Category Archives: Justice

Uncovering the Truth is Hard

I watched yesterday’s Congressional hearings covering foreign actors who deceived us with fake news stories, top officials who outright lied, intelligence officials who know the truth but just can’t tell and unknown parties who leaked the truth to the press. 

Guess which of these groups the Republicans want to prosecute?  

If it hadn’t been for the damn leakers, we could have avoided facing the truth altogether. 

Moral of the story:  If you want to leak information, make sure it’s false or you could go to prison.

Why Whites Can’t be Hate Crime Victims

Wow!  I didn’t expect anyone to actually come right out and say it.  It’s something that’s bothered me for a long time.  But during the July 13th broadcast of “CNN Newsroom,” Ebony Magazine Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux stated that she disagreed with (President Obama’s) characterizing the shooting of Dallas police officers as a hate crime and using that term for “a group of people that have a history with African-Americans that have been abusive, and we can apply that to either police officers or to Caucasians, I think, gets into very tricky territory.”

Of course that isn’t what the law says.  But the tricky territory she’s talking about is how we all perceive the law.  For most of us we may say Civil Rights but we hear Black Rights.  Despite the awkward euphemisms her message is clear, “Whites can’t be the victims of a hate crime because they are the bad guys.”  She sees the law as a kind of declaration dividing Americans into two classifications, “the haters” and “the hated.”  What bothers me is I see the law that way too.  Now if an old white guy like me and a young black activist woman share the same perception of the law, perhaps everyone in between does too.

That would go a long way in explaining why we can’t heal old wounds.

Can’t we all just get along?

I’ve been attending an interesting “Bucket Course” with this title at Grinnell’s Drake Library given by Dr. J.R. Paulson. This quote by Rodney King, actually, “Can we all get along?” poses some challenging questions about human behavior. One of Dr. Paulson’s main themes is,

“Belief comes first, explanations for beliefs follow.”

The only problem I have with this is it demonstrates what Dr. Paulson calls the “framing bias.” The word “Belief” implies we are talking about something the individual believes to be true. I doubt that I am only speaking for myself when I say my beliefs are hardly ever grounded in truth and almost always represent a concession I have made “just to get along” in society. This makes Mr. King’s statement more an enigma than a question. Continue reading

When LaPierre says gun owners will not accept responsibility, he’s got it wrong.

Actually what National Rifle As­sociation CEO Wayne LaPierre said was, “Gun owners will not accept blame for acts of criminals.” It may seem like I’m parsing words here but the only difference between the two words is that “blame” implies we have no control over the situation and that simply isn’t true. And either way, he’s got it wrong, because the gun owners I know want to take responsibility and they only need a little help from lawmakers who just don’t seem to get it. Continue reading

New prison at Fort Madison Iowa

New prison at Fort Madison Iowa

Not the “field of dreams” image we all want for Iowa?  Will adding to the state’s prison capacity, create an urgency to fill the vacancies?

 A dying Iowan who claims he grew marijuana to treat a painful cancer faces a possible prison sentence. In what Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City calls “waste of taxpayer money”, Scott County jurors delivered a guilty verdict on four felony drug charges facing Benton Mackenzie, 48, whose wife and son were also convicted alongside him.  So will we waste more money by sending this family to prison? Continue reading

LaPierre says, “Gun owners will not accept responsibility?”

 There’s been a lot of discussion about mental illness as a common thread in recent shootings.  But we can’t focus just on this.  We’ve always had mental illness and we’ve had guns for a long time.  Cultural factors and changing attitudes have made this a more dangerous combination.  It’s unlikely that we will eliminate either one, so we need to figure out how to keep them apart.  Neither the government nor the family has been up to the task. Continue reading