List of Previous Titles

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The face of Justice

There is a country, among many, that was once called a paradise. That was before the advent of recreational drugs, and the siren song to the young men that working at a normal job was to work for chump change. They fell in line and traded drugs for massive incomes, but before long jealousy took over and they started to fight among themselves. They reduced their living space from a maximum of thirty-five kilometres to less than a thousand meters.

Than out came the guns and they started to kill one another. These were supposed to be the future leaders and husbands, but one by one they ended their lives on a cold slab, in jail, or they ran off to England.

It is a sad thing to witness; however, my son has been out of the country during this period and has, thankfully, avoided the whole sad scenario. There has only been one thing worse to observe than the war between gangs, and that is when one soldier falls out with his own gang, and they turn on him.

I know first hand how this feels. As a very young lad I fell in with a group of other young guys. We didn't do anything illegal, except one of the boys used his grandmother's needles to inject oranges with vodka which he then shared with the group during the morning recess. I was always pissed as a lord for my mathematics class, although I still went on to become an accountant.

My father made me an ultimatum to get an education and to stop hanging out with those losers. When I tried to break away they turned on me with a vengence. That is another story, but the story we are following is what happened when his own gang thought that our lead player was an informant for the police. They set out to assassinate him, which they did with extreme prejudice. The assassin was brought to justice and sentenced to serve time in prison for the rest of his life.

He is a young man of 21 years who must serve at least 35 years before he can be considered for parole. He will be 56 years old by then, so the question arises, why would he even want freedom at that time. He would have to make his own way at a time when absolutely no one will hire him.

In my opinion, this is a classic case of justice. The assassin deliberately took the life of his former colleague, and now he has to forfeit the quality of his own life. To put him to death would simply release him from what he must now face. I assume he would not have been fazed by facing a death sentence. After all, he understands killing.

This case illustrates so well that applying the death penalty is stupid and barbaric. To kill to make the point that killing is wrong is just dopey. Plus, when mistakes are made that convict the wrong person, if that person is put to death then the State commits murder.

One thing more: the argument that the taxpayer has to foot the bill is irrelevant because we will always have full prisons with full staffs, all of which must be paid for. Some of the inmates will be murderers and others will be lesser offenders. That's life.

Copyright (c) 2015  Eugene Carmichael 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Danger! Unbalanced World!

The world functions best when all is in balance. What that means is that all forms of life are instinctive or intelligent and make their own decisions to do good or evil. Specifically, with regard to the world of humans, we are capable of making decisions based on right or wrong, good or evil. Many people ask, "Why does God allow people to do such evil deeds?" The answer is that individuals make up their own minds, but for every act of cruelty there should be an act of kindness that offsets it. For every thing of beauty there is something ugly. For every destructive act there should be something constructive.  If God were an accountant he would be using the double entry system in keeping the books.

Down through the ages we have seen examples of what happens when things become unbalanced, country by country.  Many leaders and countries no longer exist because their goverance went off the rails and they were destroyed.

We have history that describes two world wars that were caused by meglomaniacs, and in fighting those wars we saw the worst of man's inhumanity to man. For a time we have moved toward civility, even having reached the lofty heights during the administration of President Reagen when the relationship between the two superpowers, America and Russia had warmed to such a degree, that it could be said, Peace reigned Supreme!

Since those wonderful days it has all turned pear shaped. Right around the world groups and individuals have engaged in raw acts of sheer evil that has no redeeming qualities at all. The frequency of offensive acts is such that the news media are unable to keep up. Violence is the new religion, to the extent that horrible things now happen without unduly disturbing some people.

Murder, assasination, kidnap, rape, knifings, shootings, theft, muggings, bombings, sexual assault, incest, sexual abuse of children, cheating spouses, slavery, bank theft by the banks themselves; home repossesions, car repossesions, home breakins; daylight drive-by shootings; the killing of many people while they were at prayer meeting, in the movies, having a meal, were in class,  while in church, while shopping for food in supermarkets or markets and at the mall, while travelling on public transport, including by airplane. We have murder by police, gang killings between themselves that kill innocent bystanders; people who are killed for refusing to join a gang, and people who want out of a gang who are killed. Drug dealing crimes, and there is institutional grand theft of land and property, because they can. There is rampant corruption in politics and governance on a mega scale.

The list goes on and on to the extent that the world order is no longer balanced. Mother Nature does not sit still for this state of affairs. We all remember the dinosaurs and how they ran rampant over the earth. Something had to be done, and it was. Now we only have Steven Speilbergs dinosaurs. Given past history I feel sure that something will be done to re-set the platform because mankind is asking for whatever is in store.

When it comes there will be no hiding place. Just don't be surprised!

Copyright (c) 2015  Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sleep! Glorious Sleep!

I parked in front of an apartment block, and right in front of me on the first floor, (the one above the ground floor) there was a large sign displayed on the balcony of one of the apartments. It stated:

"Please! We have lived here for eight years and we have never had a solid night's sleep because of you. Please have consideration and go and play elsewhere."  The apartment next to it displayed a For Sale sign.

How important is it to be able to go to bed at a usual time and to get a good night's rest? Personally, I take this for granted. Even the dogs in my neighbourhood are generally quiet as we all go off to dreamland.

We recall that Michael Jackson's problem was his inability to sleep to the extent that extreme measures were taken to try and help him. Unfortunately those measures worked too well in his case. Spain is a country that learned long ago about the value of the siesta. In many other countries if you take a nap during the day you must be an old person. In Spain, everybody takes a siesta if they can. The health benefit of resting, especially during the long hot days of Summer, are legend. Anyway, when the sun goes down the country comes alive. 

To have your lunch and be able to let your chin sink to your chest and fall asleep is wonderful. The culture even mandates that all phone calls be held until 5 o'clock. What a civilised country this is!

I find one of the fastest ways to lull myself to sleep during the day is to sit in front of the tv. Within minutes of the talking heads telling me of the news I fall into a deep sleep. Sometimes, just as I'm about to slip away the announcer starts saying something really interesting, but too late, I'm gone.

There are times when the neighbours are still very active, especially the children diving and splashing and screaming in the pools. You might think that would keep me awake. Nope! It has the same effect as sitting in front of the tv.

If you walk into the room and you see that I'm asleep with the tv on, please don't turn it off. I'll awake and say, "Hey! I was watching that!"

Copyright (c) 2015  Eugene Carmichael 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Is winning everything?

I am a long term member of Toastmasters, the self-help organisation that assists the individual to develop and refine his sense and skill in communicating effectively and persuasively. The skill to do so is something that we have to work at, it does not come as a talent. It's also one of those things that if not maintained through practise and rehearsal is soon lost.

I have just attended one of our conferences where members from different area clubs come together to observe styles and levels of expertise, and to compete for awards that result in the declaration that this one is a winner of this, and that one is a winner of that. This appeals to the competitive nature in lots of people, but frankly, I find it offensive that people who are in training are effectively told you are not as brilliant as I am.

It could be that I am not a good loser, but in spite of that I do not join in the festivities to be judged above my fellow students. Being together in large groups like this and spending time learning from one another is really great fun and just plain instructional. We make good friends and grow our network. What does it mean to be judged: First in Class? Well, I got a certificate and a very nice bottle of red wine. I'm sure I will enjoy the wine but the certificate means absolutely nothing to me.

How would it work if we simply had the same challenges without anyone judging us? The audience can certainly decide whose presentation they liked, and the speakers do get evaluated at club level as to how their speeches were received, so they have a good idea of how they are progressing. The real value of presenting your own work in a major congress is the experience you gain.

The simple fact that you are prepared to work hard to develop your skill makes you a winner, and in that regard, everybody is a winner. Enough said?

Copyright (c) 2015  Eugene Carmichael