Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Night's Thoughts on Treating Drug Abusers

   Okay, one side wants to punish the drug users, and the other wants to treat them. I say, let's mix the two and come up with the answer.
   I'm only talking of the drug user and pusher who has no other crimes, the drug user and pusher who has no background of violence.
   Lock 'em up, but make it in a home, instead of a prison. We'll go ahead and put as many as 20 of them in one of these homes. I normally don't like allowing inmates to interact with other inmates, thinking they need good influences, not bad, and thinking they are likely to be influenced by the company they keep.
   But, we will operate from the assumption that simple drug use is not a fatal character flaw, and let them live together.
   Each home will have a work area, where a product is made, with the inmates being the workers for maybe six hours each day. I believe work should be part of the reformation of a person. We won't care if the candies or whatever produced in the prison are marketed successfully, only that our prisoner is allowed to work.
   So, how do I mean it when I say we will mix prison with treatment? Our "prison guards" will be social workers. We'll have two to three for each 20-person unit. They will supervise the work, and then they will provide treatment when the work is done. Treatment will include character training. Oh, it can include 12-step programs, counseling, and other such things, but character training will also be part of it. Teaching them right from wrong will be part of it.
   Educating them, period, will be part of it. Whether they study astronomy or whatever, education will be in each facility.
   It will be somewhat of a lock-up facility, with no windows to crawl out of, and no unapproved visitors allowed. But, visitation will be encouraged. During visitation hours, additional workers will be brought in -- one per inmate -- to monitor to ensure no drugs are passed. No physical contact (handshakes, hugs, etc.) with the inmates will be allowed in order to facilitate watching them against drugs being given to them. We will encourage visits from community volunteers who can provide good role modeling for those in our treatment centers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Justice for the Drug User Might Get a Makeover

   What of today's news, bringing word Utah is considering changing simple possession from a felony to a misdemeanor, and reducing sentences for drug charges?
   Backers like the idea, suggesting drugs are a health issue, not a criminal matter, and wondering why we tie up our prison system with drug offenders. An estimate 25 percent of Utah's prison population is there simply for drugs. (That estimate comes from the Utah Department of Corrections executive director.)
   Free them and treat them? Is that the answer? My first thoughts include that this is more than a social welfare issue. Drugs should be illegal. I wonder how effective treatment is, and I wonder if society should pay for it.
   If it truly does take them off drugs, then perhaps so, for reducing the number of those on drugs would be a wonderful thing.
   I consider what I've thought best for drug charges in the past, and think I still might like those thoughts. I would place them in homes, with camera-watch supervision. Call it prison, if you like, but it would be a different form. To reduce the chances of drugs being given them, their visitors would be limited, with visits being monitored by the cameras and audio transmissions. For the moment, I pause in what I would do from there. Would I still allow them work release? I almost believe that a must, but wonder how to monitor them when they are out in their jobs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The to be or not to be of Climate Change

   There is global warming, you know, for the ten warmest years in the 132-year history of tracking average world temperatures have all occurred since 1998.
  But, then again, there actually is no global warming, for Oct. 1, marked the 18th straight year of no significant warming treads in surface average temperatures.
   But, yes, like I already told you, there is global warming. The melting Antarctic proves it. Scientists say the melt will result in a 4-12 foot rise in sea levels, enough to submerge much of New York City.
   But, no, it all depends on how you look at it, and there really is no global warming, at least not everywhere, for in some places, temperatures are falling. For example in certain areas near the Andes, temperatures fell from 1910 to 1980, then held steady for about 10 years.
   Yes, there is global warming. We told you about the Antarctica melting? Well, gravity is also weakening at the earth's poles, right where the ice is melting.
   No, no, no no. Again, there is no global warming, for we are on a 20-year trend of colder winters in the United States.
 Yes, there is global warming. "I believe global warming and climate change are real threats to our planet," says Andrew Cuomo.
  No, there is no global warming. Christopher Monckton, who once advised Margaret Thatcher, says real world climate sensitivity is very much below estimates. "Perhaps, therefore, there is no climate crisis at all," Monckton said. ". . . The correct policy approach to a non-problem is to have the courage to do nothing."
   Yes, there will be massive global warming. Maybe this is what scripture referred to when it spoke of, "that great day when the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat." (Mormon 9:2)
   No, for the scripture says, "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." (Genesis 8:22)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Less Standardization Could be a Plus in Education

   Let the teacher take the wheel, then. Instead of becoming more and more standardized, I wonder if our education should become less structured.
   Keep all the testing that measures you against other schools, if you like. Let that remain standardized. But, let each school set its own course. Especially let the teacher be the one setting the course. If a teacher has their own way of going about doing something, and it is good, then by all means let them set their own course.
   We often get excited about our own ideas more than about ideas that are handed to us. Let the teacher select the textbook, even though it means some textbooks for the same course might be different right within the same school.
    Give the schools a touch more freedom in what they teach. Maybe some high schools will forgo algebra, altogether. I'm not so sure that would be all so bad.
   What is important, is that the education expands the student's knowledge in ways that will be beneficial when it comes time to moving into a career. Let some schools be more science oriented while other schools choose to emphasize the arts or history.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

To Measure a Man,You Must Know How He Measures Others

   The measurement of a man is in how well he treats others. If he treats them well, he is great. But, if he scorns others, and picks at them, and finds faults, he not so great.
   In the words of Joseph Fielding Smith:
   "I believe it is our solemn duty to love one another, to believe in each other, to have faith in each other, that it is our duty to overlook the faults and failings of each other, and not to magnify them in our own eyes, nor before the eyes of the world. There should be no faultfinding, no back-biting, no evil speaking one against another in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
   Jesus taught a modern prophet, "If ye are not one, ye are not mine." (Doctrine and Covenants 38:27)
   So it is, then, that to measure a man, you must know how he measures others.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Let 'Em In, Martin Luther; Let 100,000 Haitians into America

   Friday, someone was listening to the old Paul McCartney song, "Let Em In," and they opened the floodgate to thousands -- some say at least 100,000 -- Haitian immigrants.
   "Someone's knockin' at the door
   "Someone's ringin' the bell
    "Do me a favor
    "Open the door, and let 'em in"
    One-hundred thousand? Will that many come in 2015? Or, are some of them still years from entering? Whatever the number, it seems somewhat massive.
   "Sister Suzie, brother John,
   "Martin Luther . . ."
   Funny, McCartney's song should call on Martin Luther to be one to open the door, for it does seem opening the door by some accounts is the Christian thing to do. If a people are just seeking to have a better life, if they just seek to join family, seems like a reasonable thing is to say, "You can come live here if you are down and out. We've nothing against you."
   Yes, I hope President Obama isn't letting executive decree overrule congressional law. And, I fear he is. If the quotas that are keeping them from entering are part of congressional law, then it is Congress that needs to lift the quotas, not the executive branch.
   And, Congress perhaps doesn't dare, fearing a backlash from voters who oppose easing our immigration laws.
    Would be wonderful to me if the people stepped into this impasse, if they raised their voices to let Congress know they are willing to let these people come live amongst us.
   But, yes, I fear there are too many people who do bear a grudge against letting too many immigrants in. I just wish they would take Paul's advice.
   "Someone's knockin' at the door
   "Somebody's ringin' the bell
   "Someone's knockin' at the door
   "Somebody's ringin' the bell
   "Do me a favor, open the door, and let 'em in"