Dear Lord, Now I Take Me Off to School…

Sandy Hook  trauma. Photo courtesy of International Business Times.

Whilst reading my blog comments and perusing my Facebook page, Twitter, et al, I noticed a few more references to yesterday’s horrific events at Sandy Hook elementary school.

It seems to be the sort of thing that has become popular with the crazies who own a multitude of guns. This particular nut had two 9mm hand guns and what looks like a “sniper” rifle.

Someone on Twitter posted a Twitpic of the sniper rifle and asked the question, “What does your average citizen need this type of gun for?” The “old” me would have said, for deer hunting of course or other such big game. The new me says, “Yes, why would you need that type of gun?”

More accurately, why do you need two 9mm handguns and a .223 sniper rifle? Yes, the constitution states that all Americans have the right to bear arms. But do we need an arsenal of guns to protect our hearth and home? Is the right to bear arms for our personal defence inclusive of an armoury of weapons for both long-range and short-range protection?

It seems to me, in this day and age of computerization, that we have the ability to track and trace applications for weapons beyond the residence test. You will excuse me if I am not up on the more recent requirements necessary to purchase firearms in America. The last gun I bought was in 1981. But back then you only had to have a valid driver’s license to prove your age and that you had been a resident of that particular state for over six months.

Since that long time ago, we’ve become more computerized. There are a plethora of data bases out there with our names on them. It should be possible for someone to notice when an individual starts buying more than a couple of weapons.

I am not sure if that will help to “keep a lid” on the amount of nut cases out there who collect guns for their own personal Armageddon or apocalyptic shoot out, but it couldn’t hurt. At least then, we would have the chance to ask, before allowing a further purchase of weaponry, as to why they need it.

Answers in triplicate and no misspellings, please.

We’ve had at least two horrific events in a public place in America in this year alone. A movie theatre and an elementary school, please forgive me if I’ve missed anyone who lost a loved one in another mass shooting. I’m not overly familiar with all the news, just the ones that strike a chord in me.

There has been a rise in the number of school shooting in the last decade. Who can forget the massacre of the Amish children in a small school-house in 2006? There are more – a disturbing amount more – cases of young children paying the price of one (or more) man’s madness. Sadly so many more that I can’t remember them all.

There must be some way, besides adopting the British form of gun control, which can help to prevent this type of thing happening in the future. I suppose you could say that if one or more of the teachers could have been armed and possibly could have blasted the gunman out of his shoes, but do we really want our children to receive their education at the OK Corral? But that is a lot of could‘s with no shoulds to balance them out. So what should be done?

I still believe that if the government decide to pass any sort of “extreme” gun control that American‘s have the right to bear arms. That should never change. But I also believe that the right to bear arms does not mean the right to own a huge amount of weapons. Unless you are a “survivalist” the average family doesn’t need a huge stockpile of weapons and ammunition.

But that is not what this blog post is about. The issue of gun control will rage on until enough innocents pay the price for the lackadaisical attitude about weapons from the government.

This post is about a group of children and unarmed adults who were massacred in a school on Friday. When I say down to write this post I had a prayer jump in my conscious thought. It was the first prayer I was taught as a child, it is possibly the first prayer a lot of children learn.

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.”

If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

“Amen.”

I think that perhaps the prayer could be changed. A little something to help kid prepare for life today in the educational playground of death that could await them when they depart the bus at school.

“Now I take me off to School.”

“Lord please protect me from some gun-toting fool.”

“If I am shot before I leave, please help my folks learn how to grieve.”

“Amen.”

This is not meant to be funny or poke fun at what children have to face at school each day. This is not intended in any way to make light of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School yesterday – 14/12/2012, just eleven days before Christmas.

What this is intended to do, is to show just how dangerous it is out there for our little ones. We cannot protect them when they aren’t at home, neither can the police or other public services. I think that it’s time for everyone to rethink what is going on in the world and change their way of seeing things.

We need to take control before the madmen do. Let’s keep the lunatics under the control of the asylum and not let them  run it.

Amen.

The Jimmy Savile Scandal: Paedophilia by Any Other Name

The late Jimmy Savile

If you live in America you can be forgiven if you haven’t heard about the Jimmy Savile uproar here in England. After all there is a lot of water between the two countries and I’m pretty sure most Americans have never seen “Jim’ll Fix It” or even heard of it.

*it’s interesting to note that after the resultant scandal involving Savile’s sexual escapades with underage girls that the title of his old Show, Jim’ll Fix It, now sounds like the prelude or a punch line to a dirty joke. I suppose that with new “evidence” being unearthed almost daily it has.*

Jimmy Savile had been a national institution in England for years. This eccentric DJ who raised millions for charity and was universally loved by most of the country for his seemingly never-ending generosity has turned out to be “a kiddie fiddler” in sheep’s clothing; at least according to the many people who are coming forward after his death to point an accusatory finger at him.

These posthumous accusations have resulted in the “Knight of the Realm” in being publicly vilified and his reputation is in tatters. His surviving family have been rocked by the news and the public (and the BBC) have been busily taking down plaques and signs that glorified Sir Jimmy’s works and deeds.

It is interesting to see another country besides Russia making a public person disappear. Will England go as far as “Ivan” and eradicate Savile’s physical presence from old publicity photo’s?

I wouldn’t be surprised.

Now don’t get me wrong. It makes me feel quite ill to think of anyone sexualizing young underage girls. It makes perfect sense that entertainers like Gary Glitter (real name Paul Gadd) should be sent to prison for having sex with minors. It’s called child abuse and it is illegal. Not to mention immoral. But Glitter despite his similarity to Savile is still alive. Savile is not and he cannot, therefore be tried for his alleged crimes.

Gary Glitter aka Paul Gadd under arrest earlier this year.

What is interesting about the whole thing is how former “colleagues” of Sir Jimmy are “coming forward” to tell anyone who will listen about how they knew all along that Jim was messing with young underage girls. “They wanted to say something, they really did, but Jimmy was a public institution. Who would believe them?” In an earlier day and age that would have been, sadly, true. In most cases, back in the 70’s (When Jim’ll Fix It was in its heyday and Savile was still a very public figure) people would not have believed that such a thing went on.

But that sort of naivety is astonishing. At the bottom line of all the allegations, the vast majority of which centre around his dealing with young girls on his Jim’ll Fix It show, the show itself was on television. And what is television? It is part of the entertainment industry. And what is the entertainment industry well-known for? Sexual advances to young women (and men) aka “the casting couch.”

Especially in television there have always been the tales (told out of school, of course) about sexual advances, favours, and acts being exchanged, forced, or implied as part of a contractual agreement. Okay, so I am talking about actors and actresses here, folks who know about the less savoury aspects of working on television, but really most folks like directors and producers and other assorted members of any film crew etc will know of the practises that go on.

The fact that these “knowledgeable” colleagues are only coming forward now is reprehensible and disgusting. Why? Because if they did really know what he was up to, they should have said so then; even if they had waited till Savile had retired, it would have been more admirable and given the authorities a chance to investigate. Savile could have defended himself and, more importantly, been punished or acquitted via the legal system. His alleged victims could then have the closure they so desperately need.

Now that he has passed on, the legal system and the BBC have instigated a “closing the barn door after the bull’s got out” type of witch-hunt where they are arresting and questioning a lot of celebrities who have had access to underage girls. This act of “tarring with the same brush” is not only unfair, but the publicity it is garnering is harmful to the people involved.

Fair enough if they are guilty as charged but if they are innocent? If this knee jerk reaction to the Sir Jimmy Savile debacle is anything to go by, we are heading towards dangerous ground friends and neighbours.

One of the causes of the mass child abuse hysteria. False memories.

The public are heading to that “overly sensitive” awareness of child abuse (in the sexual area) that got America in so much trouble a few years back. Have we forgotten how “well-meaning” therapists and psychiatrists misdiagnosed entire day care facilities of ritualised child abuse in the form of Satanic ceremonies and child porn? Just type in Child Care Sex Abuse Hysteria into your Google search engine and an entry to Wikipedia will list 13 day care facilities that were hit by this.

In a world where the media sexualises children to a huge extent, we need to be careful to look at the source and not chase non-existent “boogey-men” or create an “over awareness” of the problem. We need to be dealing with the media that consistently sexualises children.

As sad and horrible as the accusations against the late Jimmy Savile are, we need to keep everything in perspective here. These accusations and allegations are not proven, nor are they likely to be. The witch-hunting by the press, police and the BBC are still ongoing. Everyone needs to take a breath and step back from the whole sordid mess.

A newspaper blogger has opined that if you were abused by Savile, the best course of action might be to be quiet about it. The issue was that you would never get closure and would be tagged as a victim, a wounded soul who deserved sympathy rather than the person that you are. A valid point in this case.

It is my honest opinion that the folks in the business who are now coming forward to state that they knew this was going on should be vilified. If they couldn’t be brave or upstanding enough to say something when it would have accomplished something apart from publicity, they should pay a price. It makes common sense.

No one has ever been rewarded for yelling fire after the house has burned down. And neither should they benefit from shouting abuse after the individual named can no longer be punished by the law.

Rest In Peace?

Neil Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) Gone But Never Forgotten

I was sad to hear that Neil Armstrong died yesterday. He was a true American hero and pioneer. He will be missed but he will live on in the history books of the world as the man who walked on the moon and said those iconic words as he planted the American flag on the moon’s surface.

I say that he was a hero. Of course he was. My somewhat limited definition of a hero is pretty straightforward. A hero is an individual who generations of schoolchildren and other more adult people look up to. They are touched by their achievements and strive to live their lives as the hero in question does.

I also say that he was a pioneer. My definition of a pioneer is also quite straightforward. As a child raised on stories of the settlers in the early years of America making their way across a country so vast to find places that no man had seen before, Armstrong fall in that category easily. He was making his way across space.

All the astronauts were heroes and pioneers, and they still are. Like the Star Trek narration states at the beginning of every episode, “To boldly go where no man has gone before.”

I was ten, almost eleven, years old when the moon landing was televised worldwide. I can remember sitting with my parents in front of the television and watching the ‘scratchy’ and noise filled images that came from space of these brave men and their first steps on the moon.

All of us in the room that day were excited and fearful. No one knew what this might mean to the world. We had not only broken our earthly boundary but we’d landed on another ‘planet.’ We were all very proud to be Americans that day. The first country in the world to put a real man on the moon to interact the the existing ‘man’ on the moon.

I do remember, much to my embarrassment, that just after Neil Armstrong had utter those words destined to go into the history books, I turned to my parents and said, “How come we can land on the moon, but we can’t get a decent picture of it? Why is it so fuzzy?” If I remember correctly I think both my parents laughed and then told me to ‘Quieten down’ until the broadcast was finished.

You can read books that were written about that time that have nothing to do with space and a lot of them will have made a reference to that event. The date 20 July 1969 is an important date for all of mankind not just for America. I remember reading a book by John Ketwig called …and a hard rain fell: A GI‘s True Story of the War in Vietnam. In it he tells of walking around the countryside in Thailand and telling, and showing with the aid of matches and a rubber band,  local villagers about the moon landing.

Neil Armstrong hero, pioneer, father, brother, man. Like Icarus, he flew and challenged the Gods. His words, “One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” Will be his legacy for generations to come.  Neil has made his last journey, one that has taken him higher than the moon.

Neil Armstrong gone, but never forgotten. RIP great man, we’ll remember you as long as we breathe. I know for certain that I will.

Designer Babies? What the Fudge??

Logo used from about 1963 until 2007 (January ...
Logo used from about 1963 until 2007 (January 2008 issue) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this electronic day and age where newspapers and magazines are becoming passée I am still reading Readers Digest. I guess all those years of reading them at my Gran’s house and in waiting rooms around the globe has made the old RD a sort of comfy blanket. Comfortable as an old shoe and as reliable as Old Faithful.

It was in this month’s Readers Digest that I read about designer babies. I saw the article in the September issue (I know, it’s August. But that is the fun of monthly magazines, you always get them early) and it was discussing the advantages of using genetic screening to ‘design’ your foetus.

Quite frankly, I was horrified. Have we come this far? I know that what they are talking about is still illegal. But in a world where celebrities and wanna be celebrities have designer dogs, teeth, tits and whatever else you can think of, do we really want babies by design?

The very idea makes me think of Adolph Hitler‘s maniacal quest for breeding the perfect Aryan race.  I know that the folks who are suggesting that genetics  can help you ‘build’ the perfect child aren’t in Adolph’s class. But dammit, it’s scary!

I am not knowledgeable enough to argue against the idea. My understanding of science and biology doesn’t go much past the high school curriculum level. A  high school level that was attained back in the 70’s yet. So if you’re looking for an intelligent debate on the cons of the issue, I suggest you read something by Stephen Hawking, that is, if he even knows about it yet.

English: NASA StarChild image of Stephen Hawking.
English: NASA StarChild image of Stephen Hawking. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No my argument against the genetic building of babies is entirely from the parental point of view. And come to think of it, from the child’s as well. Amazingly I can still remember most, if not all, of my childhood. I know it was a long time ago, but I have been blessed (or cursed) with an excellent memory.

Can you imagine getting into an argument with your ‘specially’ crafted offspring and having them shout back at you, full of indignity, “I didn’t ask to be made this way!”

Or how about…

“Well you designed me! If I’m doing something wrong, it must be your fault!”

My mind is reeling from the very idea of all those issues that genetic enhancing will bring up. I remember yelling at my parents, years ago, the age old complaint from children across the world, “I didn’t ask to be born, you know!” Or the distant cousin of that statement, “I  didn’t ask for you to be my parents!”

But disregarding the above scenario altogether, just how is it that scientist’s or gene enhancer’s think that we know what the perfect mix of genes are?

We could get it completely and utterly wrong. Think about it. People right now are and have been raising children who believe that they are special. That they are entitled to everything because of that ‘specialness.’ And just look how the youth of today are turning out. Thankfully, so far at any rate, there are more ‘adjusted’ kids out there who realize that no matter how ‘special’ you are, you still have to work for a living.

But this gene enhancement or splicing or mojo, whatever you want to call it, is a recipe for disaster. What if experts tell us that we need children who can empathize with everyone and can also be sympathetic to their fellow man. The same child can have his aggression gene altered to keep his or her temper levels down. They can be ‘enhanced’ to allow them to be faithful, loyal, trusting, et al.

I am sure that the child who has those genes introduced into its body would grow up to be a gentle, caring, sharing mild mannered wuss. The world could be populated (for a time, at least until the enhancers realize what a boob they’ve made of humanity) literally by the meek. I think the end of mankind might be escalated a bit by a world full of those folks.

I am not saying that the entire idea is bad. I’m sure that it could be used to help stop deformities, disease, and other horrible things that we all pray our babies will not be born with. I am saying that we should be very careful in this, so far, illegal area of science and birth.

Let’s take a minute to think about what we are doing here. Do you really want to be the new Adolph Hitler or worse?

According to Bullock, Hitler was an opportunis...
According to Bullock, Hitler was an opportunistic adventurer devoid of principles, beliefs or scruples. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Natalie Wood’s Death Certificate Changed…Finally

In her last film Brainstorm (1983)
In her last film Brainstorm (1983) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Actress Natalie Wood‘s death certificate has been amended to say her mysterious drowning in 1981 also involved “undetermined factors”.

So it’s only taken 31 years for authorities to act on legal statements that have been common knowledge for years. And amazingly, yes amazingly, Robert Wagner is NOT a suspect.

Wow. The wheels of justice certainly take a long time to turn around, don’t they?

I’ve read the statements, especially the statement give by the boat’s captain. Dennis Davern has admitted that he lied in 1981 when he gave his original statement to police. He new statement of the nights events prior to the ‘disappearance’ and then discovery of Natalie Wood sounds like a clear case of guilt on Wagner’s part.

Davern clearly believes that Wagner was instrumental in Natalie’s death. Davern wanted to radio authorities and set up a search of the area. Wagner denied him permission until it was too late. Criminal negligence it the term that springs immediately to my mind. It obviously crossed the ex-captain’s mind as well.

Now don’t get me wrong. I like Wagner (known as RJ to his friends). I’ve always liked his acting work and he is one of the few actors left who went through the old ‘studio system’ that gave us such stars as Rock Hudson and (yep you guessed it) Natalie Wood.

Natalie was a child actress who managed to continue her career as she outgrew the adolescent roles that she’d cut her teeth on. Wagner and Wood were a star crossed couple who would marry, divorce and marry again.

They both had their choice of any partner and both ‘played’ the field before they were married and then married other folks after their initial divorce. After they married the second time, things were not all right in Xanadu.

The night that Natalie Wood would lose her life in mysterious circumstances; she was on a break from her latest film, with co-star Christopher Walken. She made a big show of her affection of the then young Walken and Wagner didn’t like it. Blazing row after blazing row broke out through the entire evening.

Walken, to give him credit, appeared to distant himself from the distasteful arguments and has, so far, not had his name sullied by the evenings events.

I never thought once during the entire 31 years after her death that Wagner (RJ to his friends) was involved in any way with her drowning. Then I read the legal statements that had been made by not just the boats captain, but the Coast Guard officer who was involved with the body’s recovery.

I was stunned. This was beginning to read like a cover up of such huge proportions that would equal the Paul Bern ‘suicide’ and the William  Desmond Taylor‘s ‘suicide’ and other scandals of a previous century.

Hollywood has always been a city of ‘damage control.’ The studios learned their lesson well after the Fatty Arbuckle debacle. Even when the victim was the universally loved Natalie Wood the damage control mechanism started automatically when word of her disappearance and death surfaced.

Was the fact that Wood had almost completed her obligation to the film that she and Walken were working on outweigh the fact that Wagner had a hit television program that went out weekly and was generating large amounts of income for the studios?

Was Wagner considered more important in the whole scheme of things because he was still a big earner for tinsel town? Obviously the studio brass had already decided that Brainstorm (the film that she and Walken were working on) looked to be a stinker, therefore not much of a money maker.

Wagner by the very fact that he was a man, did not have the same problems that an aging actress faces when she reaches that certain age. Was he considered the best bet to cover up for and therefore continue to make money for the producers and studios?

Or was the ‘damage control’ mechanism so well oiled that it automatically started covering up what had really happened? More importantly, is it still doing that same job 31 years on.

I don’t think we will ever find out. I think the oligarchy is still so ‘in control’ of the publicity and information that is released to the peasants that make up their target demographic that the likelihood of the ‘real’ truth being revealed is very slim indeed. I also think that the real truth of what happened 31 years ago was lost in the time wasted forming a ‘real’ search for her instead of the farcical events that took place.

It could well be that Robert Wagner is innocent of any wrong doing. The police are certainly not shy in stating that as far as their concerned RJ isn’t a suspect. Walken is still refusing to talk the incident at all. But at least the cause of death has been amended and that may or may not help solve this mystery.

Sorry Natalie, I am afraid that it is a case of way too little, way too late.

English: Natalie Wood's star on the Hollywood ...
English: Natalie Wood’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Photo credit: Wikipedia)