Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Stay Tuned to the Future of this Very Potent Toxin: Nicotine

   Say we had something as addictive as heroin, cocaine or alcohol, would we ban it? Heroin and cocaine are both illegal, and alcohol once was.
   Of course, it would have to be not only addictive, but also dangerous. So, let's say it was one of the most potent naturally occurring toxins in the world. Let's say it was so toxic, a tablespoon would kill you. Would we ban it?
   The substance we are talking about is nicotine, which back before our current array of pesticides arrived, was a common pesticide.
   Nicotine, I say, as in e-cigarettes.
   Of course, at this point we don't outlaw nicotine, we don't ban e-cigarettes, for the amount taken into the body through vaping has not been shown to be nearly so dangerous. For all I know, the amount taken in e-cigarettes has not been shown to be harmful at all. I need to learn more.
   But, it does make me wonder where the future of e-cigarettes will go. Will there be studies done on the life expectancy? Is there a level of nicotine that reduces life expectancy? At this point, we don't know. Perhaps it the level of nicotine in e-cigarettes has no impact on life expectancy -- and perhaps it does.
   Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Love as an Interrogation Method -- Why Not?

   All that needs to be said is that thousands of lives might be saved if we torture the information out of the prisoner. Since no one can prove otherwise, that becomes license to torture. I'm not totally comfortable with this justification.
   And, I do think there is an alternative. If we have an alternative, and it also works, and it doesn't go against our principles, why not use it, instead? Love. Christ said, "Love your enemies." Truth, is love is a powerful force, maybe as powerful as any. Why do we suppose love cannot also be an effective interrogation method? When we treat them well, some may conclude we aren't so villainous after all, and willingly spill what they know.
   Love as an interrogation method, then. Why not?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Police Marched Against Their Fellow Police

   I was at the police march today. There must have been 50 cops protesting against -- of all things -- police violence. They weren't in uniform, of course, for they couldn't march while representing their departments. But, bless them for marching, even though limited to their civilian clothes.
   "Not all cops are bad cops. But, we know some are," read one sign.
   "Wrong is wrong -- even if a policeman does it," read another.
   "We support justice, wherever it is, and we oppose injustice, wherever it is, too," read a third.
   Tal Jenson, spokesman for the group, read a statement saying the marchers were not ready -- at least yet -- to weigh in on the Ferguson shooting or the Staten Island choking, or any other individual case, but that they felt impelled to acknowledge that police violence and indiscretion exists, and that it is a shame to many of the officers. "Bless our fellow officers," he said, "who did not choose to march with us today, who feel no crimes and no harms have been committed. But we do. We feel innocent people have been killed. We feel innocent people have been unjustly arrested. So, we are embarrassed. We see it as a blight upon our profession and our good names. We want justice as much as anybody. We don't care if it is a policeman who commits the crime, we want justice done and justice served."
   Well, maybe such a protest didn't actually take place. But, it sure would be neat if it did.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Remorse is Our Friend

   Remorse is the key to heaven. If we are remorseful, we open the door to change. If we regret gossiping, or lying, or cheating, we take a most important step toward leaving those things behind. But, if instead, we commit a small sin and dismiss it as just that -- a small sin -- and think nothing of it, and thus do nothing about it, it will fester into a bigger sin. It will lead to other sins.
  Remorse is our friend. It is remorse that keeps our sin in front of our face. It is remorse that tells us this is too important to let remain. If we see sin as a small thing, it will remain. Remorse tells us the sin isn't small, but big enough that it must be removed.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Would We Were Up in Protest Over Officers Shoot-to-Kill Training

   Would that this moment of protest would cast an eye toward police training. Would that more were concerned with this. The police killings in Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland, and at least some of those here in Utah could have been avoided if police were trained in restraint as much as they are in shoot to kill.
   I do believe officers are too inclined and too quick to kill. It comes from their training. I wonder about the words uttered by Officer Darren Wilson shortly after the grand jury let him go. "The reason I have a clean conscience is because I know I did my job right," Wilson said. When he said he did his job right, was he saying he did his job the way he was trained? Officers are trained to kill in situations I believe many of us would disagree with.
   Change often comes with protest. Would that this moment would not pass without protest against police training. Teach them correctly, and we will have better police and fewer unjustified shootings.

Friday, December 12, 2014

To Change a Life, the Biggest Fish Pond is the Prison

   You want to change someones life? There is no greater pool to fish in, then, than a prison? You want to save someones soul? What greater place than a prison to find someone whose life needs turned around. I think of those of whom it is said that they could not bear that any person should be lost. If a person so feels, there is in the prison souls to save. I think of the person who loves mankind, all humankind, and seeks to reach out to those most in need.
   That would be those in prison.
   I guess a post like this deserves a confession, for I am not involved in serving those in prison. I can see how there is much good to do there, but my life seems busy enough without plunging that direction.