Friday, October 31, 2014

Dance with the Devil, Die with the Devil

   Dance with the devil, die with the devil. Guns do a lot of good, being protection and all, but that does not mean they do not have dangers. The more people who joy in using them --some eyeing the prospect of using them on other humans -- the greater the odds they will be used for just that purpose. While the uses will be both for good and for evil, both justified and non-justified, I trully wonder but what the chances for evil don't rise faster than the chances for good.

Missile Launched from Gaza at Israel

  Israel officials say a missile from Gaza hit southern Israel today. I would guess it landed in an area where it did no harm. It was, though, the second missile launched from Gaza since the truce between the two countries was reached Aug. 26 after 50 days of fighting.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Perhaps Enforcing Existing Laws Would be Better than the I.D. Laws

   Instead of all the tight I.D. laws, aimed at locking non-citizens from voting, how about just enforcing the law that is on the books, the one that says you cannot vote if you are not a citizen?
   This is a thought, something to think on, and I don't know what the best way to pull it off would be. It seems a little much to have a police officer there, looking into questionable voters, or those who are challenged. Somehow having an officer at the polls just doesn't set well.
   And, if we combed the voters after-the-fact, the election would be over and their votes counted before we ever caught them. Still, the fact that they knew we would be investigated would have a chilling effect on those who shouldn't be voting.
   Perhaps it is a better answer than the tight I.D. laws, if the tight I.D. laws are disenfranchizing those who should be legal voters.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Texas Voter I.D. Law is Liking Shooting into a Crowd with a Shotgun

   The State of Texas says 600,000  to 800,000 voters will be disqualified in this election due to a new law that requires approved I.D.s. (I would guess that number is high, but still . . .)
   Now, if the biggest chunk of them are people from other countries who don't have permission to be here, perhaps the law is justified. But, it seems if you are going to disenfranchise large numbers, you'd best be sure you're catching the right culprit. I don't believe proponents of the law have any such proof. One thought made by the other side, by the opponents of the law, is that there have only been two cases of voter impersonation prosecuted to conviction in the last 10 years. Two! And, I wonder if either of those were here in America without proper permission. My experience is, often the undocumented go out of their way to avoid situations where they might be found out as not being citizens. Some of them may vote. Some of them might be so brazen. And, how many that amounts to, I don't know. But, for many, it is a matter of why would they turn out to vote  -- even without this law -- if there were a chance they might be found out? I'm of the mind that many of them steer clear of the voting booth, period.
   Nor have I heard of any proof there are many undocumenteds voting. It is a supposition, nothing more?Perhaps it might be correct, but we don't know that. Can we disqualify so many voters just on a supposition?
   And, what if it turns out there are only 5,000 undocumented people among the 600,000 disqualified voters? (Again, supposing the number is that high.)  Can we disqualify so large group if it means catching only 5,000 undocumented people?  Talk about shooting into a crowd with a shotgun.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Feed the Poor, and You Could get Arrested?

   No time to read up on it more, but I see how 21 cities have restricted or flat-out banned feeding the homeless since January 2013. Is it because they don't want panhandlers, and it is really the panhandlers they are after? From what little I did read, no. It is because they believe feeding the homeless only makes the problem grow.
   I think of Salt Lake City, and wonder if we could just offer them three square meals. Go to such-and-such a place, and eat as you will. Actually, that is already the way it is, I believe. I don't know if three meals are offered, but there are places where they can go and eat. I think it wonderful. I can't imagine anyone making such feeds illegal.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Would We Were Scrambling as Hard to End Abortion

   I have nothing new to say of abortion. I only pause for the topic as it is one I think we should not forget. I will repeat that more lives are lost to abortion than are lost to any of our diseases.
   Perhaps I could give it an comparison to Ebola. There is no known cure for Ebola. . . . And there is likewise no known cure for abortion. Would that were scrambling as hard to find a cure for abortion as we are scrambling to find a cure for Ebola.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Almost Three Weeks Ago: A Reddish Moon of Wonder

   Horton slipped out of his truck, and headed to the shower. He looked up at the morning sky in search of the moon, knowing it was full.
  What he saw froze him dead in his tracks. If a  truck had came along then, moving no faster than 3 mph, honking all it would, who knows if Horton would have reacted in time to get out of the way.
   He was as good as paralyzed. The moon had a vaporish, smokish overcovering, various shades of red moving and flowing through the orb. At its right tip, the moon shined brightly, exuding a neon yellow-orange.
   Such a moon he had never seen. He will count the experience as one of the wonderful moments of his life. For the rest of us, it is a reminder of what we missed Oct. 8 when the lunar eclipse came to our skies, and we slept right through it.
   "And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath, blood and fire and vapour of smoke." -- Acts 2:19-20
   I do not know whether the moon is a fulfillment of that prophecy. It is a red moon, which is a qualifier. If nothing else, though, we are told their will we wonders in the heavens in the last days, and this is a wonder in the heavens.
   (Note: This post was altered after the post date. The last paragraph was added 9/27/15.)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ambulance Service isn't a Fit with Private Enterprise

   Ambulances service is not a thing you can operate through free-market competition. When it is time to call an ambulance, you can't dial three competitors and get price quotes. Indeed, you have but one number to call -- 911 -- and no choice is made.
   Nor is ambulance service something for which you need an owner. If you have the EMTs, the ambulance and all the equipment, they can do the trick whether there is an owner sitting at the top or not. So, why have an owner? That just adds unnecessary expense. If we took all our post offices nationwide, and gave each one an owner, might we not have to increase our prices to pay for the owners' salaries?
   So, this might not be a time when private enterprise is the answer. Ambulance service might be a situation for which we are best off letting government do the task.
   Most communities today, I would guess, allow just one franchise in their community. Just one. Competition doesn't fit well into this profession. If you had Red Ride Ambulance and Blue Car Ambulance both serving Dannaville, one ambulance would get a call and the other would be just sitting there. For the most part, by the time another call came in, they both would be sitting again. So, if there is only enough business for one, why have two firms waiting?
   Once again, we can see ambulance service doesn't fit into the free-market model.
   Insurance? I do wonder how much of an ambulance bill goes for liability insurance. Actually, I don't hear of many lawsuits against ambulance firms, but there surely must be some. So, in steps the insurance company. It should not go lost on us that if an insurance agent is to be paid, that, too, is an expense. We are not only paying a fee to be banked away for when the ambulance service loses a liability case, but we are paying additional money to support the insurance company, itself.
   But, if we've already established that government is the best fit for running ambulance service, why even have insurance? Let the government pay out for the lawsuit when the lawsuit comes, and save yourself all the money that goes just to support the insurance executives.

Friday, October 24, 2014

$1,900 for an Ambulance Ride Across Town?

   I wonder if we victimize people with our ambulance system, if we victimize victims.
   I just go my bill for my ride across town, $1,898.55. I do find mself wondering why it would cost $1,900 for a trip to the hospital.
   Because the EMTs are trained? True, they are. Bless them. So, perhaps charge me $50 an hour for each and send me six. Charge me for half an hour. That's $150.
    Or, is the bill so high because of the equipment? They placed a breathing tube down my throat. How much expense would that be? When they picked me up, I tried to convince them not to make me lie on my back as I did not want to drown in my own blood from all the blood pouring into my mouth. But, now was not the time to reinvent the ambulance ride. They explained to me that rather than have my lay on my stomach, they would place the breathing tube down my throat and I'd still be able to breathe.
  As soon as I laid back, I passed out. They needed to hook me up to an assortment of items, and therein lies some of the bill. There's $52.85 for O2 Oxygen, $85.25 for O2-vent circuit with peep, $10.66 for thermoeter cover, $41.85 for O2-ETCO2 Adapter, $74.68 for IV pump set-reg, $55.38 for EKG pads, and $28.03 for "disposable care" (blood wraps?).
  It is good that they cared for me, but seeing they've already itemized my expenses, where comes the rest of the bill? Where comes the largest two items? They're billing me $284.85 for mileage and $1,265 for "ALS1 GC emergency." What's that? If I've already paid for everything but the EMT personnel, which I suppose I believe ought to be closer to $150, where comes these two charges?
   Do a hurting person a favor, and don't charge $285 for "mileage." By charging such, it is clear you are not looking so much to help a person who is hurting, but for a way to make a buck off the person who is hurting. This is not a person you should be looking to run up a bill on, but a person you should be wanting to help.
  The $1,265 for "ALS1 GC emergency"? Whatver that is, it sounds like something you shouldn't want to charge someone if that someone is someone you are just wanting to help, instead of making a buck off them.
   Is some of the expense due to liability insurance? Actually, I don't hear of many lawsuits against ambulance firms. This, though, might fit into another blog. Sufficient to say, for now, I don't think we should allow liability insurance to be such a massive expense, if it is, in fact, a large chunk of the bill.
   Bottom line, to me, seems to be that if a person has no choice but to take your ride, you can charge them as much as you like. Run up a bill on them, for what are they going to say? With their life of the line, they can't exactly turn your ride down. You've got them in a corner. So, if you want to charge an extortionary fee. . .
   Isn't this victimizing people you should not be victimizing? They are victims when you pick them up, and you victimize them some more.
   Bless the EMTs for working in a difficult profession. It is not them I have a beef with. Bless them for the care and for getting folks like me to the emergency room. And, when they go home at the end of the day, I doubt it is they who have made an overly amount.
   But, somewhere in there is someone making an awful lot of money off people in pain. No, I don't like the way we've set up our ambulance service, and, yes, I do think we should change it. If there is a person sitting back, just making a buck for owning a franchise, I think we should cut them out. Bless them, for allthey do to save lives, but the ambulance system probably would go right on working well without franchise owners and others garnering money off this system. This might be a time when it makes more sense to have government provide the service instead of private companies.

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"

Friday, October 17, 2014

Where Guns Go, Death Often Follows

   Meleanie Hain. Soccer mom. Took a gun with her to youth sporting events and in so doing gained national attention as a guns rights advocate.
   Then came the fateful day her husband, Scott Hain, whipped out his own gun and, in a murder-suicide, shot her dead. Bless her. Sorry to hear. But, where guns go, death often follows. Guns can save us, at times. But, at other times, the same gun we thought would save us ends up being the one that takes us out. This does not mean guns do not do much good. They do. But, we would be wise to notice how easily they fall into the wrong hands. Indeed, how often our own hands end up being the wrong hands. When we are in our moment of anger, we swing with the biggest stick we can find. We use whatever weapon is available. Our crime rises to the level of the tool we find to use to express our rage. If no weapon is available, then, it keeps our anger from being expressed through that weapon. It keeps our actions from escalating.
   It would be good if all people who would abuse weapons never had them in the first place, but it would be hard to get things worked out to where things stood that way. I don't believe in gun control, just that we need to realize that if we teach everyone to go get a gun, that "everyone" is going to include a lot of folks who would be better off without them.
   And, sometimes, we ourselves are better off without them.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Disease of the Future Might Exceed the Disease of This Day

   This should be about more than Ebola. It should be about the next disease to come along. So says Rep. Jim Matheson. I agree.
    While we are working to be prepared for Ebola in the United States, let's not forget there will be another villain, another plague, another disease. With super viruses becoming more common, we should be thinking in terms of how to contain all breaking infections. We should think of not just the disease from three African nations, but diseases spawned here on our own soil.
  What will we do? When should we isolate people? Ever? Does it reach a point where we all march around in full body suits, not a touch of skin being exposed? That certainly does seem extreme, and I realize we are not there yet -- and hopefully never will be.
   I do wonder if serious enough plagues could come that I should want to wear around a full body suit. Yes, it if would save me, I would march around the full of the day in such a suit.
   What are other things we could do? Could we have in place the ability to take temperatures for everyone when they show up for work? Are no-touch devices too expensive? Could we each have those mouth-and-nose filters ready to wear? Should we be more conscious abou keeping our hands out of our mouth?
   Or am I wandering into fear and fearing things that may never take place?
   Maybe. But if big, bad, dreadful diseases are in our future, then yes, we would be wise to prepare for them. Foolishness is not in being prepared and never having to use your preparation, it is in not being prepared.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

About 5,000 WMD Found Stretching Across Bush and Obama Presidencies

   The weapons of mass destruction President Bush promised to find in Iraq? They were never found. Bush was looking for weapons currently being produced in Iraq.
  But, reports the New York Times, nearly 5,000 weapons of mass destruction were found, all made by 1991. Since they didn't fit the government's description of a current program, they were not reported when found. The officers who found them, sometimes injured in the finding, were told to keep it secret.
   So says the Times story of Oct. 14. I'm surprised it isn't receiving more play. The weapons were found from 2004 to 2011, stretching across the presidencies of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and making it hard to decide which of them was responsible, if the military the cover up was known by the president.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Caring for Those in Need was One of Christ's Callings

   Of all the interesting things Elder Jeffery R. Holland brought up in his talk in last weekend's General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this is one:
   That the Savior's first public announcement of His Messianic ministry spoke of the charge given Him to care for the poor. Elder Holland referred to some of the first words of Christ recorded in Luke, Luke 4:18. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and . . . set at liberty them that are bruised."
   I have thought of Christ's mission as being to provide the atonement. I have thought of His mission as being to preach the gospel. But, I don't believe I ever reflected on His charge to care for the poor. Oh, I noticed He did care for the needy. One cannot read the Gospels without noticing how much healing of the afflicted that He did. But, that He was called to do this, to serve the poor? No, I never noticed that, yet the scripture says he was anointed to preach to the poor, he was sent to heal the brokenhearted, and to preach deliverance to the captives and to set at liberty the bruised.

Free Speech Should also be for Those Who Sell Natural Health Food

   "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." -- From the book, "The Friends of Voltaire," by Evelyn Beatrice Hall
   Who will defend the multi-level marketers, then? And who will defend the natural food industry? Who will defend those who would claim that their health products can cure diseases?
   No one? I'm not asking for you to die for them, as was suggested, after all. But, I do wonder if you'd even offer your voice for them. Go into the health food stores and read the labels on the bottles. They may say things like, "Helps you sleep better." But, what they really want to say is, "Cures your insomnia." They cannot say "Cures insomnia" even if it truly does cures insomnia. It isn't a question of whether the statement is true, but whether it makes a claim of taking a person from a sick to a well condition with a product not approved and registered with the FDA.
   If I understand correctly, natural food items do not need and cannot receive registration with the FDA. So, if the product cannot receive FDA approval, yet it does, in fact, treat a disease, why do we not allow the marketers to say so?
   Isn't there a violation of freedom of speech in here somewhere?
  Now, as you think on that quote from Evelyn Beatrice Hall, consider also the words of the First Amendment. "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech." It says "no law," and yet we have such a law.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Do We Shoot Blindly at the Shadows?

   My body went hurling into a dark abyss, floating, spinning and tumbling as dark, humanish shadows came  at me on my left and on my right. Frightened by them, I swung wildly, hoping to knock them away, feeling an urgent need to hurt and destroy in order to protect myself.
   And, when it ended, and I lay on the ground, panting for breath, the devil, himself, came up and spoke to me. "We shall try this again, only with this," he said, handing me a gun.
   Again, I went sailing into the night, tumbling and twisting. And, again the shadows came toward me. I unleashed a torrent of bullets on them. Hearing their screams, I felt glee, and I laughed into the night, as if I were Satan himself.
  And, when the sun came up, and I again found myself lying on the ground, I saw what prey my bullets had claimed. I turned my head one way to see my wife and children, and another to see my parents and my brothers and sisters. I raised my head to gaze below my feet, and saw all my friends lying dead. Then, I turned the fourth and final direction, and witnessed the fallen bodies of all my acquaintances, fellow church members and co-workers.
   And, the gun fell from my hand, and I cried.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Caring for Diseased Immigrants is Something We Should Endeavor to do

   I believe in letting afflicted people immigrate to the United States, including many with diseases. Yes, I even believe in sharing our medical system with them, even if they cannot afford to pay for it.
   To me, helping the sick and afflicted is not something we should turn away from doing. It is something we should should endeavor to do.
   But, what of those bringing Ebola and other diseases that might spread? If we treat them as soon as they arrive, before the disease would spread, I would bring them.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Put Those Returning from West Africa in Isolation

   No ban on travel to and from West Africa? I heard a radio piece suggesting that such a ban would prevent health-care workers from helping, and that is why there shouldn't be a ban.
   Me? I believe we should have restrictions on travel. Instead of a ban, how about everyone who travels from the affected countries being isolated when they return to the U.S.? They would remain in isolation until the incubation period passed.
   To me, if we are so concerned about Ebola spreading to our country, why would we not do this? And, why is there not at least more discussion on restricting travel?

Monday, October 6, 2014

May We as a Society Go Forward Following Court Actions on Marriages

   The courts have spoken, and same-sex marriages are legal in Utah. My view remains in line with the statement issued today by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that we should be persons of good will toward all, including those who believe marriage can be for those of same-sex orientation.
   Bless them in their lives. I have friends who of same-sex orientation. I love them. They are wonderful people. Wonderful.
   But, I will remain believing that God ordained marriage to be between a man and a woman. I do, though, realize the power of the position of those who favor same-sex marriage. May we as a society go forward with love towards each other in the wake of the Supreme Court's declining to take up the appeal.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Words of One of God's Prophets Literally Stopped Me in My Tracks

   Elder Scott's words stopped me at by bedroom door. I was headed for the restroom, and would have been out of reach of what he was saying within moments had those words not caught me.
   "Don't yield to Satan's lie that you don't have time to study the scriptures," he said, urging listeners of his Conference talk to re-prioritize their lives so video games, social media, television, school work and even sleep do not come before scripture study.
   I froze at my doorway, thinking of my thoughts of late, of how if I loved the Lord my God with all my heart, might, mind and soul, I would study the scriptures three times each day. I would not let the pressures of the day pull me from this necessary task of scripture study. Why three times? In the morning, read four pages, but I find if I do not review what I have read, much is lost and forgotten by the next day. I will have a better chance of retaining what I read if I take just two minutes at lunch and at night to review something from what I have read.
   I have been so busy, though. Lunches and night-times come, and it seems I lack the time to cram even so much as two minutes into my scripture study. So, the words from one of God's prophets literally stopped me in my tracks. "Don't yield to Satan's lie that you don't have time to study the scriptures."

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Would the 911 Caller Stand By Her Claim that there was a Gun?

   I wonder about the person who made the call. Was she correct? Did she see someone "flash" a gun? Would she step forward now, to reassert that she, indeed, did see a gun?
   And, tell us which of the three men had it.
   The 911 caller said the three men wore a white shirt, a striped shirt, and a red shirt -- matching the clothing Dillon Taylor, his brother and his cousin were wearing when officer Brons Cruz confronted them. Taylor's brother and cousin put their hands up. But, not Taylor. He continued to walk away, then pushed his hands underneath his waistline.
   When Cruz supposed Taylor was pulling a gun out of his pants, he shot him dead.
   No gun was found on Taylor, so it becomes of interest whether the 911 caller would stand behind her statement that she saw a gun. Could she have been mistaken, or is she positive she saw a weapon? If she did, indeed, see a gun, what happened to it? Could Taylor (if he was the one who the 911 caller saw flashing a gun) have spotted officer Cruz early enough to ditch the weapon before officer Cruz moved in?

Friday, October 3, 2014

With Lives at Stake, Yes, We Should Consider if There are Alternatives

   Watched the video of Dillon Taylor being shot, and wondered anew. Still tend to believe the officer had enough reason to fear to justify the shooting.
   But the killing?
   Still justified. Because if the shooting was justified, that means the killing was.
   I wonder about the shoot-to-kill approach, supposing that officers are trained to aim at the torso. For one thing, it is the central point and you are less likely to miss. But, I wonder if life is so precious, if they ought to instead be taught to maim rather than kill.
   I wondered if there would be wisdom in training officers to evade attack, rather than confronting it. Could officer Cruz and the other officers have slid out of the line of fire while continuing to chase Taylor, ready to shoot but holding off doing so?
   Maybe not. But, yes, I weigh the thought.
   And, I wonder about the onus of responsibility. We allow it was understandable what officer Brons Cruz did. But, do we allow that it also was understandable what Dillon Taylor did? Did he really reply, "Nah, fool"? If he did, was that an expression of, "You fool, to even be pulling your gun on an innocent man who is doing nothing wrong"? And, when Taylor pulls his hands out of his belt line, isn't that doing what the officer was asking him to do -- to get his hands out?
   Calling the incident unfortunate seems too light of wording. It was a tragedy. Dillon Taylor was just walking down the street, and a policeman pulled up, got out of his car, and shot him dead. While I agree it was a justified homicide, this perspective does not goe unnoticed by me.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cruz had Good Reason to Fear

   Justified homicide. Salt Lake City police officer Bron Cruz reasonably feared Dillon Taylor was reaching for a gun, and shot him dead. So ruled Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.
  There is reason to believe the decision correct. Be sad for loss of Dillon Taylor's life. But . . .
   If police receive a report of someone flashing a gun, and go to investigate, and find people who look like the suspects . . .
   If one of them walks away, and does not follow orders to show his hands, but keeps them in his pants, manipulating them, yelling what sounds like, "No, fool," in response to the orders . . .
   If one hand suddenly begins what looks like a drawing motion as he turns to face the officer . . .
   The law says the officer is justified in using deadly force if he reasonably believes that use of deadly force is necessary to prevent someones death or serious bodily injury.
   That can be a dangerous law. In this case, though, I'd say Cruz sincerely feared Taylor was pulling a weapon.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

We Should Ban Travel from Infected Countries Until Ebola Scare is Over

   I walk past a television and catch but a glimpse of what is going on with the Ebola patient in the U.S., and the news seems to be discussing the possibility children and others have been infected. I have no time today to catch up on this story.
   But, I wonder.
   Why didn't we temporarily ban travel from the infected countries? Why don't we still?
   I arrive home too late to study the issue, and do not know if this question is being asked. I hope it is. I hope it is.