Tag Archives: leave it to beaver

Violence in America

tamir rice

Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old boy who was playing in a Cleveland, Ohio park with a toy gun. Someone called 911 and reported that a “juvenile” was pointing a gun at passersby and that the gun was probably a toy. Two city police officers named Loehmann and Garmback arrived on the scene in separate cars. Critical information had NOT been related to them: they were not told that Tamir was a child, nor that Tamir appeared to be playing with a toy gun. It appears, however, that within two minutes of arriving on the scene Officer Loehmann had taken out his real gun, aimed, opened fire, and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

It is unclear to me how anyone, including a trained police officer, can assess a scene in under two minutes. It is unclear how a grown man can not recognize the difference between a child with a toy gun and a threatening adult. It is equally unclear to me how anyone with a conscience can ever again sleep at night after shooting a child to death. Yet two “independent experts” in police shootings stated that this police shooting was justified and/or reasonable.

In South Carolina, a female high-school student refused to leave the classroom, and security was called. The so-called “school resource officer,” Ben Fields, confronted the girl, grabbed her, and then turned over her desk with her in it, throwing her on the floor in the process. He then dragged her out of the classroom while choking her. Of course, everything was caught on a cell-phone video. Another student, who complained about her classmate’s treatment by calling out “Stop! What are you doing to her?” (or something along those lines), was then arrested for interfering. The security guard has since been fired – but was this the best way to handle a teenager?

America is simply too violent. It seems the only way we try to resolve a dispute is with a gun. Shoot first and asked questions later. It’s as if we live in the Wild, Wild West with Wyatt Earp and John Wesley Hardin, who once shot a man for snoring. Where is Wild Bill Hickok? We have to have a better way of resolving our differences.

Continue reading Violence in America

Changing American Demographics

I find it hard to believe some of the stuff that comes out of Bill O’Reilly’s mouth. It is utterly amazing. For a commentator in the year 2012 to tell us that the world has changed since the 1950s sitcom Leave It to Beaver… He gets paid for that? When I was watching Leave It to Beaver in the mid-1970s, Wally and the Beav, the two children the sitcom, were both adults. Hugh Beaumont, the father figure, had stopped acting by this time. As a matter of fact, Tony Dow, who played Wally, spoofed his Pollyanna, Leave It to Beaver character in Kentucky Fried Movie, which came out in 1977. (It was John Landis’s first big hit. He went on to direct Animal House, the Blues Brothers, Trading Places and several others.)

The fact that the demographics of the United States has changed is not the problem. Americans still want exactly the same things that they did back in the 1950s. People want a job that pays them a living wage. Americans want to live in a neighborhood that is safe with excellent schools for their kids. It doesn’t matter whether you are Black, White, Hispanic, Asian or whatever, this is the American dream. So, instead of focusing on the fact that some of us are browner than others. Some of us are more female than others. Republicans need to start focusing on the fact that Americans all want the same thing.

Bill O’Reilly Remains True to Form

It was only a couple weeks ago when Bill O’Reilly was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Bill was promoting his new book. He and Stewart sparred but there was no meaningful exchanges. It was only a week earlier when Jon Stewart was on the O’Reilly Factor. Stewart mentioned that O’Reilly had become “the reasonable one.” This was true. Over the last two or three years, Glenn Beck is become the wild and crazy face of right-wing politics. Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly have become reasonable. O’Reilly doesn’t want reasonable. Reasonable does not sell books. So, O’Reilly goes on The View.

Now this was vintage Bill O’Reilly. Edgy, combative, condescending, demeaning were all traits that Bill O’Reilly exhibited over his career and brought to the forefront for this interview. He did not want to Jon Stewart detente type of interview. He wanted more. He wanted something that America could talk about. He wanted something that would fire up those right wing extremists to run out and buy his book. That’s exactly what he got.

In some ways, I agree with Barbara Walters. We should be able to discuss issues without leaving the room. In other ways, this is a throwback to Leave It to Beaver type mentality. We should be able to discuss issues. We should not let conversations deteriorate into shouting matches. These women, on The View, had to know that Bill O’Reilly wanted to start something. They had to know that their show was the perfect venue for him to “misspeak” then apologize. If they didn’t know it, why didn’t they?

Bill O’Reilly, never to let an opportunity go to waste, spent all of his talking points commentary on defending himself. He’s right and they (liberals) are wrong. He basically stated that he said what he said because he was right. The problem, as he sees it, is that America’s fighting Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. He doesn’t see that were fighting Muslim extremists. He then expands his argument by noting many in the Muslim world hate the United States. He states the polls clearly show this. Therefore, he concludes that we’re actually fighting all Muslims since they support the extremists. The most interesting thing of O’Reilly’s diatribe is that he doesn’t note that most Muslims do not support extremists. This is key. This is the flaw in the O’Reilly logic. (There are actually many flaws but this is the most glaring.)

Bill O’Reilly ends his rant with one of the most unsubstantiated statements in his whole commentary. But this is an O’Reilly classic. This is one of those statements that most Americans would agree with on the surface. At first glance it sounds great. “If most moderate Muslims would ally themselves with the United States, the jihad would not exist.” What? What kind of blather is that? If most moderate Muslims would align themselves with the United States… Most moderate Muslims do not support violence. There’s a reason that Osama bin Laden is not sipping tea in Kabul, Islamabad or Istanbul. It is because he is not accepted there. There’s a reason that he’s hiding in the mountains in Western Pakistan. There’s a reason that he will not show his face in any major city. Moderate Muslims will not protect him. There’s a reason that we were able to find Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. We got information from moderate Muslims.

Finally, and most glaringly, Bill O’Reilly is distorting the facts, as usual. He puts forth the facts that support his point of view but won’t paint the whole picture. Sure, in multiple polls, Muslims are not in love with the United States. But these polls go further. The majority of Muslims want better relations with the West. They also show that majority of Muslims, the same 70% that Bill O’Reilly quotes, do not support violence against civilians. Let me say that again, the vast majority of Muslims polled in countries like Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan and Indonesia do not support violence against civilians. Bill O’Reilly remains a controversial figure that will not go away. For reasons that are unclear, thoughtful, intelligent conservative Americans continue to embrace this guy. He distorts the facts. He promotes himself relentlessly. He simply wants to sell more books which by the way, will also distort facts.