Note: What you will find on this page are items that once appeared on my "Currents Topic Page." These topics are probably still valid for thought and consideration..
Excerpt from "BCI - The Beginning Study of the End Behavior"
"Parents know what's best for their children," (Aaaaagh! #@%^$@#%&*), I hate it, I hate it. This phrase is spoken by people with an agenda and believed by the ignorant, fanatic, and egotistical. Let's clear the air before I go further. Most parents want the best for their children. What they think is best for their children is not necessarily what is best for the children. Let me repeat, the issue here is not that parents want what's best, but rather they know what's best.
On Friday January 2, 2004, Steve Irwin of Animal Planet was feeding a thirteen foot crocodile while holding his infant son of one month. I've watched a lot of Steve's shows and have always thought that he took a lot of unnecessary chances, but reasoned that's show business. I feel it's wrong because it sets a bad example. He states, as do other wildlife video professionals, you shouldn't do this, I can because I'm a professional; yeah right; like kids are going to listen to them. It would be better to introduce excitement some other way and use good safe methods – some of them carry a risk anyway. In many fields there are inherent dangers, however in most cases they do everything possible to mitigate them. Several of the wildlife experts have been bitten by poisonous snakes – they got lucky because there were film crews to rush them to a medical facility equipped to provide proper aid.
Steve's defense was that he was in control and that his children had to learn about crocodiles because they were in their backyard. In all the interviews not one interviewer asked or stated, "Do you really think a one month old baby is going to learn anything from the experience?" If he said yes, put him away for lying or being plain stupid. About control! When it comes to wild animals, no one is in control, you just keep it as safe as possible. I've investigated numerous accidents where the person got injured, someone else got hurt, or there was costly damage; all of them thought they were in control. I can think of a bunch of things that could have happened. He could have a mild dizzy spell, not likely but not impossible. A distracting noise or bright flash of light. He could have tripped, over his own feet or slipped on something unexpected, like pooh or a soggy wet spot.
He tried to equate what he did to putting a child in a car. While I admire Steve for his enthusiasm and dedication to wildlife, I believe he takes far too many risks, which are not only unnecessary, but they set a bad example. It doesn't matter how many times you say, "I'm a professional, don't you do this." He also stated, "I love my children and would never put them in danger." I cry when I think of all the children that have been hurt or killed because their parents didn't think they were putting their child in danger.
I asked this question, "If parents know what's best for their children, then how come we have so many overweight obese kids. Kids that smoke. Kids that expect the world to get instep with them. Kids that are disrespectful to their parents and everyone else. Kids that hate their parents long after they leave home. And kids in therapy. And. . .."
Sorry, more about, "Parents know what's best for their children." I was having my routine Sunday morning breakfast (June 2003), when seated next to our table, this infant, probably under two years of age, started screeching. It always amazes me how their bci parents think it's cute and ignore the distress it causes others. I noticed that the infant already showed the signs of being overweight. His mother was at least fifty pounds overweight; I'm being generous – it was probably more like one hundred. She was stuffing him like the food supply would run out. I thought of the famous saying, "Parents know what's best for their children." Yeah right! If parents know what's best then how come they abuse them, both physically and mentally, there are so many fat kids, kids that can't read, kids that have no respect for others, the environment, or property, . . .. I could go on and on. As a parent, I'm sure I wore the parent bci hat enough times, and I'm not sure I ever really knew what was best. I always wanted what was best for them. I wanted them to be happy and successful. I worked at instilling in my children the values I held that would serve them well. Honesty, integrity, dedication, and a strong work ethic are a few; there are many more. I realized early on that children learn from what they observe and do. I can see a few of the bad habits my wife and I have present in our children, fortunately they aren't serious. Thankfully, most of the important good ones got through. Parents that believe they know what's best for their children, are the worst kind BCI's in this category. At best a parent will listen to their children, evaluate what others (not just the so called expert) say or do, gather whatever other data is available, and then hopefully make their best decision. I guess you could call me a Preaching BCI for the previous; please don't be too hard on me my blood boils when I think of the saying, "Parents know . . .."
Some more food for thought related to, "Parents know what's best for their children."
We will put a parent in jail, or worst -- take the child away, if the parent spanks a child; to be clear, I mean spank, not beat -- a well-placed smack on the bottom, that does hurt but does no damage. Yet a parent that mentally abuses their child may be thought a good parent. The sad part is that the mentally abused child will carry the abuse the rest of their lives and may pass it on to their children. Often these children lead a very depressed life and sometime commit suicide. What about the parent that causes their child to be obese by over feeding and using food as a reward. Parent that smoke in the house or car, where they subject their children to secondhand smoke.
On June 27, 2006, Admiral Richard Carmona, The US Surgeon General, declared the debate is over, "Secondhand Smoke" harms non-smokers. He presented these findings in a 670 page report. Some statistics reported in The San Diego Union-Tribune, June 28, 2006, indicated that 20.9% of adults smoke, 49,000 premature deaths were attributed to secondhand smoke, 400 sudden infant death syndromes were caused by secondhand smoke, and one in five children are routinely exposed to secondhand smoke. These parents know what's best for their kids. Yeah, right! The Surgeon General urged state and local governments to ban smoking in public. How about some laws to protect children from parents that know what's best.
August 2006: A recent study (2006) determine that a graduate from a good college or university was equally as likely to be successful in business as a graduate from an "elite" university. Essentially, rising to the top is more dependent on a persons' ability than on what school they attended. Parents that drive their kids, from an early age, before they even know what the childs' desires are or what they're capable of, is another indicator of wanting what they think is best, but not necessarily knowing what's best. What's important to parents, may not be important to a child once they've grown up. At this writing, there were over two million runaways in America; I wonder how many of them were driven to it by parents that know what's best. Parents need to encourage and guide – not choose or coerce, as do parents that know what's best for their kids.
August 27, 2006: While returning from breakfast I observed a vehicle driven, by a man, with a very young child, in a car seat, on the passenger side of the front seat. I am always amazed when I see parents putting their children in an unsafe position. Parents that leave kids, by themselves, in a car or at home to make a quick trip, creates a situation that has been disastrous numerous times. Also, this day, a father left his five year old with his eleven year old, to make a quick trip. The five year old was not breathing when he returned. He took her to the hospital where she died sometime later. Now the police are considering charging the eleven year old with murder and the father with child endangerment.
In the "letters to the editor" section, July 12, 2006, there were three letters under the headline, "adding to debate over the cross."
In the first letter Mitch Kinnamon, asks Phillip Paulson -- the man suing to have the cross removed, "why do you care?" Mr. Kinnamon, I don't know why Mr. Paulson cares, I can guess. However, I'll tell you why I care and I've never seen the cross, other than in the newspaper or on TV. To look at it is not offensive, neither would be a Buddha, Star-of David, or any other religious symbol, in fact when I traveled while in the navy, many of the most beautiful places I visited were religious shrines and churches. The symbols in some cases (say a jewel cross) are beautiful and magnificent, a fitting tribute to what the artesian believes. My question, would you and the cross supporters back this issue if it were a Buddha or another religious symbol? Sure you and they would! The issue is not about the cross, per se, it's the message it represents that is offensive. The message is not about religion, it's about the government sponsoring religion. Which, is against the law. By allowing the cross to stand on public land, it says that the government endorses Christianity; that's against the California and United States Constitutions.
To Robert Langham I say to you, there are laws on how to transfer government property to private ownership, individual or business, that need to be followed. The process prevents government officials from making money or other compensations, like Duke Cunningham, for themselves or providing favors for relatives and friends, as well as providing a fair and equitable method for those seeking to obtain it. It's as simple as right and wrong. If an exception is made for the purpose of circumventing the law in this case, what will be the next exception, and there certainly will be more exceptions once one is allowed. I believe and support the laws, I don't agree with all of them, but right now they're the best we have. Fundamentally, these laws are in place to prevent what was once a common practice. In non-democratic governments and corrupt governments people are given positions based on who they know – usually family, friends, or for payback. Once in the position the individual would use it for personal gain. In some rare cases the law makers had the foresight to anticipate what could happen and were proactive.
For Judy and Mel Selzer, I really don't think the cross was put up with any intention of being an affront to others. It was more likely a result of complete inconsideration of others and what they might think. It probably never even occurred to those that put it up that anyone might not want a cross or any other religious symbol, and they could not in their wildest imagination believe that anyone would find it offensive. This mentality unfortunately goes beyond religion. It's a national mentality, I am an American and everybody loves us. We do so much good the world over. How could those other countries find anything to dislike about us.
Now I'd like to put my two cents in the pot. Action speaks louder than words. Another saying on the subject is "If you don't live it, you don't believe it." If my beliefs should come into question, either by myself or someone else, the first thing I do now is examine my behavior. I check to see if my walk really does match my talk.
While this letter talks about religion, it's really not about religion. It's about bigotry and hypocrisy. In my opinion, it's unfortunate that the two areas that harbor the most bigots and hypocrites are religious followers and race relations advocates.
The year is 2006. 2006! A man in Afghanistan decides to change his faith from Muslim to Christian. He was arrested and charged by the country's government with a crime punishable by death. If the media hadn't picked up on this story and hence, the public outcry from the rest of the world not been so great, the man would surely have suffered, in all likelihood, the death penalty. This is why governments should not be involved in supporting religious beliefs, even if the majority wants them to. This is why Americans added "The Freedom of Religion Amendment," which is also known as "The Separation of Church and State Amendment" to the Constitution.
What I have observed over a half century is that most people want there to be equal rights – specifically when it comes to themselves. Actually, they want what they believe is their rights to take priority over everyone else's rights. Equal rights for others is OK so long as it doesn't interfere with me. You can see this all around you if you look and you really don't have to look very hard. People on cell phones. Music so loud that it makes your chest pound and your in you're car with the windows shut. The other car is also four or five or more cars away, and their windows are also closed. You just have to be open to the truth. If a person is in the majority group, they will attempt to force their beliefs upon all those that they can. Rationalizing, since most of us believe this, it must be right and therefore everyone else should also believe it.
I am a believer in the United States Constitution. I spent twenty-two years in the military prepared to defend it. Again, I'll reiterate, in the Constitution, the "Freedom of Religion Right" has come to be known as "Separation of Church and State." To most it means that I am free to believe what I want. And if my faith happens to be in the majority, so should the government's. Just look at all the Sunday (Sabbath) based laws there were and probably still are on the books. I remember that there was a law in Boston that prohibited dancing, along with a myriad of things you couldn't do, on Sunday. Those laws were called "Blue Laws" and were mostly made to keep Christians in need of faith and non-Christians from doing what was considered wrong (sinful) on the holy day of Sabbath. Big brother looking out for us.
A bona fide example of the majority's "You all should believe what I believe," is "The Mt. Soledad Cross" in San Diego. NBC San Diego's, Ken Kramer did a short history of the Mt. Soledad Cross, on the May 26, 2006, television news broadcast. He was trying to determine if the cross was put up as a war memorial or a religious symbol. It appears that the memorial is for WW1, WW2, and Korea. I think Vietnam and the Iraq (Desert Storm) wars were added but I really don't know. There was no clear indication of why it was put up: the choice being religious symbol or war memorial. Say what you will, but a rose by any other name is still a rose. It could be said, "If it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, flies like a duck, looks like a duck and behaves like a duck, it's probably a duck." Calling the cross a war memorial doesn't lessen it as a religious symbol.
For seventeen plus years the city has fought its removal, forced by the majority and their own personal religious beliefs. The election initiative that mandated the city to fight it was won. The percent in favor was significant – it was 76 percent. It wasn't unanimous. Hmm, I wonder how many in favor were Christians. Do you think most, perhaps all. Do you think that most of the no votes were cast by non-Christians. Duh! Probably. I'd also bet that there were a few Christians that voted no because they understood the real issue. In the San Diego Union-Tribune, June 2006, the results of a small survey conducted about the same issue was published. The response was, can you guess, oh yeah, the same as the election.
The cross is there, supporters say, to represent armed forces personnel that died fighting America's wars. Doesn't anyone besides me (and perhaps the man that is suing) think that it is a bit presumptuous and arrogant of the cross supporters to believe that non-Christians would want a cross to symbolize their valor. I wonder how many Christians would want, say, a Star-of-David, Buddha, or other non-Christian religious symbol put up as a memorial to them. My money would be on zero. In fact, I would suspect that non-Christians see the cross as an insult to their faith. But when you're in the minority, you keep your mouth shut, unless your like Dr. House or have that rare courage to stand up for what you believe against overwhelming odds. Congressman Hunter said the memorial represented nineteen hundred men and women that had died for their country. Hey, here's a thought, maybe only Christians lost their life in the wars the monument was established for. Right! Based on the voting and survey results, I would estimate that twenty to twenty-five percent of those honored were non-Christian, such as, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and other faiths. Does Congressman Hunter, and all that supported his bill, really believe that three to four hundred non-Christians would want a cross put up in their honor. That attitude reflects the total lack of respect for other faiths and an incredible arrogance. Like intelligent design, this is just another way to get religion into government – into government. First, it's generic and then it'll get specific.
Although I would find it almost incomprehensible, what if a those honored were only Christians. That would be a worse travesty. It would mildly surprise me but I find this thought so appalling that I cannot comment further on it.
Let's call the site a war memorial. Even with the cross removed, it is still a war memorial. There is nothing to prevent memorial supporters from putting up a non-religious symbol or statue. They could put up a flag, superimpose a ship, plane and tank on a plaque, or a statue of a man and woman in combat uniforms. That would be a fitting statue.
You may think this is a harsh statement but I equate the cross supporters to terrorists and the Ku Klux Klan. The chief difference is that the cross supporters push their agenda with strength in numbers and use public funds to do it, while pretending they want equal rights for everyone. As abhorrent as terrorists and the Ku Klux Klan are, they are not the hypocrites, as are the cross supporters. The KKK hates every other race and religion, and the terrorists hate everyone that doesn't believe what they believe. And they openly let the world know it. Bigots they are. Maybe the cross supporters don't use violence the way other zealots do, but their message is the same, if you don't believe in what I believe or you're not like me, you have no faith, and you are inferior. That's why I equate the cross supporters to terrorist and the KKK.
I could go on and on, however the supporters ability to rationalize the way they want things to be is boundless. For everything I've said in this letter, and whatever anyone else may say in opposition, those supporters' will rationalize them away. When people believe that the earth is only several thousand years old, that dinosaurs never existed, and we are the center of the universe, no one could convince them with words, when scientific evidence is considered a worldwide plot against them.
Let me close with a saying that appears appropriate, "The popular decision isn't always right and the right decision isn't always popular." I've learned over the years that sometimes when you win, you actually lose, and that sometimes you've got to lose to win. Whether you or I believe in God or not, I believe that if the cross supporters win this fight, we're all going to be losers.