Category Archives: Cultural and Societal Issues

If I pose a threat to you- then you should work passionately to disarm me!


I’m absolutely sick to my stomach over the vilification and denigration of those of us who defend our God given right to self defense.

First I found myself under attack at, of all place, my local chamber board meeting! Next- a dear friend sent a link to post written by an associate of his that directly challenges the character and intentions of those of us who defend the right to bear arms.

Jordan Chariton writes in

“I’ve found it maddening as gun rights advocates wrap themselves around ‘protecting the Second Amendment’ instead of protecting our kids. Although the NRA and a lot of Republicans would like you to think differently, every last word and amendment from both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is not hard and fast.”  Read more at

He goes on to cite several examples of the Constitution being usurped- though I’m not sure if he’s making his argument or mine.

I am extremely grateful Chariton makes this a Constitutional issue. Sadly, this is the component missing from most debates on gun regulations. I’ll return to that point, but first…

“The NRA and its followers continue citing “the right to protect themselves” from home intruders, and out of some loonier mouths “government coming to their doors and taking their guns.” The truth is, the NRA does not care about the safety of our children or the safety of a family trying to protect themselves from intruders. If they did, they would adjust their position based on the overwhelming pattern of what is killing people in America.”

Jordan, to your first point:

Home invasion is one of the few areas of crime that continues to rise despite an overall decline in both violent crimes and violence involving firearms. In my debate with a colleague at my chamber meeting, she also opined that those of use who own handguns to defend our homes should be evaluated to assess our mental well-being.

From “The Women’s Self-Defense Institute:”

“According to American Police Beat, the average response time for an emergency call is 10 minutes. Atlanta has the worst response time with 11 to 12 minutes and Nashville comes in at a lightning speed of 9 minutes.”

The average criminal spends about 10 minutes in your home. For people living in rural areas, response times can expand to as much as an hour leaving a family undefended for nearly 50 minutes- unless they defend themselves.

I can assure you, Jordan, that if you lived next door to me and I knew you were being assaulted by a violent criminal intent on doing you or your family harm, you would not have to wait 10 or more minutes for the police to arrive. I would gladly risk my life to come to your defense.

As to the accusation that “the NRA does not care about the safety of our children,” and it’s clear from Chariton’s narrative that this unfeeling attitude is shared by the rest of us gun totting radicals, well Jordan, you’re just plain wrong.

The NRA promotes and teaches responsible gun ownership and safety. I can tell you from personal experience that NRA instructors are adamant in their classes about furthering this mission.

Contrast that with the hypocritical outcry from actors and celebrities who “demand a plan” while continuing to profit by producing ever more violent movies, programs and games that continue to glamorize extreme violence and vengeance and turn outlaws into cult action heroes.

The profile of mass murderers almost universally includes a fascination with violent entertainment, particularly action movies and first-person shooter games. While the jury is still out on whether this type of entertainment can cause violence in and of itself, there is little disagreement that violent entertainment has a direct negative affect on an already unstable mind- particularly if that mind is still young and impressionable.

The fact is that NRA members are not your problem. In fact, the NRA and other 2nd Amendment advocates do in fact support several reasonable measures that would have a meaningful impact on keeping weapons out of the hands of criminals and those with mental illness. These proposals include universal background checks, background checks on gun shop owners and a minimum federal standard for concealed weapons permitting.

I speak for many who feel as I do when I say I care deeply about the safety of children- and those who are unable or choose not to defend themselves. This is why I own and carry firearms.

This is also why I volunteer to work with incarcerated youths. Our system has not failed- many parents have. For whatever reasons, we have tens of thousands of young people who grow up without positive parental guidance and influence. They grow up isolated, without discipline and without a sense of personal responsibility. They blame others for their conditions and circumstances and justify their crimes and violence on that basis.

I can tell you from listening to these kids that if they want to hurt you- the choice of weapon is unimportant. I can tell you that if they want what’s in your medicine cabinet, you are nothing more than an object in their way.

If you want the current decline in violent crime to continue. If you want to prevent violence as much as possible- reach out to these kids and give them a positive influence in their lives.

Chariton also says:

“Adhering to every last misinterpreted provision of a 225-year-old document written by slave owners is far less important than protecting our children from death by bazooka gun.”

Now let’s get to the heart of the matter.

Yes, Jordan, the founders made compromises in their time. Let’s avoid the juxtaposed contextual difficulties of the argument and stick with the facts.

Constitution and Declaration of Independence on Grungy Betsy Ross FlagThe founders crafted a document and a system of law that would protect freedom and liberty- from the abuse of a tyrannical central authority. Yes- slavery would continue for some time, but many of those who drafted the Constitution were avowed abolitionists. That’s why although they compromised on the enforcement issue to preserve the newborn United States, they would not compromise on the language.

Read the letters of Franklin, Jefferson and Madison and you’ll find the entire context of these compromises. You’ll also find that what they understood above all was that by creating, for the first time in human history, a government that would give the law the pre-eminent position over any individual leader or a compact of ruling elite, that any inequities would be resolved by the people over time.

It was their hope that these inequities could be resolved without bloodshed; through reason and through continued self-governance.

Their greatest fear was that this experiment would not last. They feared that the People would not participate fully in self-governance, that individual rights would be threatened by strong central authority and that, as Jefferson articulated, another revolution may be necessary in the future.

And to that end, the 2nd Amendment was crafted.

You cannot defend life and liberty without arms. This is not a utopian world. As long as there are criminals and tyrants there will be a need for self-defense.

If you support the Constitutional defense of life and liberty, you cannot separate the Constitutional protection of the right of self-defense.

You rightly and accurately quote the Constitution when you wrote:

“…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Remember- the Constitution was written to restrict the actions of government, not to subvert the inalienable rights of the People.

No- the slaves were not freed as soon as they scribed “all Men are created equal.” But the foundation and justification for emancipation was set.

No- the 1st Amendment does not protect your actions when you yell “fire” in a crowded theater. That’s because while certain rights are inalienable, meaning they are natural rights and not granted by any human authority, no right is unlimited. You abdicate any right- even unalienable rights, when your actions infringe on the rights of others.

The 2nd Amendment stand is crucial precisely because many people think, as Jordan seems to indicate, that the Constitution is vestigial. We will agree on the point that this “225-year-old document written by slave owners” has been and continues to be widely misinterpreted. On second thought, I’d argue that the Constitution has been purposely re-interpreted to serve specific political interests throughout history.

Misinterpretation and abuse are no reasons to disregard the Constitution. This should awaken our passion to preserve it- and to return to it’s original intent and value which is, above all, to assure individual freedom and liberty.

Our framers understood the that the greatest threat to individual freedom comes from two major aggressors:

  1. A tyrannical central authority
  2. The mob

Contrary to popular believe, we do not live or govern by majority rule. No majority can deprive you of your fundamental rights at the ballot box. The onerous process of amending the Constitution is a safeguard against any confederation of citizens, majority or minority, from denying any individual right- especially in the heat of a highly charged emotional debate.

I am armed. I am trained in the use of firearms and tactics. I accept full personal responsibility for my own safety and defense. I commit myself to the protection of others. I take my responsibilities as an armed citizen very seriously.

If I pose a threat to you then you should work passionately to disarm me and others like me.

If you choose to do so, the burden is yours. Yes, Jordan, “every last word and amendment from both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution” is supposed to be “hard and fast.” That’s what protects from the rule of the mob or the whim of the tyrant.

If you want to disarm American citizens, your only option is to amend the Constitution- not to use Congress as a weapon to infringe my natural right to defend myself as I see fit.

Of course, that’s a tougher fight!


Want to see what happens when you adopt a total gun ban? It can’t happen here, right? Watch this…


Diluting American Values: Why the U.S. will be an Islamic State in 10 years

“A few years ago, an inter-faith group of 10,000 people met at the Vatican in Rome. The group included the Pope, the Dalai Lama and Muslim Imam W. D. Mohammed. An outspoken Hindu woman was quoted as saying, It was refreshing to note that the idea that all religions have universal truths, and are merely different paths to the same goal was accepted as a given from the outset by all delegates without a single dissenting voice.”

As I read the above recounting of the inter-faith conference, I was immediately reminded of an interview I did last August with the respective heads of the Jewish Defence League of Canada, the Canadian Hindu Advocacy and the Christian Heritage Party (Is Valley Park Middle School Canada’s Ground Zero Mosque?).

The subject for discussion was the controversy surrounding a Toronto district’s decision to allow 300 Muslim students to worship in the school’s cafeteria during school hours.

While the issue of school prayer in and of itself makes for an interesting and polarizing discussion, it was the subtle undertones that many may have missed that were the most disconcerting.

. . . many quasi-religious groups to unite around a mixture of religious teachings and then brand honest Christian believers as bigots for clinging to salvation in Christ alone.

The undertones to which I am referring were two-fold in that in their ongoing efforts to avoid dissension amongst themselves (re avoid offending those of different faiths), the three leaders on the panel admitted that they were caught by surprise by the school district’s decision.

In an effort to get ahead of the controversy they made observations along the lines that Muslim prayer and in particular the Islamic leanings behind it was not really a question of religious freedom but one based on a political imperative.  Specifically, the Muslim services are part of a much bigger agenda to proselytize Canada and the United States.  This reasoned the panel, is the real threat!

If the “threat” as they called it is political in nature and is real, which I will explain why it may very well be the case in a few moments, then the leaders’ apathetic acquiescence to a syncretism doctrine is what has opened the door to said threat.

Like banning Christmas trees or sending students home for wearing t-shirts proclaiming their faith in the name of a false tolerance for other religions, we have diluted our own values.  In the process, we have become vulnerable to those who do not have to deal with such division or duplicity of belief.

Now the question of course is how, in an age when school prayer is frowned upon, did those who are of a Muslim faith gain approval to hold worship services on school property during the lunch hour?

Again the esteemed panel reasoned that there is a political element to this story that circumvented the long-standing, carefully structured “understanding” between them.  Overlooking the fact that their inter-faith dealings are about as useful as the crew of the Titantic arguing who is at fault for hitting the iceberg while the ship sinks into oblivion, they point to the power of Islamic money as the driving force behind the district’s decision to allow school prayer.  In this light they may be on to something.

In my series Islamic Fundamentalism: The Pending Storm, I delve deeply into the increasing global influence of the Islamic Financial Platform in which both New York and London are battling to become the the global financial center for tapping into the wealth of Muslim investors.

An objective that should be noted, is shared by venerable American corporations such as General Electric.

General Electric, who openly acknowledged that they “want to become a regular sukuk issuer over time,” having already issued a $500 million bond as part of an overall $8 billion strategy, expressed their hope that “other Western players would follow their lead and issue sukuks.”

In short, and if you follow the money, you have to ask yourself this question . . . can our politicians be influenced by the financial industry?  If the answer is yes, then Muslim prayer in school could be a logical consequence . . . and perhaps just the beginning.

The reasoning for this is quite simple.  The financial markets and for the most part politicians are agnostic in terms of their achieving their objectives.

With the former greed, pure and simple, is the driving force, while politicians are motivated by those that can lead them to the pinnacle of power re get them elected.  If you agree with this simple premise, then it is not a stretch to realize that those who possess the power to influence are likely going to be the one’s who are heard and accommodated.

If you question the above statement, research Operation Ajax and the fall of the democratically elected Mossadegh government in Iran.  You will discover that a “We the People” democracy takes a back seat to financial interests.

This of course brings us back full circle to the see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil vanilla panel, whose quest not to offend has diluted our own religious convictions under the facade of universal truth and tolerance.

It is this mindset that has made us vulnerable to the shifting realities of global economic influence.

So what is the answer?

Stop trying to appease one another and hold steadfast to your beliefs and position in society and the world around you.  For Christians who believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven say so proudly and without hesitation – no apologies necessary.  And for goodness sakes put up a Christmas Tree and wish people Merry Christmas.  If some are offended, too bad because tolerance is supposed to be a two-way street.

The same should also go for the other religions, as the primary objective of one’s beliefs should not be one of compromise so as to avoid offence.  This is a lukewarm doctrine that serves no one’s best interests!

Are we teaching our children appeasement under the guise of being tolerant?

As for the schools, give equal access to all students to practice their faith on school grounds.  If a Christian or Jewish group of students want to hold lunch time services then let them.  If fights ensue deal with it!  Don’t run away from it by pretending your tolerant when all you are is just cowardly.


Are there more rudimentary reasons behind the student loan crisis that we are unwilling to face?

NOTE: Be sure to also tune into my in-depth with eCampus News’ Associate Editor Denny Carter regarding the student loan crisis (The Truth Behind The Student Loan Crisis).

As I read this morning’s article in the Washington Post regarding the continuing crisis with student loans and the fact that delinquency is actually having an impact on the country’s seniors – according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York people 60 and older still owe $36 billion, I could not help but wonder why?

Back in the day, a university degree was a privilege that very few had the opportunity to pursue.  In fact education in general was often times viewed as being of secondary importance to an able bodied young adult’s obligations to contribute to the family’s financial well-being.

I can still remember the depression-era story my father shared with me about how despite being a straight A student in high school, his widowed mother could not afford the $5 for him to write his final exams.  Needless to say he never graduated and after serving in the navy during the war returned home to work at a packing plant eventually being promoted to night manager.

While he never lamented his lot in life . . . in fact at the time of his death at the age 66, he had paid off the house in full, was debt free and, was able to save enough money to provide a decent nest egg for my mother, he always believed in the value of an education and as such ensured that my brothers and I had every opportunity to attend university.

By the time my older brother had graduated from university with a Ph.D. in Political Science (he himself is now a tenured university professor), higher education was a common entitlement to which all young people aspired.  As a side note, my brother did have to work a part time night shift flipping burgers to help offset the cost of books, but emerged with a degree in hand debt free.

In retrospect one can’t help but wonder what the real cost of this transition from privilege to right means as it would appear that the vehicle by which college became accessible may have been built on a house of cards with a mortar of crushing debt loads that significantly surpasses that of even credit card and auto loans.

While there is a general consensus that the cost of education is the culprit, over the past 10 years it has risen between 2 and 6 percent per annum, others point to the fact that even though those with a university degree have greater options resulting in lower unemployment and higher wages, they are still struggling financially to make ends meet.  Hence the reason for the high level of continuing debt and defaults.

However, is there perhaps a much deeper problem that like the 800 pound gorilla in the room, no one wants to address simply because it may very well shine a scrutinizing light on how we live and manage our finances?

As I am sure you can imagine, the cost for my brother to attend university to obtain a doctorate was not cheap.  But in addition to his working part time, my father made a significant contribution to help defray the expense by his diligence in terms of putting aside money over the years.  What this meant is that my brother attended university on what was largely a pay as you go basis, so that at the end of the road he did not enter the working world saddled with a huge debt.

This leads to an interesting question, and reminiscent of our over reliance on credit cards to get what we want now as opposed to saving up for it – my father for example never had a car loan as he always paid cash for his vehicles (and this was someone who in the 1960s earned around $65 per week), how many parents and students looked at student loans as a substitute for saving money to attend university or college?

For that matter, what percentage of those who attended college and took student loans like my brother, had part time jobs to help pay their way?

Now I am certain that the above questions will likely be met with a high degree of angst if not outright hostility but, I cannot help but wonder if the borrow now and pay later after I get a big paying job gamble caused far too many people to pursue an education that they might not otherwise have contemplated.  And I am not just talking about attending school in general but the the choice as to what their major would be and whether or not they had a solid understanding of the post education job market a degree in their chosen field would offer.

Or to put it another way, did a no cost – no value mindset permeate our collective consciousness whereby instead of saving hard earned money to go to school and therefore chose a degree that was more practical relative to post-education job prospects, give way to a I’ll worry about it tomorrow entitlement where our curriculum choices were ultimately unfavorably skewed?

Even though rising education costs are indeed a problem, until there are definitive studies that address the above questions, we are going to continue to have problems that similar to credit card debt will cause us to experience unnecessary financial hardship.


What’s wrong (with some people) in America? The response from one reader says it all . . .

Thanks for your input, biased and inaccurate though it is. Your article is condescending and pompous. Let your thesaurus be your guide, right? Your perceived view of American history and present day conflicting views by you and Caputi are simplistic, written by wanna be sophisticates who use their thesaurus to hide their ignorance behind long words. What has President Lincoln got to do with any of this? The Canadian Press prints some good articles, probably too conservative and accurate for you. Americans do not hate each other as a whole. But being a liberal you must adhere to the far left line.’ Perhaps we should follow the Canadian model. Enjoying socialised health care? You can keep it. Canada and America have always been good allies. But a liberal can’t pass an opportunity to create division wherever possible. Luckily I don’t see all Canadians as being like you. Your loud mouth and the liberal do-gooders here are a classless minority. If you rely on cartoons as your measurement of America, you are a “neo”-Neanderthal. Regards from America Mr. Jon W. Smug.

The above is a response I received regarding my post “Has America Lost A Sense of Its Own Greatness or, Why Do Americans Hate Each Other?

What is most interesting is that it (being the response) proves – with an exclamation point I might add, that perhaps my assessment is on the mark.

As I would write in my reply to the reader, the fact is I am not a Liberal as my leanings are more conservative.

In terms of health care, I have actually written papers, articles as well as aired a number of shows questioning the ongoing viability of socialized medicine based on the obvious failings of the model (Here is the link to the most recent critiquing of Canada’s health care system;

The fact is that without actually doing any research, and therefore failing to even gain a minimum understanding of the reasons behind my point of view, the reader made assumptions that fueled an uninformed vitriolic denigration of what was nothing more than an honest expression of an opinion, that itself was based upon my own research.

This of course leads to the obvious question, what ever happened to an informed dialogue where after a respectful sharing of opinions parties to the discussion could at worst agree to disagree?

So you tell me, is the above individual’s remarks reflective of American society as a whole, or are they limited to only a small but vociferous group of citizens?

A brief comment about Canada . . .

By the way, and with a people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones sentiment, I am seeing a similar expression of animosity, particularly with politicians, here in the Great White North.

A recent example is a Huffington Post article by Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett, which conjured up images of deflective school yard antics that serves no one, least of all the Canadian public.

While I am not suggesting that the wrongdoing referenced in her article be ignored, what I do find distasteful is the self-serving, sanctimonious stumping that Ms. Bennett and other politicians with short memories seem to do with great alacrity, while every day Canadians are left to deal with the consequences of partisan politicking.


Your president thinks you’re STUPID

Forget faith. Forget the religious argument. There is a much bigger problem and here it is:

Your president thinks you’re stupid.

That’s right. President Obama’s “Contraception Compromise” shows clearly and without a doubt that he thinks the American people are absolutely stupid.

Here are the basic facts:

  • President Obama declares that employers with a religious objection will not have to provide insurance benefits for contraception and birth control
  • Instead, insurance companies will be mandated to provide these services free of charge and…
  • …People working for religious groups with the exemption will get the coverage anyway

For Christ’s sake! There is no question that Obama thinks we’re stupid; the question now is exactly HOW stupid he thinks we are!

First of all, whether you consider yourself a religious person or not you should be afraid, very afraid of what is going on here. Never has there been a more overt declaration by the federal government that imposes governmental control over a private industry. By what authority does the president or anyone in government mandate that a private insurance company must provide a service without compensation?

Of course, you ARE stupid if you think the insurers will not pass this expense along. Of course in this version of the New World Order, everyone will share in this expense. I’m guessing that there has already been a wink and handshake deal that provides for some kind of “Equality in Coverage Fee” that will cover the extra expense.

Having children is a CHOICE. Since the beginning of this battle, advocates of birth control, particularly abortion, has been “freedom of CHOICE.” It’s a woman’s choice as to whether or not to have a child or carry a child to full term.

Well then, how do you justify stripping away someone else’s freedom to exercise their own moral conscience?

Here is the flip side argument made by the Los Angeles Times: 

“It seems wrong to require employers to provide coverage they find morally reprehensible, but equally wrong to let them make moral decisions for employees.”

By what twisted logic is any refusal to pay for optional insurance benefits somehow construed as the imposition of a moral decision? That’s like saying that unless I pick up the tab for your lunch, I’m stripping away your civil rights!

Having children is an individual choice. Whether you agree or not, aborting a pregnancy has been defended as an individual choice. How can you make this argument and at the same time say that it’s anyone else’s responsibility to pick up the tab for your individual choices?

How is an employer somehow morally obligated to pay for your birth control? How is not paying for birth control somehow making moral decisions for employees?

If employers were allowed to impose a company policy that states that you cannot have children, that argument might hold up. No — you’re free to have children or even abort them; it should be your responsibility to pay for those decisions.

I’ll be blunt: If the choice of whether or not to have a child is your individual right; then it’s also your individual responsibility to support that decision, morally and materially.

We’re not talking here about depriving anyone of fundamental human rights. You can’t, for example, make a logical argument that supports slavery. The argument here is not whether to take a fundamental right away from someone, it’s whether or not we’re going to manufacture and subsidize a new privilege.

Ironically I was about to review the new movie, “Atlas Shrugged.” In my review I was going to say that while thought provoking and in some places amazingly prophetic, overall it’s a bit melodramatic and over the top.

After the double-speak our president is attempting to pull off this week, I’m not so sure…

This is a fundamental individual rights argument masked in a religious rights argument. The issue here is not the rights of religious organizations, this is the most egregious attack on the rights of individual freedom and conscious ever attempted by our federal government.

You Want to Occupy? Pay Up!

You Want to Occupy? Pay Up!

Never has America’s 1st Amendment rights been so radically distorted.  Occupy Wherever protesters continue their protests across the country and around the world citing the U.S. Constitution and our right to “freedom of speech.”

Your 1st Amendment rights do not give you license to impose yourself or your views on others. This right was codified by the American framers specifically to assure that citizens were not prevented from participating in political discussion or criticism of the government. It does not grant the right to assemble or speak wherever and whenever you want to, especially if your actions are denying other citizens their fundamental rights to live and work peacefully.

Fundamentally, the 1st Amendment grants you the right to assemble and air your gripes with the federal government or more specifically, it simply prevents congress from enacting any law that would prevent you from doing so.

When you have a gripe with the government, you have the right to speak your mind. You also have the obligation to pay for any associated expenses. In other words, you can criticize the government, but it’s not the government’s obligation to pay the bill for your protest.

Cities with already strained budgets have picked up most of the cost to the tune of over $13 million and counting in the States. Let’s look at the tab so far…

  • Los Angeles: Over $1 million
  • Oakland: $2.4 million
  • Portland, Oregon: $1 million
  • Boston: $2 million
  • New York: $7 million

Even the small city of Eugene, Oregon reports over $100,000 in extra expenses directly attributed to the Occupy encampment there. Most of the expense is police and fire overtime and now sanitation and clean-up expenses.

When these figures started to come to light there was an immediate comparison to the costs of Tea Party protests. There was one highly examined incident where Representative Michelle Bachman used government funds to pay some expenses for a Tea Party rally to the tune of about $14,000. While I’d argue that she should have found other means of funding, it turns out this expense was ruled legal, ethical and appropriate. That is a rule that should be scrutinized.

The similarities end there. Nearly all Tea Party rallies obtained permits, paid fees for their assembly and as cited in numerous reports, left the scene cleaner than they found it. In Richmond, Virginia Tea Partiers are now demanding a refund of nearly $10,000 in fees they paid the city for their rallies. They contend that the City of Richmond has given a pass to Occupy which has been camping for free without permits throughout their demonstration.

I don’t want to get into the tit for tat petulance over which group did this and didn’t do that. If the core belief of OWS is sincerely to end government/corporate corruption and reduce government control over personal life, I frankly don’t understand why they condemn the Tea Party; the two should be natural allies. Of course, if that was the original intent of OWS, this intent has long been overshadowed by those who seem to thing even greater state control and redistribution of wealth is the solution rather than grass roots participation in the democratic process.

The important thing is to understand why it’s appropriate to charge reasonable fees for public demonstrations and why no group should expect the taxpayer to pick up the tab.

City, county, state and federal funds are assets owned by the people – all the people in that particular jurisdiction. You have the right to speak your mind, but you have no right to speak for everyone. There are those, despite the proclamations of OWS, who do not agree with you. We do not allow public funds to be used to support a particular point of view because it’s not the obligation of those who disagree with you to pay for your expression of your personal opinions.

If you want to blow your horn, you pay the band!

The arrogance of the OWS movement is apparent in this petulant expectation that they can do whatever they want, wherever they want and expect others to pick up the tab. At least they’re consistent in their theme; after all they are demanding free college tuition, free housing and free credit among other things.

OWS claims to represent the “99%” and purports to be the voice of the working man. Among their demands is a job for every able person. I’m wondering if anyone associated with OWS has considered how many municipal employees could be added to the payrolls for $13 million.

To be fair, the Occupiers in Eugene have given this some thought. According to the Register Guard:

…Occupy Eugene participants say the city’s cost is just one side of the story, and that the encampment in Washington-Jefferson Park benefits Eugene.

The more than 100 tents and canvas and tarp-covered structures provide a place for homeless people, which gets them off the streets and cuts crime, the activists say.

“There are a lot of people who are here who are homeless,” said Silver Mogart, an organizer.

“Because of the camp, “They don’t have to use city facilities, the Egan Warming Centers or the Eugene Mission.”

“We have cooled down a lot of crime in downtown,” he said.

Not so much.

In addition to municipal expenditures on OWS demonstrations what about the direct costs to other citizens? Across the country OWS protesters squat in restaurants disrupting business, use private restrooms without permission and without patronizing the establishment, they throw their garbage and human waste in private dumpsters and they prevent other citizens from using the parks and public spaces we all pay for.

New York, Boston and Oakland now report that several small businesses have been severely affected and may close due to the Occupiers. That’s how they represent the 99%? By closing them down?

Individual freedom is the foundation of American liberty. The 1st Amendment is one of the most important safeguards protecting that liberty. However, with individual freedom comes responsibility and the obligation to be respectful of the rights of others.

Occupiers seem to want the freedom without the responsibility.

You’ve got something to say; say it. Just don’t expect me to pay for your privilege.

Should the mentally ill be allowed to use public transit?

By now  you have probably watched the video of an OC Transpo bus driver yelling expletive deletives at a passenger who, as it was later discovered, was mentally challenged.

If not, I am providing the video with the warning that the language used by the driver in question is shall we say colorful . . .

Now in our Poll we asked the question as to whether or not the driver should be fired (you can also cast your vote as we have included the poll at the end of this post)?  So far, and it is still early in the voting mind you, the overall response is a resounding YES!

With such an overwhelming outpouring of public anger towards the OC Transpo employee it might be safe to conclude that there is no other side to this story . . . or is there?

As the sole voice of dissent, I spoke with the individual who had voted no and the reason given for going against the majority is that a 55 second video doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story.

Perhaps, what we are witnessing on tape (electronically speaking) is the tail end of an interaction in which the driver after politely asking the passenger to keep it down for say 20 minutes finally blew his stack when the desired response was not forthcoming?  Or maybe, just maybe, this was the fifth day in a row that this particular passenger got on the bus and began reciting what he later described as his play . . . that’s right, apparently what triggered the angry outburst was the passenger’s repetitious reading of lines from a play he had written.  Well, you know what they say about critics . . .

The above certainly opens the door to a possible alternative view of the events.

And if what we are indeed witnessing on YouTube is the culmination of building frustration over a period of minutes, or perhaps even days, is it fair to condemn the driver with little more than a proverbial tip of the iceberg understanding?

Furthermore, if you allow yourself to believe that there are indeed mitigating circumstances, and that perhaps the driver’s tirade was warranted then maybe the problem is solely the responsibility of the mentally ill young chap who perhaps while unintentional, causes this kind of disruption whenever he is out in public?

This may not even be the first time the young play-write has been the incendiary spark for a normal person’s ire, just the first time it was caught on video.  What if in his wake he has left a trail of people who, like the bus driver, has been reduced to a molten pyre of rage?

If this is indeed the other side to this sad story then perhaps the problem is with the mentally ill young man and all mentally ill people in general.  And if we are to accept this alternative view, then maybe we should question whether or not the mentally ill should be allowed to access public transit.

Maybe like the ill effects of second hand smoke, we should relegate the mentally ill to certain buses, in which the drivers would be specially trained to deal with them?

Come to think of it, having to wait for someone in a wheelchair to get on the bus as we race against the clock in morning rush hour traffic is also an inconvenience to us normal people.  Maybe we should create a separate bus system for them as well, in which they are restricted to back roads?  Just don’t get me started on punk rockers or, for that matter anyone of a different race or religion.

Or maybe . . . and this is just a thought, maybe we can treat each other like fellow human beings?