After the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Connecticut where 18 six and seven year-olds were shot and killed by a single armed individual, President Barack Obama took to the airwaves and we all heard his emotional condolences to other affected. Back in 2008, when Candidate Obama was being honest he said that cultural changes will make people “cling to their guns and religion”, he couldn’t have been righter. In fact some would say that the gun is a religion. The United States of America has more guns than any other ‘civilized” country in the world. We have more people in prison than any other civilized country, prison is supposed to be a deterrent–obviously what we have been doing isn’t working. It can even be argued that the violence we do abroad is merely an extension of the violence in our hearts that sometimes spills out at home…

You will hear the terms “Kids killing Kids”, “Boys will be Boys”, “Guns don’t kill people”, these are paid for slogans that turn shooting tragedies, like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School into nothing more than nursery rhymes. Nursery rhymes right along side other rhymes like “babies having babies”, “Just say no”. Slogans that make you feel better, as if someone has a handle on it enough to craft a catchy slogan for it, while another avoidable shooting becomes nothing more than a parade of faces and a footnote in history. Disregarding the warnings from these events, the media and political framework from these events have become common. They pick sides, cloud the issues only to keep the same ways of thinking in place, year after year, incident after incident, half-measure after half-measure. Why half-measure and promises, because this is the culture of violence that we have created…all of us.

You will also hear words like “troubled”, “problems” and if no on is troubled or has problems. These media slick personalities will cloud the issue by making it a mental health debate. If the individual “snapped” how an examination beforehand reveals that is beyond any psychologist. They will also turn any remedy it into a privacy issues, or a rights issue. One as arbitrary as, at 18 one can smoke and at 21 one can drink alcohol, how is that working out?  They aren’t working, they don’t work. We as a society have not revisited those issues either, but it makes us feel better that we did something, maybe not the right thing, but we did something. “But it’s our right” they’ll scream, but since 9/11 the same screamers have allowed their right to be taken and twisted and their privacy to be intruded upon, without so much as a whimper—why? Because it was for the “Greater Good”. In the case of guns, finger pointing usually follows a shooting like this, but taking money out of the pockets of elected officials can save lives.

This tragedy in Sandy Hook, Connecticut will be tied to false arguments and false conclusions, just as all the tragedies before it were. You hear the questions being asked: What happened to the shooter to make him act in this manner? This can’t be normal, he’s a monster, a monster really–so is America raising monster? This is all done to prevent us from squaring look ourselves in the face. Looking at the society we have created for ourselves and for our children to grow up in. Arbitrarily putting people on a ‘not eligible’ list, stopping the poor for getting guns, preventing minorities from getting guns, ect… none of it will work. We all know it that’s why we pray, we hold vigils, and we debate.

A week after the Sandy Hook shooting the NRA held a national press conference that blamed 1980 and 1990 era video games Splatterhouse, Bulletstorm and Mortal Kombat, and sports for America’s violent culture. The NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre urged congress to create a national database for the mentally ill, he also blamed the media for being complicity in misinforming people and President Barack Obama for cutting funds. The NRA proposes that every school in America has a police officer. The press conference was so out of touch and so sickening the only thing missing was the Wayne LaPierre brandishing a gun, and metaphorically he was. However, the NRA’s proposal seems like a great solution until the armed protector is the shooter. Make it tougher to get a gun won’t work, because the capitalist will find something else deadly to market and sell to the violence hungry masses. Scenes like the ones at Sandy Hook Elementary School have become as common as law enforcement police shooting unarmed people,and  as normal as the violence from our unmanned drone strikes in other countries. We the so-called educated masses, have lost the clarity and the fortitude to do the right thing.

How many guns does a person need? One for upstairs, one for downstairs, one for the car and one for the white tail deer. I know hunting is a way of life. Yes hunting defenseless animals with high powered weaponry for sport, is a way of life that desensitizes us to the value of life as a whole. We as a society hold the power to take life as our absolute right if someone, anyone offends us, unfortunately the taking of life is in direct conflict with the constitution the evangelist praise so highly, but just as so many religious do with their text, the constitution is left largely unread. Thinking that one right can take another right has to be a mental condition.

Here is what you won’t hear.

There have been 28 mass shootings since Columbine and 19 mass shooting since the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, 30,000 gun deaths yearly, 100,000 people get shot yearly, 18,000 people commit  gun suicides each year, yet there has been no meaningful change in the gun laws or the gun debate. Unfortunately, American citizens will fork over trillions of dollars and  the wherewith all for wars, but they no longer have the guts to do the right thing here at home. Any of these numbers should have indicated that our culture is in crisis, has been in crisis and every decision we make stems from the bad ones before it. This time, this incident in Connecticut, involved so many children and females in particular involved that the assault weapons ban might get a national tweak, might.  What if the next mass shooter’s are girls would that be enough to make us think? Probably not.

“The issue is not just violence in the media but the construction of violent masculinity as a cultural norm. From rock and rap music and videos, Hollywood action films, professional and college sports, the culture produces a stream of images of violent, abusive men and promotes characteristics such as dominance, power, and control as means of establishing or maintaining manhood.”

For one segment of American society the gun itself is a symbol of honor, human mastery over nature, authority, individual self-sufficiency and history. To that segment by opposing gun control affirm the value of those symbolic meanings and the vision of the good society that the gun helped to construct. However, to the other segment of  society guns perpetuate illicit social hierarchies, the elevation of force over reason, the expression of collective indifference to the well-being of strangers, and the only way the the fearful can sleep at night. To this segment supporting gun control means repudiation these things, meanwhile one sides interest’s are realized at the detriment to the other side. The truth is that injecting partisan cultural values into this debate are inappropriate. People have a tendency to adopt views shared by others of their cultural orientation, this is self-reinforcing. We need a new vocabulary, we need new voices on the matter and no compromise, or middle ground solution will remedy this. We must change our thinking completely.

What would the forefathers think? Where is congress on the matter? Who is paying who? It’s too much for the busy citizenry to deal with, right? So lets put it to a vote, and watch every year as the numbers for a ban grow, but that’s when the real violence will happen. The shooter could have used an SUV and ran down just as many young victims crossing the street to school. Why didn’t he? Because guns and ammunition are far cheaper and more effective ways to kill, when you are killing for power. So why not make guns more costly, but then only the wealthy would have them. We could make it into War on Guns, but how have the wars on Terror, Drugs and Gangs turned out? Why not just ban the firearm and keep the 2nd amendment, which is doable, but the capitalist would never allow that.

The numbers and our actions just don’t add up, what would happen if we as a society were to take firearms out of the equation?

MG Hardie

Why I Am Gay

My mother and father used to argue and fight a lot, so one day he left us.

My mother got so caught up chasing after

no good,

no account negroes

that she completely forgot about me.

I grew up really wanting her love,

wanting her to love me.

I never got it.

I remember it started long before freeze-tag. I always like to  put on

my mothers shoes.

You remember the Road Runner Show, the one with Wile. E. Coyote–

well that’s all I was thinking about.

I wasn’t even thinking about “hide-n-go-get-it”,

when these so-called men started touching on me.

The whole time they were doing these things to me they were telling

me that it was love,

that it was right.

“If you don’t do it, I’m ah tell your mother.”

I learned and was told shit that I shouldn’t have known or done until

I was grown.

I tried to tell some family members, but they didn’t want to talk about it.

It was like I deserved it,

like I asked for it.

So I grew up afraid.

I hit puberty and my feelings of love for my mother turned sexual.

And all of a sudden

I was attracted to her,

her,

and her,

but anger is what made me perpetuate it.

Somewhere along the line a part of me liked the feelings the sex brought.

For more Converpoems poems pick up It Ain’t Just the Size on Kindle for only .99!

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Momma Cried and Wouldn’t Stop Crying

There is a Santa Claus because momma cried and wouldn’t stop crying. When we couldn’t pay our bills and we got put out that, Christmas momma cried momma and wouldn’t stop crying. It wasn’t even our house it was Grandma’s and I tried. I tried to be to be good, but I was just a kid full of questions and momma cried and wouldn’t stop crying. That winter was the first time I wondered about my skin color because Grandma made us watch Roots.

It wasn’t so bad because my cousins were there, but it still didn’t feel like home. My brother and sister didn’t know why daddy left and momma cried and wouldn’t stop crying. Momma tucked me in with smile, but I heard her leave that night. When I ran down the stairs in the morning I saw my name on some gifts. I ripped them open. I can remember having G.I. Joe in my hand; it was just when the Classic Collection came out. And I asked momma how did Santa Clause find me? And momma cried and wouldn’t stop crying…

MG Hardie

Cazz– Being monogamous is harder than given up weed. If you have a man or woman who is with just you, then you should celebrate, cherish, and nurture that shit. I got married because I was in love. We were both in the military. I was young and it was the first time I really gave my all in any relationship. We used to look into each others eyes and talk about how much we loved each other.

Princess– How sweet…

Cazz– But then I was Hated on from the inside. She was pregnant so they sent her stateside, to the barracks and I was floating in the gulf. My daughter was like a breath of fresh air. I can’t lie there is something about marriage that is calming. I felt secure. Then she got pregnant with our second daughter. It’s funny, you know, we had this plan to save money buy a house, run a daycare or something, you know– the new American Dream. So I am working the plan, sending the money home because my time is starting to get short, but when my tour was over I found out that she was the one not sticking to the plan.

It’s a cold thing when you can’t let your wife go to the store by herself  because she a slut! You can’t imagine the strangeness you feel, being with someone everyday, but you are still alone. And before you can catch your breath all the bank accounts are dried up, the truck is repossessed and she is pregnant with another officers’ baby. Now everything is always your fault, so you’ve got to divorce her, but the she uses all of the shit she knows about you to hurt you. So now you can’t be happy because you ain’t never been hated– on until you’ve been hated on from the inside.

MG Hardie

In 1972, Magnovox brought coins eating time wasters into American homes with The Odyssey.  In 1975, Atari released Pong, followed in 1980 by Atari’s “Asteroids”. Today video games have developed into a 70 Billion dollar industry. The industry has moved from Pong to Pac-man to Super Mario; from initials and high scores to gamer tags and trophies; from 8-bit to 64-bit to 128-bit buses; from single-player to Multiplayer to co-op; from online gaming to remote play, the video game console is now the center of the home entertainment experience. In five decades the video game industry has grown by leaps and bounds. There have been advancements in all areas except one. ..Race.

The usual video game controversies are sex and violence, but many of us have been gaming since we were two, yet when you scour the 70 billion dollar industry; minorities only  litter the landscape as bit players or cover athletes, Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, Mike Tyson, Kobe Bryant, Shaq and Tiger Woods. You find one dimensional black characters based off of comic books or movies like Spawn, Blade or Riddick in The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, but you won’t find them as the central character in a video game, unless they are a pimp, gangster or built on a celebrity persona such as Michael Jackson. The most popular main black character is Carl “CJ” Johnson, the ultra-violent gang founder from Grand Theft: Auto San Andreas.

A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that black youths between 8 and 18 years old played video and computer games roughly 90 minutes a day (30 minutes more than white youths).”For a long time, we’ve talked in the game industry about gender diversity as the one problem on the radar, but the racial split is worse,” said Ian Bogost, a Georgia Tech game design professor. Most video games, right or wrong, are being designed from the unconscious biases, reflections and opinions of their creators. 80 percent of video game programmers are white; this may have something to do with the absence of color in video games.

Most characters of color are either covered up or they aren’t playable, leaving one to wonder if there is racial bias, even in cyber-space. Over time America has become more and more diverse, but not our primary game characters. Is it necessary for gamers to identify with the characters they are using? Does it matter if all the heroes are male Caucasians when minorities (male and female) are not only purchasing expensive gaming consoles, but also shelling out $60 on each video game. America has made social advancements in every way of life except gaming.

In 2012 enter Starhawk, a third-person shooter, aerial-vehiclar combat, real-time strategy video game and the first of its kind. A Playstation 3 exclusive and a collaborative effort from Lightbox Interactive and Sony’s Santa Monica Studios. Starhawk is an inspired game, it is not recycled and it’s the right kind of freshness a stagnant industry needs. Starhawk introduces a new system called “Build &’ Battle”, which changes the landscape and possibilities each time you play. With the flick of a button, Build and Battle, give the player options to build structures such as, bunkers, defenses, and armories which crash down from space,  in the midst of battle. Build & Battle gives the game a dynamic real-time strategy feel while remaining a third-person shooter.

The hero of the game is Emmett Graves, a man who was running a rift mine on the Frontier alongside Logan, his brother. All was well until the mine was attacked by an Outcast war party. Emmett’s rig exploded and both Emmett and his brother became partially exposed to rift energy. Colonies of humans called Rifters have been exploring the “Frontier” of planets, but now they find their way of life threatened at every turn by the Outcast, a psychotic species of humans who have mutated due to over-exposure to rift Energy. Caught in the middle is Emmett Graves, ostracized by the humans because of his partial exposure to Rift Energy, leaving him partially mutated. He becomes a hired gun to protect the Rifters, while his infected brother becomes the leader of the Outcast. Will Emmett be able to retain his humanity… This game gives you a real sense that he is fighting for his family, the rifters and for his very survival.

The game is visually stunning, fluid, fast paced and a mash up of the sci-fi and western genres. The game features flying vehicles called Hawks that transform into Mechs, tanks, 4×4 razorback, 32-players, huge maps, weapons, customization, jetpack, 2-player split screen, skill mods, “Build & Battle”, power ups, Jetbikes, multiplayer, co-op, HD, a limited edition package and yes a Black protagonist. “The rift energy looks really good on darker skin, and we really liked the tale—the brothers’ tale, I thought, felt better with having the character be a black guy. It was just really more about design stuff. It wasn’t about, “Yay, let’s be the first to make a black protagonist.” It was just, you know, the design evolved and he ended up being a black guy. And it was like cool, let’s roll with it.” Dylan Jobe Lightbox Interactive President

Experts will say gamers generally ignore the character they are playing, but there are already questions surrounding Graves’ race, and how the game will play with the buying public. “I’m curious how fans will react when they’re placed in the shoes of a minority. Will Graves speak to them? Will they even have the maturity to contemplate this instead of just spewing forth the typical vitriol of an Internet gaming message board?”- IGN (Starhawk: The Reveal of a Bold New Frontier)

Video games have been in American homes for 50 years and indeed times have changed, yet criticism about a black primary character is already being spewed by those unsure of their aversion to the game and those shocked at how great the game is. Unavoidably there will be those so disappointed in the skin color of Starhawk’s main character that they will fill message boards and social network postings with racial vitriol. There will also be many more smiling, albeit silently, that they can finally play a hero that l looks like them;  a character, a face to connect with. This is a positive step for gaming and could lead to more primary minorities in video games, but more importantly it could open the door for more minority game developers. Starhawk begins recruiting May 8th 2012  with Emmett Graves as the hero the video game world needs, but doesn’t want.

Other Tolerable Black Characters:  

Adam/Skate – Streets of Rage Trilogy, Balrog/Dee Jay– Street Fighter Series, Mr. Sandman – The Punch-Out!! Series,  Eddy Gordo – Tekken 3, Captain David Anderson – Mass Effect, Barret Wallace – Final Fantasy VII, Sergeant Major Avery J. Johnson –  Halo,  Augusts Cole a.k.a. Cole Train – Gears of War Trilogy, Sergeant Foley – Modern Warfare 2, Zack – Dead or Alive Series, Coach – Left 4 Dead 2, Louis – Left 4 Dead, Romeo – Halo 3: ODST. Doc Louis – Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! & Punch-Out!!, Fortune – Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Jacob – Mass Effect 2, Jax – Mortal Kombat Series, Alyx Vance – Half-Life 2, Dean Shephard Marc Ecko’s Getting Up and Jade from  Beyond Good & Evil the first and only original IP involving a black woman (although the developers say Jade is Racially Ambiguous). Not to slant Prototype 2 but the main character didn’t start off as black.

The Penn State scandal has not only rocked Pennsylvania, it has shaken America to its very core. There will be those of us who will say that this was an isolated incident, but deep down inside we know that’s not true. There will be those of us who think the Penn State university officials, and law enforcement, didn’t drag their feet on these young male rape charges because of race, but deep down inside we know that’s not true. There will be those of us that will say we are doing everything possible to protect our children, but we know this is also not true.

The truth is that we as a society have failed our children. Not just in this case, but in general and the sooner we can admit that, the sooner we can pull out of America’s obvious moral recession. When the Penn State case first broke and I read that the alleged claims of wrong doings by Jerry Sandusky stemmed from the mid-90’s, yet he was not arrested, I knew that most likely the entire sickening scandal was only allowed to continue due to race (I haven’t sugar-coated this on Facebook, nor my tweets which many well-known bloggers have conveniently saw fit to pilfer) Sandusky was tampering with 10-12 year old boys, adopting them, even sharing them with other sick people, mostly in plain view for 15 or more years and no one took any real action…this would not have went on as long as it did had the victims looked like Justin Bieber, had dark skin or if the victims had a fathers. People with this sickness generally don’t care about race, but Sandusky allegedly had a preference, not that it matters much to the victims. This trail of sex-abuse was far reaching and wide spread there were many people who could have stepped in, but didn’t, many of them made conscious decisions to do nothing.

If race was a consideration to those who could have intervened but didn’t, then America has a huge problem, because most serial rapist and multiple molesters are white and educated, there is no coincident. As of this season Joe Paterno is the winningest coach in college football history. Over the years he has gained millions of fans, personally I thought he should have been out of the game a decade ago. Penn State had horrible football seasons, yet JoePa (as he is known) held held on, mostly because of his contempt for little known Eddie Robinson (Grambling State), who previously held football’s winningest college record. Eddie Robinson, regardless of  having the record, is viewed as an inferior coach, because he’s black.

And here on the happy valley campus of Penn State university 6,000 student rioted to save Joe Paterno’s coaching job, apparently being college educated doesn’t mean much these days. Even in the face of the Freeh Report stating that Paterno was an integral part of the the Sandusky cover-up. The freeh Report states that Joe Paterno and others made conscious decisions to assist in he cover-up of Sandusky’s behavior since 1998, because the fear of bad publicity. When Sandusky is a long-time friend of Paterno’s and in the early 200o’s sexual abuse scandals were daily being levied against the Catholic Church. When grad student told Paterno of what he witnessed Sandusky doing to a young boy in the shower, those church scandals weighed heavily on Joe Paterno and the university’s actions and the inaction by the many others thereafter. Also at the time Joe Paterno was pursuing this storied record he would allow nothing to deter him.

Paterno claims to have told the V.P., both of whom first thought to preserve not only their image and reputation, but also the image and reputation of a mega-million dollar sports giant, Penn State Football. Penn State officials state that Sandusky was told not to bring his youth camp onto university campus. But Sandusky took his act on the road and he remained a Penn State coach, by doing basically nothing his program for at-risk youth continued to flourish. Paterno, the university Vice President, the university President and others made the decision to allow more children to suffer, somewhere else besides campus. Idol worshipers can not fathom how Joe Paterno, a man who exhibited so much courage on the field demonstrated so much cowardice off of it. Eleven victims have come forward and Sandusky, The Athletic Director and Vice President of the university have been charged. Joe Paterno offered to step down at the end of the season, but the Penn State Board of Director terminated him and the University President immediately.


In order to cut through the noise and rhetoric, here is some perspective:
6,000 coaches in the U.S. have been found guilty of sexual offenses, far more have been alleged in some improper touching. I wont fool you by using cliches terms like “these men are monsters”, because as unbelievable as it sounds 60% of the perpetrators of sex abuse, child abuse and or neglect are women. 12% of your trusted psychologists have had sexual contact with their clients. You hardly think about sending your children to school, where 15% of all students have experienced some kind of sexual misconduct by a teacher between kindergarten and 12th grade. Deep down inside we know that incidence of the sexual abuse of a minor is higher among the Protestant clergy than it is among the Catholic clergy, yet we focus on Catholics because they so publicly like to tell people what to do. We also know that these incidents happen far more with public school teachers than among ministers and priests, but the media chooses to focus on the church, because of agenda. Parents do not get off the hook either, stop sleeping with trifling, no job having, good for nothing males who will leave you with two kids and bad genes, thus making your children easy prey for America’s dark underbelly.

Note: Sandusky lives by an elementary school and has been released on $1,000 bond.

This kind of abuse extends across socio-economic levels, but for the children of poor women; her family, friends and acquaintances are the largest group of perpetrators (28%), relatives such as uncles and cousins (18%), stepfathers (12%), fe/male siblings (10%), biological fathers/mothers (10%), boyfriends of the child’s mother (9%), grandfathers and stepgrandfathers (7%), and strangers (4%). These numbers mean that 86% of the perpetrators were known to the family, but were someone other than the child’s father. What we are seeing involving Penn State and other highly publicized incidents is the 4%, so what do you think is happening right under your nose, without media attention? Americans don’t really want the truth, we only want to be pitched it.

Sandusky and people like him are not monsters, they are reflections of our own unchecked immorality and humanity. America has a sickness of absolving idols from wrongs. This happens because the system we created coupled with our worship of idols, even the low level ones, is unjust and often immoral. Sandusky was an idol in Pennsylvania, Joe Paterno was an idol nationwide, clearly idol worship comes with blinders. There are many university’s that have idolized stories football programs, there is no telling what those “leaders” have been getting away with or covering up. 35 miles from Penn State at a small High School, Sandusky was allowed by school administrators to pull certain kids out of class and leave school with them. The woman who are married to these ‘monsters’ failed a moral obligation as well. Do you think this wife didn’t see the sleepovers, the pool horseplay or hear the screams? Where were the wives of these “monsters” when the children needed them. The truth is that the wives are the victims 1st line of defense. the Free Report states “Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State. The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”

When it comes to our children any and all dangers to children are things we, as parents, are supposed to see. We didn’t see them because we have sold our children to the idols of stage and screen. We have auctioned them off to the gladiators and heroes. We have mortgaged our very future for electronic images and input prompts. We have allowed bad decisions and selfishness to rule our households and We have allowed agendas and pride to cloud and ultimately change our humanity. Where were we, when these children needed help?

“Sex abuse is a problem in all of societies institutions and not just the church.”- The Pope

We have fostered a culture of unwed mother and cultivated a culture of  fatherless half-raised children. We proudly harvest children from this subculture of marginal invisible folk, a culture than can be easily manipulated, abused and pimped for profit on fields and courts. We as a society have chosen to sexualize our children, we have allowed advertisers access to our youngest and most fragile minds. We have allowed our children’s idols to be half dressed, shirtless crooners and sirens. We have warped our children’s thinking and at the same time convinced ourselves that sports and material possessions are more important than our larger social issues. We had allowed the mindscapes of children to be violated for the sake of sustaining industries we never needed. Where are the laws that prevent this? Where are the Democrats and Republicans on the matter? When will the senators and lawmakers stand up for our children instead of the corporations that line their pockets? When are we going to “Occupy” our own homes? Where is the outrage over the obvious corporate mind control that is occurring every day, every minute on every channel?  Where are the regulations to prevent radio stations from playing sexualized music? ….Where?

“The Penn State sex-abuse scandal should lead to soul-searching by all Americans, not just Penn State.”- President Barack Obama

Football is still king to Penn State, they wont shut down the program and right now people are devising ways to profit from this horrible situation. They will sell parents devices to protect children, services to investigate people, chips to implant, money will be made from books and lectures, even political careers will be made from this sex-abuse scandal. Yes, our society will pay and pay dearly, there will be profits made from all the ways that We as Parents and as a Society don’t want to look ourselves in the mirror. When the only thing we really need to pay is Attention.

On January 22, 2012 Joe Paterno died. He always feared that when football was over, his life would be too. He fought hard for his coaching career because he was literally fighting for his life, unfortunately he didn’t fight hard for these under privileged youths that were abused by his friend. On June 22, 2012 Jerry Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 counts. According to 2001 Penn State’s internal e-mails, Joe Paterno talked the athletic director and others out of turning over Sandusky to authorities.

On July 20, 2012 Penn State board of governors took down Joe Paterno’s statue from in front of the stadium

On July 21, 2012 the NCAA fined Penn State 60 Million, banned from bowl games for 4 years, reduced scholarships from 24 to 15 (40 in total), vacate all wins from 1998 to 2011, 5 years probation as well as other provisions. Monies would establish a victims fund. This was done to bring the culture of college football back in balance with social values and morals.

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Marlon Dorsey, a High School Basketball coach, was recently filmed spanking a youth for not running sprints properly. The coach said that he has spanked in the past and was disciplining this young boy, “I took in upon myself to save these young men from destruction…”. I can not pretend that I know what goes on in that area of Mississippi nor do I know what other measures have been taken before this incident that was filmed on an 8 second video and plastered all over the web.

The report is that todays children are doing worst than they were 20 years ago. You’ve heard people say “look at those kids”.You’ve seen them in the store wilding out. You’ve seen them in Jack N the Box after school raising hell. You’ve seen them stealing. You’ve see them wandering around during school time. You’ve heard them in alleys fighting. You’ve seen them swearing their mom, dads and everyone inbetewen out. You’ve seen them on the news shooting other kids. And I know that you’ve seen them in actin inside your own home, but still you say “Johnny would never do that”, “That wasn’t Sarah”. We, guess what Johnny is doing that, and it was Sarah.

A study found that spanking has a negative effect on toddlers, particularly on those from low-income households. The movie Precious, is the story of a black teen mother who survives physical and sexual abuse from her parents. While the movie strikes a chord with those who were victims of abuse in their childhood, the film also reminds us of the prevalence of beatings as a child-rearing tool in the African-American community. In a book called Black Rage Dr. William H. Grier and Dr. Price M. Cobbs attribute this to slavery:

“Beating in child-rearing actually has its psychological roots in slavery and even yet black parents will feed that, just as they have suffered beatings as children, so it is right that their children be so treated. This kind of physical subjugation of the weak forges early in the mind of the child a link with the past and, as he learns the details of history, with slavery per se.”

Adrian Peterson and Marlon Dorsey are black men, however, blacks are not the only race to use physical punishment as a form of discipline. And there is a big difference between spankings, whippings and beatings. Spanking is when you use medium force to strike the child on his/her bottom and not using any kind of device. When a parent spanks a child, it is usually when the child has done something incongruous with parental law and is used as a form of punishment. When your child is 200 lb starter on his JV football team, or selling drugs, gang banging, lighting people on fire, taking guns to school, etc… I don’t think that definition still applies do you?

While some bystanders would even like to take matters into our own hands, like this coach, but we don’t and more often than not we look the other way even when that child is ours. Children can see the fear that child protection service and law enforcement bring you. They can smell your fear of the public stares. But here is a question; if your child is doing something dangerous, would you weigh what law enforcement, or strangers might say, or do you just react? Children need parents, and they need their parents to be engaged. Often it seems that parents are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t because sometimes parental engagement results in discipline, but when is disciplining your child become abuse? Parents often fall on the don’t side, legal pressures make it safer for parents to disengage rather than engage in effective discipline of their child.

When the media jumped on Kate Gosselin for publicly spanking her daughter she responded with “Whether the paparazzi are there or not, I am a mother first, I love my children and when they misbehave, I will discipline them as i see fit”, and parents around the country have silently applauded her, she was not arrested.

Murray Straus, a professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire, says 110 studies have linked spanking to increased misbehavior in childhood as well as adult problems such as increased spousal abuse and depression. Diana Baumrind, a psychologist at the University of California-Berkeley, found that children who were spanked occasionally had no more behavior problems than children who were never spanked, but warned that regular reliance on physical punishment, as well as “impulsive and reactive spanking,” causes harm to a child. The hidden issue is that today people have no idea how to be a parent, how to love or how to discipline appropriately. Regular reliance on physical punishment, medication or time out will harm any child.

Most parents don’t have a problem disciplining children, but every parent has a huge problem with people telling them how to discipline a child. Parents are tired of people who don’t have children telling them how to raise children, and that includes local and state governments. Most parents love their children, some may be ill-equipped to handle them, but they still love them. Many Parents have lost control of their children and their households. There are some people who say a good old-fashioned butt whipping kept them on the straight and narrow, or changed their life, but there are others who say any form of spanking a child is abuse. Their is no doubt that the right discipline at the right time can do wonders to alter a child’s perspective.

I know people who have been hit with shoes, belts, whips, ironing cords, brooms, paddles and an assortment of thrown objects. I know people who where stripped naked infront of others and then spanked. I know parents who are basically held hostage by their children. I know parents who are at the end of their rope. I know parents that need a grown up spanking. I know two twin boys, one had more spankings than the other, but the child who had far fewer spankings is the one who says that he was abused.

People have said children are out of control. Child on Child violence is increasing. Many parents and educational systems have given up and have resorted to just medicating children. Through legislation, tools such as spankings have been removed from the parental toolbox, so frustrated parents have begun to medicating their children, was this done for profit? There is a direct correlation between ADHD, the rise of child care facilities and the political correctness of “Time Out”. Medicating children essentially robs them of their youth, even with all the harm it does putting your child on drugs is seriously an encouraged parenting tool, why because it effectively gives parents the peace and quiet they value so highly. Sadly doctors and pharmaceutical manufacturers all have a hand in this lucrative method of parenting, it’s an industry and a very profitable one.

Adrian Peterson spanking with switch

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was indicted for whipping his four year old son. People fall on both sides of this issues, some same it is clear abuse, others say it is not so clear. As a father Adrian Peterson was the first person to acknowledge, to his son and to the mother of his son, that he may have went far. Getting whippings was how Adrian Peterson was raised, and he is and has been a star running back in the NFL. Peterson isn’t the only person who credits this physical type of punishment with keeping them on the straight and narrow path. Are we to discount the parent’s own experience, are we to disregard the parent’s self assessment of their actions? As a society don’t we want parents that evaluate what they do as parents and regulate themselves, whether they are in error or not. I heard someone say that Adrian Peterson has so much money that he could have hired a nanny to do the spanking, is that the only way for a parent to be legally safe from the pitfalls of parenting today, is that where we are as a society?
In this case, Peterson says he went too far and that is exactly what we as a society need parents to do in regards to parenting, but should he have been indicted, arrested and suspended from the NFL? People will see photos, the video and react, they wont care about context, they wont care are anything but their own judgement. But what they can’t and refuse to see is that what we have been doing a a society isn’t working. Do we bring paddling back to schools? Do we ease the laws on parents? What to do? What to do? These are not easy questions to answer, but what I know is that We as a Nation have backed the wrong policies for far too long. Whether it is knowing the harm Alcohol, and Cigarettes cause and still allowing them to be legal, Wars that we should have never been in, Rights denied people rights or denial of Military Service due to sexual orientation. It is safe to say that Americans have come down in support of wrongness for far too long a time. What I do know is that spanking conversation is something We need to have. What I do know is that knee jerk reactionist that spawned “Time Out and Medicate” have also helped ruin a generation.

As far as coach Dorsey none of us know what was going on and I don’t know if this or any situation calls for being struck with a weight belt. And since the parents were at practice the question is do others have the right to spank your child? Should this coach have followed school policy, perhaps, but if you watch or listen to the news you know that school policy has not always worked. If the case is that a variety of discipline helps to save live, are we trying to lose lives by not including spanking? Firing this coach, arresting Adrian Peterson, or the next parent won’t make the issue of how to discipline children or not to go away.

In a poll of 100 people 75% of respondents commend this coach’s action. If someone had spanked Osama Bin Laden, AIG, Bank, Automaker execs, Wall street traders and some of these politicians maybe the world and the country wouldn’t be in such bad shape. Could spankings have prevented Columbine, Newtown, Aurora, other school shootings or the shooting near the University of California, Santa Barbara? Of course no one knows, but we all know that the individuals who committed those mass murders were not spanked and we know those kind of incidences were not occurring before these stricter child protection laws. America, isn’t it time to trying something else? What would happen we started to commend parents for disciplining their children? What would happen if NEWS outlets reported that schools were allowed to used some form of corporal punishment and it was presented as a good thing?

Parenting is not an exact science but parents and the educators need more tools, not less, because if  you can’t trust parents to discipline their children, then how can you trust then to raise them.