere he goes, it is a pretty safe bet that there will be plenty of violence to keep Cleveland’s Finest on their toes next month.

As I mentioned, Cleveland is used to ugly, being ranked the 5th most dangerous city in the U.S. among cities with a population over 200,000 in 2015.  Their violent crime rate is 1,478 per 100,000 people and the murder rate is 14 per 100,000.  (Data courtesy of Law Street Media).  Look for those numbers to increase in 2016.

About 30 members from white supremacist hate-group, Traditionalist Worker Party, plan to attend in order to “make sure that the Donald Trump supporters are defended from the leftist thugs.”  This is the same group that held a rally in Sacramento, California last weekend where at least five people were stabbed.  In addition, another hate group with whom we are all familiar, the Westboro Church group, plans a “display of art” and has filed for a City Hall permit to use the city’s official “speaker’s platform” in Public Square for a half-hour beginning at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 19.  It remains unclear exactly what they are protesting.  Several other groups plan to attend to protest outside the convention hall, though most are smaller and not known for extreme violence.  What could possibly go wrong, right?

Although Cleveland claims to be well-prepared to deal with the additional 50,000 people expected to visit the city during the convention, some suburban police departments that were prepared to partner with Cleveland are now backing out, claiming the risk to their officers’ safety is too great.

Initially a “protest zone” near the site of the convention had been mapped out and hours that protests would be allowed were defined.  But enter the ACLU, who filed a lawsuit claiming the hours and the zone itself were “too restrictive”.  Banned items included backpacks, water guns, sleeping bags, tape and string.  Note, however, that guns will be allowed in the protest area.  Can anybody deny that this is a recipe for disaster?  And just out of curiosity, when did string become more dangerous than guns???  U.S. District Court Judge James Gwin threw out the original “protest zone” plan, sending planners scurrying back to the drawing board.  Changes in plans at this late date can only add to the chaos, as police departments have long since completed their plans for attempting to maintain order and will also need to return to the drawing board.

Generally speaking, cities vie for the honour of hosting an event of this magnitude.  It means extra revenue will be derived from hotel rooms, restaurant and bar fees, public transportation, sightseeing and other activities in which visitors might engage.  But in this case, I strongly suspect that the ultimate cost will far exceed the additional revenue and it may be a long time before Cleveland even wants to see another Republican, let alone host an entire convention of them.  I just hope the cost does not involve lives lost, but at this point, I would not be surprised at all.

Inside the convention hall, Quicken Loans Arena, the U.S. Secret Service will be responsible for security and no guns will be allowed except in the hands of law enforcement. It is unlikely that there will be too many unmanageable problems there, though I wouldn’t bet against it.

To add to the drama, there still remains a possibility, albeit a slim one, that the Republican National Committee will find a way to deny Trump the nomination, in which case Trump supporters have promised that total chaos will ensue.  I seriously do not expect that to happen, but it is something to keep in the back of our minds.

Perhaps the best thing for the city of Cleveland would be torrential downpours … constantly … for the entire four days of the convention.  It wouldn’t keep all the idiots away, but it would deter some.  As for me, I am happy that I will be nowhere within several hundred miles of the fiasco, reading about it all on my laptop and writing my usual snarky assessments.

The Hello Kitty AK-47???

hk7Hello Kitty celebrated her 40th birthday back in 2014, and the cute little cat has earned megabucks for Japanese firm Sanrio.  Look around next time you are in K-Mart … you will see Hello Kitty sneakers, paper towels, panini makers, chopsticks, wine and more.  You can even eat Hello Kitty dumplings in Hong Kong, fly on a Hello Kitty plane to Taiwan or hang at Hello Kitty Con in Los Angeles.  And the latest addition to the trend?  Hello Kitty … guns.  Yes, I do mean real guns, not water pistols or even cap guns or BB guns, but real guns that shoot real bullets and kill real people.

To be fair, Sanrio does not condone the manufacture of this product, and in 2013 issued the following statement:

“Sanrio®, the owner of the Hello Kitty® property, wishes to correct the gross misconceptions cast by recent media reports suggesting that we are involved in the manufacture or sale of Hello Kitty guns. Sanrio has not and will not authorize the manufacture or sale of any gun or firearm and does not condone the use of our intellectual property for the purposes of marketing such merchandise.

“Any firearm and/or image featured in these stories was customized and/or digitally manipulated without authorization to include Sanrio’s Hello Kitty copyrighted images and trademarks. Such actions constitute copyright infringement, trademark infringement and dilution. Sanrio’s attorneys will take appropriate legal action against anyone who is manufacturing, selling or displaying such products.”

hk2Nonetheless, until just last week, Hello Kitty guns were being sold and readily available on the internet. A company called GlamGuns  sells this AK-47 assault weapon, touting it as being “A perfect gift for the young lady of the house.”  And behold, this monstrosity costs only $1,072.95.  This is so wrong on so many levels that I don’t know where to begin!

Interestingly, I first came across the image of a Hello Kitty handgun in an article about a week ago.  I bookmarked the article, as I frequently do when something catches my interest, but I am not ready to do anything with it at that moment.  When I went back to the article this morning, the image of the handgun had been replaced with a different gun, one covered in flowers rather than Hello Kitty.  “Both images, which were shared on the site’s social media, have since been removed. The shop didn’t have authorization to use either the Dallas Cowboys or the Hello Kitty design. Sanrio, which owns the rights to Hello Kitty characters, acted quickly to ask that the shop cease all promotions, images and sales of the gun immediately because of a copyright infringement, saying it “does not condone, and does not permit, its Hello Kitty intellectual property to be reproduced on guns or other weaponry.””  (Gomez, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 May 2016)

 
hk4Yet another company, Blackwater, was custom-designing guns with the Hello Kitty logo.  I found the following notification on their website this morning:  “PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO THREATS AND IGNORANCE FROM SANRIO™ (MAKERS OF HELLO KITTY™) I WILL NOT DO ANY HELLO KITTY™ INLAYS AS OF 29MAY16 YOU CAN THANK THE TYPICAL LIBERAL ANTI-GUN MENTALITY FOR THIS”.  Blackwater apparently designed ‘The Dark Hello Kitty™ inlayed – Sig P226’ shown here and sold for a mere $2,100.

hk5

 

As one of those ‘liberal anti-gun mentalities’, I would first like to give a two-thumbs-up to Sanrio for their social conscience and for putting humanitarian concerns above profit.  And I would like to give a kick-in-the-rump to companies who thought it was a good idea to put Hello Kitty on weapons whose sole purpose is murder, and to any who would buy such garbage.

I do not like guns.  I think they should be confined to military and law enforcement.  That said, I understand that I am in the minority, that the citizens of this nation have a Constitutional right to own guns, and that right is likely to remain for the foreseeable future.  However … to decorate guns so that they look like toys to small children is not a ‘right’ … it is sheer and utter stupidity.  Already there are entirely too many tragic instances of children shooting other children because the parents were not intelligent enough, or perhaps just didn’t care enough to keep their guns locked away safely.  Already some children are being raised to think of guns as a toy.  So, why in the Sam Hell did anybody think it was a cool idea to decorate a gun with a cute little kitty image, arguably the most popular little kitty among the younger set?

hk6There can be no excuse for an intersection between the innocence of children and guns.  Yet, in addition to the Hello Kitty mess, kids and guns intersect in numerous manners.  Did you know, for example, that the National Rifle Association (NRA) sells merchandise for children, including t-shirts and bibs with the group’s name on them?  They also sponsor an annual ‘Youth Day’, an event where kids and their parents “enjoy a handful of activities that the NRA is involved in,” including roping cattle and shooting.

In July 2014, freshman representative Robin Kelly introduced H.R.5093 – Children’s Firearm Marketing Safety Act, into the House of Representatives.  You can read the text  H.R. 5093  but in a nutshell, it would ban:

  • the use of cartoon characters to promote firearms and firearm products,
  • firearm brand name merchandise marketed for children,
  • the use of firearm marketing campaigns with the specific intent to appeal to children,
  • the manufacturing of a gun with colors or designs that are specifically designed to appeal to children, and
  • the manufacturing of a gun intended for use by children that does not clearly and conspicuously note, by specified warnings on the firearm, the risk posed by the firearm by labeling somewhere visible on the firearm.

It seems to me a reasonable bill, however the best information I could find was that it was introduced and is still sitting somewhere in the house gathering dust.  Of course, the same can be said of nearly every bill that was introduced by a democrat for the past seven years, so why should this be any different, right?

Many of my friends and acquaintances own guns, but I hope that even they are appalled by the display of stupidity involved with associating a primarily children’s product in order to sell firearms.  If anybody thinks it was a good idea, then I don’t think I want to know that person.  Eventually, the gun madness, as I see it, in this nation must end.  People in other countries around the globe think the U.S. is crazy for it’s gun policies, or I should say, lack of policies. No other nation in the world tolerates the freedom that is given to Americans to own and use guns.  The freedom to be murdered at random in a shopping mall, movie theater, church, school, or even in our own home.  Think about it.

Kids ‘n Guns … ????

‘My 4-year-old gets jacked up to target shoot,’ mom brags hours before he shoots her

Hours after gun-rights advocate Jamie Gilt bragged on Facebook that her 4-year-old son “gets jacked up to target shoot,” the same child accidentally turned his mother into a target, shooting her in the back.

The 31-year-old Jacksonville woman was driving down a road in Putnam County, Fla., on Tuesday when her son managed to get hold of a gun while he was sitting in the back seat of the vehicle, according to a statement released by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department.

Officials told the Florida Times-Union that the child fired a .45-caliber handgun that he found on the truck’s floor into the driver’s seat.

“She was shot through the seat and the round went through her back,” Sheriff’s Capt. Joseph Wells told the Times-Union. “There was a booster seat in the back of the vehicle, but, however, the boy was not strapped in when the deputy got to them.”

Gun rights advocate Jamie Gilt is in stable condition after she was shot by her 4-year-old son while driving her truck, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. (WJXT)

Hours after gun-rights advocate Jamie Gilt bragged on Facebook that her 4-year-old son “gets jacked up to target shoot,” the same child accidentally turned his mother into a target, shooting her in the back.

The 31-year-old Jacksonville woman was driving down a road in Putnam County, Fla., on Tuesday when her son managed to get hold of a gun while he was sitting in the back seat of the vehicle, according to a statement released by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department.

Officials told the Florida Times-Union that the child fired a .45-caliber handgun that he found on the truck’s floor into the driver’s seat.

“She was shot through the seat and the round went through her back,” Sheriff’s Capt. Joseph Wells told the Times-Union. “There was a booster seat in the back of the vehicle, but, however, the boy was not strapped in when the deputy got to them.”

Under Florida law, “it a misdemeanor for a person to store or leave, on a premise under his or her control, a loaded firearm in such a manner that it is likely a child can gain access to the firearm.”

Gilt’s social media presence is filled with pro-gun messages, Second Amendment memes and posts supporting the NRA, as well as photos of her posing with weapons.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/03/09/my-4-year-old-gets-jacked-up-to-target-shoot-gun-loving-mom-brags-hours-before-her-little-boy-shoots-her/?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_mm-gunboy-320pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

 

I have exactly two comments directly related to this story in the Washington Post, 09-March-2016:

  • A misdemeanor??? Seriously???  That’s it … a misdemeanor???  First there was the “Stand Your Ground” law that let Trayvon Martin’s murderer off the hook, and now it is only a slap-on-the-wrist crime to leave a loaded gun where a small child can get it?  Florida needs to seriously re-assess its priorities!
  • This woman almost got what she deserves, only not quite. Hopefully, when the deal is done, though, she will have lost her child and then I will say she got everything she deserves.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am firmly against guns in the hands of ordinary citizens.  But I am also a pragmatist and understand that, while we can and hopefully will at some point in the near future, implement solid and enforceable gun regulations, the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is not going away any time soon.  I accept that.  But this???  I think it should be a felony punishable by a minimum, mandatory sentence of ten years in prison to allow a child under the age of 18 to handle any sort of firearm.  I am thankful that, in this case, the child shot his mother and not himself, which would have been a genuine tragedy. Comments?

 

Where Have All The Parents Gone … ?

Last week there was a school shooting at a local high school.  Two students were shot and two more injured by shrapnel.  The shooter was a 14-year-old student of Madison Jr./Sr. High School.  He was promptly arrested and is now being held in a juvenile detention facility.  Two other students, also 14 years of age, have been charged with failure to report a crime.  In response, other students began bringing weapons to school, mainly knives, although one student at another local school claims that he plans to be “ready for another shooting … and bring a gun to school”.  Those are the facts.

The Sheriff says he believes he knows the motive for the shooting, but that information has yet to be released.  The above facts do not address the root of the problem, nor, I am willing to wager, does the motive that Sheriff Jones claims to know.  The root of the problem goes back to the environment in which today’s young people are growing up.  Who provides and, at least to some extent, controls the environment in which these children are growing up?  Parents.  I really want to say “bad parents”, but I stop short of that, as it is often, but not always the case.

Last week, again locally, a 3-year-old boy accidentally and fatally shot himself in the chest with a .357 magnum.

Two weeks ago, a local high school student (male) allegedly kidnapped a 15-year-old girl who was out jogging, threw her in the back of his truck, drove her to a secluded area and sexually assaulted her.

Yesterday, I received breaking local news of a car that had been stolen with a 3-week-old baby in the backseat.  Thankfully, it turned out that the baby was home safe and sound the whole time, the mother lied and is now cooling her heels in jail.

Does anybody see a pattern here?  We tend to think of child abusers as those who strike their children (no, I am not talking about a couple of taps on the butt, but actually striking), ridicule or otherwise cause physical and/or mental harm to their children.  There appears to be a new trend, however, and it may turn out to be more lethal than a smack across the face or telling them they are stupid.  I am not sure what to call it, but let me paint the scenario as I see it.

The breakfast table:  dad is on his cell phone, having already started his workday, mom is reading the paper or else also on her cell phone, perhaps texting her friend or playing on social media.  The kids, meanwhile, fix themselves a piece of toast or a bowl of cereal, open a can of cola, meanwhile texting their friends, posting on social media, or trolling the internet on their $500 smart phones.

The dinner table:  repeat of the breakfast table except either mom or dad picked up dinner at the local fast food joint or at the Kroger deli.

The rest of the evening:  mom is watching the Kardashians in the family room, dad is watching reruns of the X Files in another room with yet another television.  The kids are in their respective rooms, texting or trolling the internet or posting on social media, without parental oversight.

Weekends:  dad is on the golf course, or working, or watching reruns of Survivor.  Mom is getting her weekly spa treatment, then doing the marketing, popping into the mall for something new to cheer her up.  The kids are either hanging at the mall or elsewhere with friends, or they are in their respective rooms, texting, trolling the internet or posting on social media.

This bleak and dreary picture, my friends, is the scene in entirely too many households in this nation today.  I am not saying all … I know a lot of parents who are almost entirely focused on their children, who encourage them in sports and academic pursuits, who are “in the moment” for their children.  But the parents of the children above, those who are already criminals before they even reach adulthood, those who are dead because nobody was paying attention, those children are being raised in a toxic environment.

Why do people have children and then fail to take the best care possible of them, to give them the best of themselves?  Is it selfishness?  Is it laziness?  Some combination?  Or are these parents simply too focused on the meaningless electronic chatter to engage with their children?  I wonder when the parents of the young school shooter last played a board game with him, when his dad last shot hoops in the backyard with him?  It seems that most kids these days have more money than they need … I see them coming out of upscale stores in the mall with a bag or two hooked over their arm as they chatter away on their cell phone.  So, do parents believe that tossing their kid a $50 bill, buying them the latest, most expensive electronic junk, is parenting?  I suppose some would argue that it is, but if so, then I will say it now, it is extremely bad parenting and it is ensuring that within the next two decades we will have a society filled with whining, sniveling “adults” who honestly believe “it’s all about me”.  What’s worse, is most of these people will also procreate.

I am not a psychologist nor a sociologist, so my thoughts on this matter come from simple observation of people and noticing how the world has changed in the last 50 years, then connecting the dots.  I do not think that all the parents of the shooters in the Columbine or any of a hundred other school shootings were bad parents, but I do suspect they were parents for whom their children were not ever their first priority.  I have two pieces of advice for every would-be parent:

  1. Think long and hard about it. They aren’t cute little babies who sleep 20 hours a day for very long.  If you are not willing to commit to being an active participant in your children’s lives, then don’t have any.
  2. If you do have children, be a parent, not a casual observer of their lives.

This world cannot afford to continue on this path, and yet, we cannot blame only the children, but we must equally blame the parents.