PROTECT 2ND AMENDMENT WITH COMMON SENSE – Op-Ed

“Protect Second Amendment with Common Sense” – Florida Today Op-Ed by yours truly appears today, November 9, 2017.

Every time there is a senseless shooting in America, a large segment of our populous, including politicians and the media, jump on the gun control bandwagon. Contrarily, right wingers forever cite the Second Amendment as though it was Biblical, claiming any and all restrictions should be minimal. Meanwhile, the left seems to endorse a disarmed citizenry without regard for personal protections. Common sense takes a back seat to both sides.

We often fail to consider how and why the Second Amendment was embedded into our constitution in 1791, when guns were single-shot muskets, the population of the new nation was under 4 million and there were no organizations called “police.” The only civil protection people had from intruders, thieves and killers, were the citizens themselves.

The language is clear: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” In today’s America, we have well-regulated militias in every town, city, county and state, the most visible of which are some 800,000 sworn, well-armed law enforcement officers.

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE” – 8.5

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE – 8 ½

     In a word:  revealing

If you want to know more about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) victims as related to military service and the pains of war, see this movie.

This is not just a medical diagnosis, it is a somber dilemma for many thousands of American men and women who have witnessed the horrors of fellow soldiers dying in agony, forever embedded in involuntary memory. Or, for those who suffered their own physical trauma.

The movie primarily centers on three friends, young men from the mid-west who had spent multiple tours in Iraq during war time. Each has their own stories, their own demons, and their own frustrations, some of which will stun the audience. These are but a microcosm of the national dilemma. I didn’t realize this was based on a true story with actual characters until the end of the film.

With shocking realism, the movie captures the living hell not only of the battlefield, but of the suffering these soldiers experience at home once the ordeal is thought to be over. Such trauma also creates huge impacts on perplexed spouses, family and friends who are at a loss

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FRANCES PETERSON

She was born October 29th, 1912.  This Sunday would be her 105th birthday.

     This tribute is not so much because I remember her life, it’s because others, except for a handful, do not. So, it is fitting that she be offered some degree of  recognition, because by the time I die, there will be no one left in this world who knew her and her memory will vanish with the ashes.

     Born in Chicago in 1912 the younger of two daughters to Anna and Carl Peterson, Frances was a beautiful child of 100% Norwegian heritage who grew to become a strikingly beautiful woman. Through her childhood, her parents saw a glow of natural talent within her as she, and her older sister were ushered into the world of performing arts, excelling equally.

     Not only did Frances evolve into an accomplished dancer, she studied classical piano and voice (mezzo soprano) for many years. Not a day went by, through her entire life, that she didn’t practice music at least four hours.

     Her greatest of all satisfactions was moving to New York City in the 1930s where she became an active member of the new (and now famous) dance ensemble The

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW “ONLY THE BRAVE” – 7

“ONLY THE BRAVE”  –  7

In a word:  Illuminating. (in more ways than one)

     In a nutshell, this is a story, based on true events, about a unit of Arizona fireman and their sacrifices fighting dangerous forest fires.

     For certain, I would give this movie an A-plus for educating viewers about all the hazards, training, methods and tools involved in braving the elements within one of the most dangerous challenges there is for public servants, who often give their lives in the process of saving lives.  These men are, without question, the epitome of brave dedication, the very definition of “heroes.”   

     There are a number of worthwhile personal sub-stories built in to the movie, mostly dealing with the private lives of the men, and the struggles of their families and other loved ones.  Many moving scene keep the viewer glued to the screen.

     The problem for this reviewer was the writing. While it was refreshing to watch a movie that didn’t rely on curse words for effect, nor sex, the dialogue between the men, in some places, seemed  amateurish. Having been a part of an emergency responder organization for 30 years, I feel I know the difference between real

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JAILHOUSE SNITCHES, FLAWED JUSTICE

(This Op-Ed by yours truly, was published by Florida Today, on-line, 20 Oct 2017:  “Non-Vetted Jailhouse Snitches Make For Flawed Justice”)

Those spending prison time based on the testimony of a non-vetted jailhouse snitches who offered a story to gain personal favor from prosecutors, should have their cases seriously reviewed by the governor, or at the least, a district court of appeals, or perhaps the state Supreme Court.

Sadly, Brevard County had a number of those cases of non-vetted testimony from in-custody snitches in which the prosecutor’s office of the early 1980s used to help expedite convictions.

Bill Dillon spent 27 years in prison, based partly on the testimony of a jailbird who falsely claimed Dillon had confessed to him in the cell. That snitch openly admitted to his lie 27 years later. Another innocent man, Wilton Dedge spent 22 years in prison for rape, based partly on the self-serving testimony of another inmate. These cases were featured in FLORIDA TODAY’s award-winning podcast series Murder on the Space Coast.

In both cases, prosecutors also gave undue weight to a dog’s sniffer. The infamous handler, John Preston, had later been shamefully outcast from the justice system as a fraud,

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “MARSHALL” – 8.5

“MARSHALL”  –  8 ½

     In a word:  Engaging

     This movie is not so much about the life of the first black U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. Rather, it’s about a young civil rights attorney and the struggles he had to overcome in defending a young black defendant charged with rape in 1941 in Greenwich, Connecticut. At this time, Marshall was the sole staff attorney for the NAACP.

     The story focuses on the plight of a black chauffeur accused of raping a wealthy white woman, married, who was his employer. Several issues of racism are highlighted, particularly in the courtroom as the judge would not allow Marshall to utter a word during the trial, but had to pass that task on to a white attorney who had never tried a criminal case. The partnership between Marshall and Sam Friedman starts off on rocky grounds but eventually evolves into harmony and mutual respect.

     Actually, the trial is quite interesting with evidence and revelations that would intrigue folks who like to solve crimes.

     The movie is well-directed and maintains a pace which keeps the viewer engaged. Acting is good, with the Marshall role played by Chadwick Boseman, the same actor who portrayed

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OUTLAW CAMPAIGN FINANCE

(Published in Florida Today, Oct. 13, 2017)

 

Campaign finance doesn’t need reform, it needs to be outlawed.

When a cop accepts money or favors in exchange for a special consideration, it’s called bribery. When a special interest group, or private party, contributes a huge sum to a senator or president in exchange for special considerations, it’s called politics. No big deal.

By the time presidential campaigns are over, the candidates and their political parties will have expended over two billion dollars to get elected. Think of all that could be done with that money. Millionaires, corporations and investors of all ideologies donate mega bucks to their select candidate for one main reason: to enhance their cause or their business in hopes to see legislation that will sway thinking and make them prosper.

That’s called “corruption” where I come from.

Besides direct donations, politicians have designed ingenious methods by which to suck up billions under the umbrella of legitimacy, i.e. super PACs and nonprofit foundations. Hillary Clinton raised $1.4 billion for her campaign, not counting the proceeds into the Clinton Foundation.

Without doubt, foundations seem to be legitimate methods by which to enhance a campaign through the back door.

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