Sunday, May 31, 2015

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.


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