Trial By Media

There has been a lot of press about some high profile cases lately.  One of the most recent is the Ferguson, Missouri Grand Jury hearing of the officer who shot Michael Brown.  I will not go into the details of this case…that is not the point of the post.  What I will say is that there is much more misinformation floating around than actual fact.

Let me go on to say that I am not one to blatantly trust the police or the government…that would be in contrast to what history and current events demonstrate.  But…and it is a huge BUT…I trust the press even less.  Some will get mad at me for saying this, and some will be downright insulted, but I have personally been involved in incidents that made the press and have seen first hand that the “facts” as portrayed by the media leave much to be desired.  Often they are just plain wrong, and other times they report selective details in an effort to sway public opinion.  The Grand Jury had hard evidence to look at.  Their task was to investigate whether or not that evidence was sufficient to bring charges against the officer involved.  The Press, on the other hand, did not have access to much of this information, yet they reported the partial truth religiously and in some ways played a part in fueling the tensions that led to the demonstrations and riots.

The press is a very powerful tool and there was perhaps a time when the journalistic code of ethics was held sacred.  Sadly, that does not happen today and some venues don’t even bother to try to give the appearance of impartiality.  Woe to the man who is the victim of this travesty.

Think about this…how many lives have been ruined because the media has been quick to print allegations of a crime?  The police want to give the public some reassurance so they leak a name of a suspect to the press.  This person’s photo is promptly in every living room.  His place of employment is under siege from news hounds attempting to get a scoop.  His home is ground zero for satellite dishes, lights and remote broadcasts.  And then some evidence is uncovered that exonerates the poor guy, but the damage is done.  His boss has fired him so that the rest of the employees can get some work accomplished.  His neighbors won’t speak to him or let their kids play with his.  The Little League tells him that he can’t coach a team anymore because, well, what would people think?  His search for a job is futile because he is now “that guy” who was accused of whatever, so he MUST have done SOMETHING to arouse suspicion, right?  So the only recourse is to uproot his family and move to someplace where hopefully he can become normal again.

We have all seen this, and we all play a part in it.  We watch the news and eagerly look for “closure” when there is a crime in our neighborhood.  We may even call the police and demand that they do more to solve these crimes and keep us safe.  But our thirst for these things we call news is driving a culture that decides the fate of people before they get a fair trial…and may even prevent that trial from having any chance of being impartial.

So I ask you to not be so quick to form your opinions based on what the media feeds you.  Don’t let public sentiment influence you.   Do your best to research all sources and make up your own mind in an educated, informed way.  These are the actions of a free person.  Blindly accepting what the press says (or what the popular opinion is) is the act of a controlled person…a slave.  You have a choice.

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Thanksgiving

The first wave of Europeans to settle in the United States had a very tough go of things. They endured a long and dangerous voyage across an ocean to a land where they had no family, no stores, no support system. They did this to find freedom from an oppressive government and/or church (which were often one and the same).

After much hardship they reaped a bountiful harvest and laid their stores for the upcoming winter. When the harvest was in and the supplies were stashed they gave thanks.

As we celebrate this uniquely American holiday, lets reflect on the reason these colonists were grateful…they had achieved a new kind of freedom, if only for a short while. They were free to keep the fruit of their labor. They were masters of their own destiny. They could worship as they chose without fear of persecution or execution. They had realized a dream that most of us will never fully understand and many of us are all too willing to surrender.

I sincerely wish a happy Thanksgiving to you and your families. May the true meaning of this day be preserved for future generations to cherish and enjoy.

Are We Cheating Our Children?

It is natural for parents to want to protect their children, keep them from harm.  But in

Are you accidentally robbing your child's chances for success?

Are you accidentally robbing your child’s chances for success?

doing so are we depriving them of essential skills they will need as adults?

Consider this…in life you must face adversity.  There are confrontations, negotiations, people who would attempt to deceive or defraud you and those who would physically harm you.  If you have been sheltered as a child and adolescent, you will be unable to recognize and effectively deal with these inevitable situations.  So I suggest to you, as parents, don’t insulate your child from these learning experiences.  Instead, stand beside them and offer support and guidance where appropriate, but let them figure out how to deal with challenges.  You will be guiding them toward success instead of cheating them out of valuable life lessons.

All Love No Hate by Reesie’s Pieces of Advice (BLW Contributor)

We all experience bullying in one way or another, whether we are on the receiving end or the perpetrator. Here is an insightful account of one person’s experience and how it has affected them throughout their life. I love the quote at the end, “The things they say may hurt you, tear you down and even lead you to tears, but the words that hurt worst are the ones that you believe are true.” Believe in yourself, not in what others say.

Be Like Water

Words Hurt

“She’s so weird”

“Why is she so ugly?”

“Who would want to talk to her?”

“Are you contagious?”

This doesn’t even begin to touch the words that I would hear on a daily bases. While most people were excited about the first day of school, plotting their new outfits, or excited to reunite with old friends and make new ones, the beginning of the school year was always just the first day to a 180 day nightmare I would live every day at school.

Things started at a young age, as far back as second grade. I can remember the teacher having to move my desk next to hers so that no one else could pick on me after a boy pulled my chair out from under me just to see me cry. I can remember in middle school, walking down hallways and having to walk over legs being stuck…

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Being Judgemental

There is a common saying, albeit an older and somewhat dated saying, “Don’t judge me.”  I speak with many people who claim to be non-judgmental…but why?  Making assessments, assigning risk and making decisions based on that judgement is essential to survival.  But more importantly, we must make those same assessments of ourselves or we will not effectively direct our personal growth.

I actually WANT to be judged.  I welcome feedback even if it is contrary to my outlook…often especially if it disagrees with my views!  This is how we learn (unless we already know everything and therefore are not open to learning).

By the same token, I make decisions daily based on calculations tempered by my observations of the world around me.  This include things like which route to take when traveling, who to trust with my children or my bank accounts, whether the guy walking toward me on the sidewalk looks like a threat, etc.  All of these things are important and all are necessary to my well being.

But there are more personal assessments that we make in life.  Do you know someone who has a lot of friends?  There are people who call everyone they meet a friend and then there are those who realize that true friendship is earned over time.  In order to determine who is worthy of that exclusive title we must make judgments of the person’s character and use that information to determine if they are worth investing the time it takes to maintain a close relationship.  If so, the rewards are immeasurable.  If not, the risk is greater than the potential.

So the next time someone says that they don’t judge people, ask them why they don’t.  Teach your children to be discriminating and to know the difference between an acquaintance and a true friend.  And by all means, be your own worst critic!  It is your best tool to enhance your station in life.