Texans, Lesbians, and The Briefcase

Watched an episode of “The Briefcase” last night. In case you’re unfamiliar, it’s a new/summer reality show where “Poor families are given money. They can choose to keep it, keep some, or give it all away” (description from imdb.com). The amount they’re given is $101,000. They are allowed to keep $1,000 and then must decide what to do with the rest. It’s a rather fascinating show to me, but reviews have not been favorable based on the show’s story-line.

Anyway, there are two families involved. Neither knows that the other family has also received money. Their decision rests on information the show’s producers give them, which usually includes the other family’s living arrangements, as well as their financial state.

Last night the two couples included a (self-described) gun-totin’, cowboy-hat wearin’, god-fearin’ Texas Republican and his wife, along with a lesbian, interracial couple (also believers) from Boston, MA  with two black children they had taken in to raise.

Naturally, the god-fearin’ Texan was repulsed by the idea that the family they might be helping were lesbians. I mean, after all (as he put it), God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. (How original!)

I won’t go into detail about how each made their decision on what to do with the money, but overall it included discussions about their family situation related to debt, as well as things they wanted/needed to do for their family but didn’t have the money for. A more subtle factor involved was each individual’s outlook on how far one should go to help others that may be less fortunate.

The reason I’m writing this post is to share the end result of last night’s show …

The Texas couple (you know, the one who felt same-sex relationships were verboten) kept all but $25,000. The Massachusetts (lesbian) couple kept $500 and gave away all the rest.

Let me add … both families had considerable debt. Both families had needs/wants they couldn’t afford.

I found the results, shall we say, interesting. What’s your take?


Kill ‘Em All!

Just read this in an article at AmericanThinker.com … and it chills my bones:

America is in a generational struggle against the sick, pathological and extreme ideology of Islam, and America must show no mercy for the merciless Islamic State, which seeks the “breaking of the American [Christian] cross” and the fulfillment of Islamic prophecy. We must unleash the full fury and might of the U.S. military on the Islamic State and annihilate these animals who would end our U.S. Republic, democratic elections and religious freedom, leaving only Sharia law. And, we must fight to victory or condemn future generations to a perpetual state of war, or worse.

I don’t think any of us want to be in a “perpetual state of war,” but is unleashing the “full fury and might of the U.S. military on the Islamic State” the answer? Does this writer think we can just walk in and blow the smithereens out of the countries that support terrorism and walk away unscathed?

I recognize that diplomatic reasoning doesn’t seem to be working, but it turns my stomach when the writer says we should “annihilate these animals.” If the U.S. were to follow his strategy, not only the “animals” would be annihilated, but thousands of innocent people as well.

I admit I don’t know the answer to the global situation that is facing the U.S. (and other countries), but there must be a better way than the venomous and vicious plan offered by this writer.


Prejudices, Suspicions, and Fear

I just read an opinion article on the CNN website (written by Richard Gabriel) that, for me, spoke volumes. His topic was racial bias, but many of the things he wrote can be applied to more than just race. For example, he points out that we’re all suspicious of “The Other.” In the Zimmerman case, it was the the young man in a hoodie, but the “Other” can also come in the form of a gay co-worker, the Muslim neighbor, the overweight teacher, the barista with tattoos and piercings, even the gun owner. I would add that it can also be those who do not agree with our religious viewpoints.

In other words, we tend to categorize those who seem different from ourselves. Our biases may be the result of life experiences but in many cases, they simply occur because the other person makes us feel uneasy.

While many of us like to think we are bias-free and may even vehemently deny any existence of prejudice or partiality, the cold hard truth is that none of us are neutral.

Even so, do we need to act upon our unfavorable feelings toward the people we consider different from us? Do we need to call them names? Avoid them on the street? Condemn them to a fiery future? Or, god forbid, kill them?

While I would love to see the day when we can talk without judging and listen without condemning,  I’m doubtful it will happen. At least in my lifetime. As has been proven time and again, too many consider themselves righteously correct in their thinking and thus, are unwilling to take responsibility for any resultant actions.

There is little doubt that we will continue to read and hear tragic stories about abortion doctors, individuals in the LGBT community, the homeless, Muslims, and scores of others who do not fit within someone’s standards of  worthiness.

The Jury and George Zimmerman

57324ngI was not happy that Zimmerman was found not guilty since the whole defense case was built entirely on his account of the events — Trayvon Martin wasn’t around to give his version.

However, having served on a jury many years ago in which a man was accused of killing his roommate, I know what it means to make your decision based on the evidence. We all knew this guy was guilty but could not convict him of murder because the presented evidence simply wasn’t strong enough.

Unfortunately, I think this is what happened in this case.

My Take on the Zimmerman/Martin Case

OK, I can’t hold out any longer. I have to express my thoughts on the Zimmerman/Martin case.

First, I don’t believe Zimmerman when he talks about Trayvon beating his head against the concrete. More likely, he fell during a scuffle between he and Trayvon and when he went down, his head bounced on the sidewalk.

The bloody nose? I will concede that it’s very possible Trayvon gave it to him during a scuffle between the two of them.

But why did the confrontation happen in the first place? This is the question that isn’t being addressed.

I personally believe that Zimmerman approached Trayvon and, more than likely, accused him of being up to no-good. (Remember, in Trayvon’s phone conversation with his female friend, he asked Zimmerman why he was following him.) Trayvon, probably because of past experiences related to his race, went on the defensive and responded with anger. Zimmerman may then have retorted with a comment that included the n-word.

The next most likely action would have been pushing at each other, each one trying to gain the upper hand. This led to a scuffle. Zimmerman lost his footing and slammed his head on the concrete. Trayvon got on top of him and, very likely, hit him in the face.

And the calls for help? I would say they were probably Zimmerman because he knew he was on the losing end of this battle. But was he in danger of losing his life? That’s the question that begs to be answered.

I realize all of this is speculation on my part. As has been noted several times, the only one who really knows what happened is Zimmerman.

The most tragic part of this whole scenario is that one human being shot and killed another human being. Zimmerman walked away with a few bumps on his head and a bloody (broken?) nose, but Trayvon lost his life.