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

New Orleans’ former defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams has been suspended indefinitely, for running a program that paid New Orlean Saint football players bonuses for inflicting injuries on opposing players that forced them to leave games. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has disciplined the New Orleans Saints management and coaches  for violations of the NFL’s long-standing “bounty” rule, also suspended is Linebacker Scott Fujita for the three games. Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove for first eight games. Defensive End Will Smith for four games and Linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012 season, effective immediately.

The coaches, management and player have all been suspended, however, one has escaped punishment by the NFL… ESPN. Why wasn’t ESPN sanctioned? How does a defensive player in the NFL get a Sport Center highlight? By taking someone out, by hitting someone hard. Those highlights mean notoriety, which means more money. A defensive player in an offensive minded league is compelled by ESPN to take out a player, to be violent with not only the opponent, but themselves as well. This is the real bounty gate.

This is the real bounty-gate, they don’t want to talk about. It’s the hits that keeps the money rolling in, after all Sport Center and the NFL do not reward soft tackles. Aren’t we fans, commentators, commissioners being hypocritical here. Don’t we want the violence. Don’t we need the blood and guts. Don’t we want the highlights. Aren’t we as a society pushing more and more still developing 7 and 8 year old ‘s into full contact football. Is it wrong to target players, I was always told hit them fast and hit them hard. These “bounty” hits did not happened outside of football, which is why no excessive penalties were called by referees at the time, so apparently the hits were normal and legal football hits. Herman Edwards said “knocking players out is apart of football so long as you don’t receive money for it”, well don’t players get a contract or an extension based on their performance, which includes knocking opposing players out? So the NFL contract itself is a bounty.  The hits weren’t above the shoulders either, so what is really going on here.

Is offering your Defensive Back a high end meal for forcing fumbles a bounty. Is a Quarterback Back giving the Offensive Line Movado watches for crushing the opponent’s Defensive Line a bounty. Isn’t the NFL marketing highlight films by calling them “bone-crushing”, “hits” or “blows”.  Regardless of how Goodell tries to spin it “Bounties” are all too common in the NFL and have been. What makes 2012 so different? Probably the 1801 ex-NFL player lawsuits on untimely deaths, suicides, brain damage, concussions and touch football rules for player safety, that’s just a guess.When two men running at thirty miles an hour collide intentionally with one another there will be negative consequences, helmet and pads or not.  Americans love the NFL, we love our weekly violence, as evidenced by all the eight year-olds in full contact football game, and we have overlooked the social consequences of celebrating a violent sport, the NFL is #1 in American households by far.

Bounty-gate extend past the coaches, player and media, it extends to all of us.

On 9-7-2012 : An appeals panel Friday overturned the NFL’s suspensions of four players in the bounty case involving the New Orleans Saints.

On 12-11,2012: Paul Tagliabue lifts all player suspensions, but not the suspensions for coaches.

 

MG Hardie

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.

Join my fan page MG Hardie

 
 
5.0 out of 5 stars AAMBC Book Reviews

Everyday Life is just what the title says. It touches on so many issues about life that you get lost in the discussions. Hardie is hard core when it comes to telling it like it is. Not only does he speak from the African American point of view, he makes sure he tells it how we see it. Each page is filled with truth, passion, and reality. The characters are more then relatable, you know someone just like them. Reading Everyday Life was not only a fresh breath of air; it felt good to have a new voice for our people. From politics, relationships, education, the hood, to the nature of our world were all expressed in depth. You will praise these characters; you will laugh at them, relate to them, and wish you were in the book just to say your two cents. M G Hardie is a talent within it self. I strongly encourage you to get EveryDay Life, take in the message and embrace it. It is a must read. Mr. Hardie you get five stars from AAMBC.

Tamika Newhouse
AAMBC Reviewer