Hate – My Last Gasp on the Subject


My last gasp on hate – at least for a while – has me pondering its definition depending on where you live. It’s been pointed out to me that people need to concentrate on similarities rather than differences; while agreeing in principle, I think this subject needs some dissection. Hate is a big word, a word meaning different things to different people, a concept seemingly open to interpretation.

In Canada under the Human Rights Act of 1985; no person or group is allowed to publish or display notices, symbols, signs or emblems that might express or imply discrimination or intent to discriminate. This law covers verbal intent, specifically banning telephone conversations of a hateful nature; also including communication by computer, be it email or the internet. The link below highlights a few of the more prominent convictions under Canada’s hate crime laws.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/10/12/f-free-speech-hate-crimes.html

America on the other hand doesn’t seem to define hate until a physical assault has taken place. Section 249 of the Hate Crimes Act covers bodily harm inflicted on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation.

http://www.legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/4161

In the United Kingdom, under the Criminal Justice Act of 2003; a judge must consider a crime “aggravated”, thus ruling a tougher sentence if the crime was motivated by ethnic or religious bias.

http://www.legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/15773

Hate laws vary drastically from country to country; Turkey for instance has no laws whatsoever regarding hate, the Sudan defines hate as “blasphemy against religion”. All of which take me back to my original ponder – one without a definable answer. I wonder if hate is the wrong word, perhaps the word is too subjective. Maybe we should put “hate” to another test. Obviously “hate” is a strong word, a word that tends to divide and muddy the waters.

It could be that we need to settle everyone down and take it back to playground rules. Trash talk wasn’t allowed at school so why should it be allowed when we “grow up”? Children aren’t allowed to talk smack about anyone – that is defined as a bully. So why should they “grow up” and be allowed to say anything they damn well please? I realize I’m over simplifying things, yet put that aside for a moment and ask yourself if replacing “hate” with “bully” might help put the issue in perspective.

Theft


I starting pondering theft tonight; no particular reason. I guess it might have started from a story on the news today about a major bust of a credit/debit card fraud organization. I’ve written about identity theft, and card skimming scams – today however, my mind is contemplating physical theft – break and enter crime.

As a kid we never even locked our doors. Small towns are like that, at least they used to be. It wasn’t until I moved to the big city that my lessons in theft and robbery began. My first lesson was brazen; staying at my mother’s apt., Mom in one bedroom with her door closed, me in a second with door open, and my brother sleeping on the sofa.We woke in the morning, had been awake for close to an hour when the phone rang. Somebody was calling to say they had just found my purse in an alley a few blocks away. We had no idea we had even been robbed. Further investigation proved the thief had gone through the pockets of my brother’s pants; gone were his wallet, keys, and car from the underground parking garage. Unbelievable – not one of us stirred as this prowler moved about in the night. Truly one of the most disturbing moments in my young life.

Over the years, despite heightened awareness and precautions taken, more than once I came home to find my drawer contents tossed on the floor. These situations weren’t scary, they just pissed me off. Thieves can make quite a mess of things when they don’t have to tippy toe in the night. Nothing creepy happened again until my wallet was stolen at work. A few days later I got a call from a man calling himself Johnny. Johnny had my wallet and would sell it back to me for $75.00, I was supposed to meet him at the corner of Main/Hastings (which if you know Vancouver would not have been a good idea) Johnny said I could identify him by the 3 tear-drops tattooed under one eye. I can’t imagine Johnny was too happy when met by a squad car, not a woman with $75.00. The police who returned my wallet said he wasn’t a very nice man, but assured me he wouldn’t be bothering me again. I wasn’t so sure; for anyone who’s watched The Simpsons, Johnny was our “Sideshow Bob” – for weeks we looked over our shoulders, expecting Johnny to break down the door at any moment.

We live in a technological era of alarm systems, motion detectors, security cameras, and pass-codes. We can’t ride elevators or enter buildings without a fob, security check points, metal detectors; all tools keeping us safe at home, work, and abroad. There’s good reason for this protection, in fact we demand our security – home security and alarm monitoring businesses have grown in number faster than just about any other business over the last few years.

So I ponder – where do we draw the line? Non of us want “big brother” breathing down our necks, but all of us demand security.

Shotguns Just Blew My Mind


Slugging my way home from work today, I  happily pondered what I might write about tonight. Content with my thoughts; a pleasant way to spend the afternoon rush hour. The radio played as backdrop, and all was right in the world. Without warning a news story aired that nearly blew my mind. My Jekyll became Hyde; removing the gloves of quiet contemplation, I raced home possessed by the need to learn more.

Houston, Texas resident Kyle Coplen started a privately funded group called the Armed Citizens Project. Coplen is giving away 20-gauge shotguns, complete with ammunition and a lesson, to primarily female residents of mid to high crime areas in the city. A graduate student in Public Administration at the University of Houston, Coplen claims to have come up with this gem while writing a paper for the masters program.

“Pro-gun activists have largely been content to simply fend off new potential gun control laws. It is my opinion that gun-rights activists must take the offensive, and actively encourage the increased presence of defensive weapons in society. Both sides believe that their policies will result in less crime, and it is about time that our side begins to act with the conviction and courage that it will take to win the debate.” – Kyle Coplen

Coplen calls his program a “study” to determine once and for all if more guns reduce crime. Quick to point out he’s not forcing guns on any body, and believes the 20-gauge shotgun is of little value to a criminal. Guidelines stipulate all recipients must pass a back ground check, have lived in their home for at least one year, and complete the Armed Citizens Project training course. Ideally for his ‘study” to work, the goal is to see entire neighbourhoods armed. Coplen points out; you don’t need to be a great shot to take an intruder out with a shotgun.

Not only does Coplen want to put a shotgun in every household, he stresses his intention to counter government programs aimed at buying back guns with education on their merit. Those considering turning guns into the government would be urged to trade them for a shotgun.

My goodness America. I’ve heard rumblings that your education system was in shambles. For grad students in Public Administration to be spewing this nonsense – not only are my suspicions confirmed; you’re in far more trouble than I feared. By all appearances the University of Houston gave Kyle Coplen the high five; keep patting these fools on the back and in no time at all it will be every man for himself.  All I ask is that I never have to read another American scratching his head and asking where it all went wrong.

http://www.armedcitizenproject.org/Press-Releases.html

Some Statistics to Ponder


These statistics were  taken from a 2002 report by the United Nations, although 10 years old, my pondering mind was astonished.

Of 168 countries included in the report, the United States ranked first in the number of prisoners per capita, with over 2 million people incarcerated. They took first place honours in car theft, and murder by firearm,  however it must be noted that per capita Canada had more rapes, burglaries, drug offences, suicides, briberies, and  a lower confidence in police efficiency. America tops the world in number of obese people, oil use, teenage pregnancies, divorces, and motor vehicle deaths.

You can expect to have the longest life in Monaco, averaging 89.73 years. Pay the highest tax rate in Belgium, and travel to New Zealand for the country with the most Cannabis use.

The link below has statistics on anything you can think of, well worth a ponder.

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_tot_cri-crime

Photo from Iseastripes blogspot