Thursday, April 19, 2007

Press and VA Tech

The events that took place on Monday Virginia Tech is a poignant reminder of what took place at Brampton Centennial. The memory of friends killed and wounded become fresh again for a few moments. The out of bounds hounding of the press in 1975 of families of victims and the family of the perpetrator has increased only ten fold.

Families and friends who seek to bury their dead in peace and out of the spotlight find instead a string of cameras recording their private lives under the unjust and disrespectful claim that the public has a right to know when all they are doing is satisfying their own voyeuristic desires and those who have similar neurotic tendencies. Most of those pointing the cameras those same people would never want to be on the receiving end of being the subject of the voyeuristic desires of the public.

This is voyeuristic shameful behavior that disregards the right to privacy pails when compared to a much more grievous conduct by the press. This dreadful conduct is the media’s decision to publish the letters and recordings of the shooter. I have not read them or listened to them, and I will not do so. The press under the guise of the public has a right to know is only laying the foundation for the next psychotic killer. The press needs to ask, “Why has he left these messages? And why did he send some of them to NBC?” The answer is simple. In his psychotic delirium he wanted to justify his actions, to gain notoriety and to have is work published. And it worked!!! The press gave him what he sought from them! The press has played into this game and he has the victory.

Those who argue that if they do not publish it some other media outlet will are misguided. NBC and others should have taken the high ground by stating that they refused to publish it because by doing so that are rewarding the killer by giving out his message and they would only be encouraging others to follow similarly. Further, they could claim that in this situation that they are setting aside the freedom to publish and profit for the greater good of the community. The press that cries about ethics and call for political and business leaders to courageously seek the common good for the public above personal gain have demonstrated in the publication of the killer’s material that they too are no better than those they attack with vengeance.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Another Saturday of For Competitions

Today Joshua completed another round of competitions. This round was the final of the year sponsored by the school district (series runs: marching band, district band, concert band, jazz and solo/ensemble). Today Joshua did a college level solo (grade 6 rating) and then was in a trombone ensemble along with three others from his school. Josh and the ensemble received a 1 (superior score).

The solo will continue to be honed for his college entrance auditions. A second solo will be worked up to be the second solo for his college auditions.

There is only one more series left in the school year, an open competition being held in Myrtle Beach in just less than two weeks. With some trombones in Concert II are missing for the Myrtle Beach trip Josh is filling in on second trombone.

After the Myrtle Beach Josh will not get much rest from competitions since there will be thirty-three competitions in which he will be participating with the Crossmen over the summer.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Lesson Learned"

With great humor my secretary, Erika, told me that on Wednesday her twenty year old nephew was driving in DC while talking on his cell phone. Passing an intersection he saw someone he knew. He waved, kept driving and talking on his cell. Less than block later lights flashed telling him to pull to the curb. The officer said if he terminated the call he would have received only warning, be kept talking and was issued a $100 ticket for talking on his cell phone while behind the wheel. The officer issuing the ticket was his uncle.

His uncle and Erika hope there nephew has learned a lesson. Regretfully, they have their doubts.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Duke Lacrosse Scandal

Earlier today the strengths and the failings of the justice system were put on view with the Duke case announcement. Justice finally prevailed and the charges against the three young men were not only dismissed but the State Attorney General took the rare step of declaring that the young men were innocent (rather than saying that “there was insufficient evidence”). He went on to say that they should never have been charged in the first place.

Nifong’s actions broadcast the loud and clear what happens when a man puts his own selfish political agenda ahead of justice. His office carefully selected data, dismissed and hid a host of information that contradicted his theory, bullied and charged a cab driver who was transporting two of the men at the time of the alleged rape in an effort to get the cab driver to change is story (in other words gross witness tampering), pressure Duke University to dismiss the students before a trial while at the same time trashing the reputation of the three men and the other men of the team before the press and community.

Nifong’s shameful and despicable actions have not only speaks to his own character, but they have tarnished the legal system. It reveals that innocent people are prosecuted because of poor police work, rush to judgment and for the self gain of the prosecutor. His actions makes us wonder how many innocent people who lack the means that were available to these three men are this very moment in prisons. One of Nifong’s lasting legacy will be a series of laws that are forthcoming to help prevent prosecutorial misconduct and will forever be have his name attached to why the laws came into existence. For years to come this case, Nifong’s name and conduct will be studied in the classrooms across the country. Another lasting legacy is that he will be viewed in legal history as an unsavory character.

The reactions of various local community leaders, newspapers, TV and radio outlets, talk show and news commentators who judged and then condemned these men within weeks of the men being charged is particularly alarming. They fueled undue community conflict. These same bastions of free speech who speak of upholding the Constitution have demonstrated that they are convenient selective in their upholding of the Constitution by setting aside the presumption of innocence. Even last month a local NC newspaper still proclaimed their guilt. Instead of presuming innocence, these leaders and commentators took the posture that the three men were guilty and needed to prove conclusively that they were innocent.

Duke University which postures itself as a bastion of academic freedom and balanced investigation, a defender of personal freedom and defender truth and the demander of justice showed that the theory of classroom is to lived out in their own institution. Duke University’s leadership assumed that the three men were guilty and expelled them from their institution. At the end of the day the leadership of Duke has brought shame upon themselves and their institution.

What is frightening is what would have happened to three young men who lacked the fiscal resources of the three families. My own answer to that sends a shiver through me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Josh Goes to Court

Last Thursday I had to go with Joshua to the Fairfax Juvenile Courthouse for his 3:15 appearance before a judge. He was one of about 50 teenagers on the docket.

Dressed in a nice shirt and tie he had been anticipating his appearance before the judge for months. He was eager to get to appear and go through this right this right of passage to get his permanent drivers license. The appearance is a requirement, and one that I feel was appropriate.

The judge reminded them that driving is a privilege, not a right. She reminded them that some teens have abused the privilege and that each week she has to see teens before her in less pleasant circumstances. She also reminded them that parents can put more narrow restrictions on their license that the State will uphold. She reminded them that parents at any time can ask to have the license suspended at anytime for any period just by making a call and the State will suspend the license for the period specified by the parent up until they are eighteen. Using two teens, a police officer went through an effective safety demonstration on reaction time.

At the end, each student was called out by name by the judge. She was not going to give the license. It was to be given to the parent who was responsible for giving it to his/her child. The judge only gave me the license when Josh promised the judge, “I will drive safe.” I thought the symbolism of giving the parent the license was powerful and meaningful.

When I received the license I did not give it immediately to Josh. I held on to it until Evie arrived home. I handed the license to Evie who then handed it to our son. Josh understood the significance of why I was waiting for Evie to get home before he got his permanent license. We both support him and we both have expectations that he will exercise this privilege in a responsible manner.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Yorkminister II

As noted in an earlier blog, Yorkminister were guests at the Arlington Corps last weekend. Here are a few more pics from last Saturday evening.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

What Happened on 7 January

Barb challenged us to look at Wikipedia and post what took place on the date we were born. Before looking at Wikipedia I went to the history channel and found a similar list.

On 7 January the following has taken place.

Christmas by the Julian calendar
Eastern Orthodox - Feast of John the Baptist

Nanakusa - Japan (Seven Herbs Festival)

1782 – first commercial bank in the US opens for business
1789 – first Presidential election in the US
1785 – first crossing of the English channel in a balloon
1924 – Gershwin completes Rhapsody in Blues (I love that item)
1926 – George Burns marries Gracie Allen
1953 – Truman announces the US has developed the hydrogen bomb
1979 – Pol Pot is overthrown (and the world was better for it)
1985 – GM launches the Saturn
1999 – Clinton impeachment trial commences (another high point in politics)

- 0312 Lucianus of Antioch theologist/saint, dies 1

- 1536 Catherine of Aragon 1st wife of England's King Henry VIII, dies
- 1695 Mary II Stuart queen of England, dies at 32
- 1921 Benno Erdmann German philosopher, dies at 69
- 1989 – Emperor Hirohito of Japan dies
- 1990 Joseph Robbie lawyer/NFL owner (Miami Dolphins), dies at 73

- 1710 Josef Antonin Sehling composer

- 1800 Millard Fillmore Locke NY, (Whig) 13th President (1850-53)
- 1845 Louis III last king of Bavaria (1913-18)
- 1928 William Peter Blatty New York City NY, author (The Exorcist)
- 1942 Paul Revere Boise ID, keyboardist (Paul Revere & Raiders)
- 1957 Katie Couric [Katherine], Arlington VA, TV news host

Sunday, April 01, 2007

This One is For Dad and Mom

This weekend a few old friends were at the Arlington Corps. I snapped this picture just after Evie and I enjoyed lunch with them. More pics will be posted in the coming days.