Skip to main content

RANDOM THOUGHTS #6 - MARIJUANA/FREE SPEECH/ABORTION, MURDER

MARIJUANA/FREE SPEECH/ABORTION
The Senate Appropriations Committee has passed the Veterans Equal Access Amendment allowing VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans suffering from PTSD, chronic pain, and other conditions for which the substance may be prescribed. This would have been an encouraging development if only co-sponsor Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) had just kept his mouth shut.

Instead of simply saying that giving veterans all of the tools that we are able to give them to afford them the best possible chance to recover from the consequences of their service is the right thing to do, Daines couldn't help being a Republican. "It's a free speech issue," he declared. This from a guy who has a 100% Right To Life approval rating and 0% from folks promoting reproductive choice. I admit that I'm lazy. I haven't looked to see if Daines has been confronted, either in the House or the Senate, with a vote concerning what doctors can say, cannot say, or are required to say to patients in regard to abortion under various circumstances. But my guess is that the First Amendment wouldn't carry nearly the same weight in such circumstances.

Blatant hypocrisy. Prove me wrong.

MURDER
I'm not going to comment on any specific case. I don't know any of the details. I wasn't present when this cop shot an unarmed suspect or that homeowner stood his ground. What I do know, though, is that judges and juries seem to be content to declare open season on unarmed folks in several recent incidents that have made it to the national media.

I've ridden the subway in New York City late at night. I've hitchhiked thousands of miles and I've picked up dozens of hitchhikers. I've walked through some of Paris' sleazier neighborhoods. There are times that I've been confronted with situations that came close to triggering fight-or-flight. But it's never come to that. And as a result, I've never felt the need either to modify my behavior or to carry a gun.

To be fair, not all prosecutions have ended with acquittals. And not all stand-your-ground shootings are unjustified. But the taking of a human life should be a serious business. The tide is turning against capital punishment because states are beginning to realize that even given the best of intentions and what had been thought to be rigorous legal requirements in order to invoke the death penalty, too many mistakes have been made. Judges and juries get it wrong in spite of careful deliberation.

Apparently, though, we're OK with individuals invoking the death penalty on the spur of the moment, without consequences, when the gun that they feared didn't exist or was a flashlight or a toy. Sorry, but I just don't get it.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CHÉ OLIVE / LE ZINC, CREISSAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

No, it's not Chez Olive. It is indeed Ché complete with red star and black beret. I have no idea why and I wasn't about to ask. The French are the French and not to be analyzed too closely when it comes to politics, especially these days. Creissan is the next town over from our village of Quarante. We pass through it often and Ché Olive is right there on the main road at the entrance to town. (One of the signs still says Le Zinc. Olive says he prefers Ché Olive though.) Olive opened it a couple of years ago after leaving the Bar 40, Quarante's basic local watering hole that's undergone a bit of a renaissance lately. We hadn't heard much about Ché Olive from our usual sources for dining recommendations. So we just kept passing by. For reasons not central to this review, we decided to stop in for lunch on a mid-week in late December. The bar is cozy, the restaurant open and bright and modern. Newly renovated and perhaps a bit sterile. We were the f

THREE YEARS IN FRANCE - AN AMERICAN EXPAT'S REFLECTIONS

Have you wondered what it might be like to pick up and move to another country? Americans are lured to retirement havens in Mexico, Costa Rica, or Panama. They say that Eastern Europe is beautiful, safer than the evening news might suggest, and relatively inexpensive. Southeast Asia is hot, but it's cheap. Remember, though. I'm not talking about investigating a vacation home, time share, or other form of shared ownership. I'm talking about a permanent, sell out and ship the furniture sort of  move. For most Americans, the thought has never crossed their minds. Think about it. Think about moving from one state to another, from one town to another, even from one neighborhood across town. Add the need to learn a new language - if you aren't multilingual already. Add the need to deal in a new currency and the need to learn the ins and outs of currency exchange. Add metric measurements. And a new healthcare system. And a new bureaucracy to navigate. Daunting? You betcha!

AU LAVOIR, COLOMBIERS - RESTAURANT REVIEW

We live in a town that doesn't do very much to encourage growth or tourism. The streets are rough and bumpy, the tinted glass has been broken out of the street light nearest our house since we moved in three years ago, and the fountain in the square was activated this week for the first time since we arrived. Oddly enough, many of us like it that way. Quarante is a quiet little village, not on a main road to anywhere, but with a fine baker, two excellent butchers, and a bar that serves edible if not exciting food. We could use an ATM (cash point, money wall...) and a gas (petrol) station but otherwise, most of us are happy that Quarante is a backwater. Colombiers, on the other hand, seems determined to do everything possible to turn itself into a crowded, overdeveloped, cash hungry example of all that folks like us are looking to avoid when we move to the rural south of France. Ugly apartment blocks? Check. Newly constructed condos with a 'view', meaning you can see a tin