Tuesday, November 20, 2007

School Kids and Good Intentions

You need to raise your awareness.

Some self-righteous student in my Political Science class, who embraced the woman of color identity, actually said that to me in a class discussion. I cannot recall the topic, but that hardly matters. She saw a number of disagreements as those that should be fixed with re-education. She probably meant, "Someone should help raise your awareness for you."

This occurred on the same campus where, at this exact time of year, students camped out on the green to help understand and raise awareness of the plight of the homeless.

Even then that struck me as profoundly stupid. Now it seems even more arrogant. These are the kind of folks that may measure their level of activism and political action by the number of bumper stickers on their cars. They love to show you all their causes.

Anway, that was back in my college days at St. Thomas. This weekend, one of my priests introduced a member and local student who camped out on the church grounds with about 50 other people in a similar manner. He spoke about his experience, the homeless, and charity. Perhaps there was more to it. If there was more to it, he didn't mention it. I suspect there wasn't anything more to it... and that's the problem.

Sleeping out in a box with plastic wrap on campus or in your church parking lot doesn't really do anything. In fact, you've taken away valuable homeless-commodities... not that they will show up on the grounds of many suburban churches or on campus in a fairly good St. Paul neighborhood.

What exactly did you gain? You're in school with midterms coming up fast. If you are not going to work on school projects, papers, or prepare for tests you might just do some good working a few extra hours. Do what you want with the extra money you earn. You could buy food or clothes for the local food shelf or homeless shelter. You could donate some of that cash to your local church for Loaves and Fishes. Instead of working (for The Man) you could take a shift at the local food shelf, soup kitchen, or local church program. Other than that, you also could help other friends in school or you could see your family.

Sure, it isn't as much of an attention-getter at school. If you want to be an attention whore and claim you care about homeless folks... go rock your reel, pal. By all means, don't do anything useful. Get freezy-toes and get hungry for one night or even a couple of nights. Get a cold for a couple of days. After all you've got to help raise someone else's awareness.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

No Justice

Want to wipe the smirk off of almost anyone's face? Have him read the story about Meagan (linked in the post title).

You'll damn near cry. The problem is what to do... what can you do?

Read the story. The essentials are a 13 year old girl, a nice boy talking with her via MySpace, an eventual turn-around from the boy who then insults her and posts a number of vulgar smears, followed by the girl's suicide.

Turns out the boy wasn't a boy... it was adults, parents of one of Meagan's neighborhood friends. Meagan and the girl regularly were friends and then cold... apparently, the parents of the girl wanted to make Meagan feel as bad as their daughter had by creating a nice boy and then crushing her emotionally. Clearly they didn't make Meagan commit suicide, but they are the cause.

Meagan's parent mourn and are very frustrated... they are apparently divorcing. They can't do anything against the neighbors. Meagan's parents hope to see a state and/or federal law created to make such actions punishable.

Is that even possible? How could you prove it? I mean, clearly the parents of the other girl are jackasses, even if they wanted to protect their own daughter, but what they did was twisted in the extreme.

I just can't see how you would even begin to wrangle this legally... not without creating a huge problem.

Meagan's parents, Ron and Tina, are devastated as you can imagine. They want to make sure no one goes after the other parents as the police will immediately look to them. Maybe a prayer for Meagan and her family is in order.

Minor UPDATE: 2:10 pm, Friday November 23, 2007
The Admiral posted on this subject at Anti-Strib.

Apparently, city officials passed a law against cyber-harassment.
The penalty: A $500 fine and 90 days in jail. A misdemeanor.
Hardly the sort of punishment you would pin on folks who were the inadvertant cause of your daughter's suicide... and to where do you go from there? Isn't there already some kind of law for severe harassment on the books in some places? Wouldn't it apply to harassment via the Internet? Again, is is necessary?
We are setting a very dangerous precedent with political correctness in this country. Our rights are slowly and methodically being limited with "good intentions" being the excuse. Communism took hold by "good intentions" and we are not paying attention to history.
In the Comment section, Ed provided a link to the story as reported in the Enemy Paper. Unfortunately, his analysis in the Comment section is pretty lean.
Apparently there was no law against it, and maybe there needn't be, but what they did sure was mean.
I'm just going to take the opportunity to make the same comment I made to The Admiral... you guys are a day late and a dollar short. (Ed's comment might be two dollars short.)

Local conservative and frequent reader of the Anti-Strib (who would make a great addition to Minnesota politics as an elected official) Sue Jeffers adds:
I think MN passed a cyber bulling bill this past session of which I predict will be as effective as the ban on bullying on the playground that was passed a couple years ago.

Lots of foolish state laws become federal laws. More people should dust off their copy of the Constitution.

Unfortunately, what Sue said could apply to any number of proposed bills and laws in the world of local, state, and federal politics. (Again, with this attitude Sue would make a great contribution in the political world.)


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

BWCA Idiocy and Mayhem: Cold

Not much happening... not much will happen for some time. The story has gone colder than the comments.

It looks like Zachary Ross Barton (19), Travis John Erzar (20), and Casey James Fenske (19)...
...made their second appearance in State District Court in Lake County in Two Harbors today.

As mentioned earlier, Barney James Lakner (37... isn't that creepy?) and Jay Andrew Olson (19) are scheduled to appear in court later...
The so-called Rule 8 hearings were held in front of Judge Kenneth Sandvik, but no pleas were en-tered. Omnibus hearings are scheduled for December 3. Any trials won’t be held until next year.

That's probably all, then.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

BWCA Idiocy and Mayhem: Some Delay

Nothing yet on the Ely Six, but two have a delayed court appearance.

From Mesabi Daily News in Virginia, MN
...several of those accused in the BWCAW rampage last summer will appear again to answer to the terroristic threats charges in Sixth District Court in Two Harbors Monday.


In Two Harbors, Zachary Ross Barton, 19, Travis John Erzar, 20, and Casey James Fenske, 19, all of Ely, will appear before Judge Kenneth Sandvik at 10 a.m. Suspects Barney James Lakner, 37, and Jay Andrew Olson, 19, both of Ely, had their appearances delayed until Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. A 16-year-old boy has also been charged in the case.

Between them, the six stand charged with 79 separate counts of terroristic threats, harassment, theft and other charges after drinking and allegedly terrorizing many campers on Basswood Lake on Aug. 7. The threats by the group of six also allegedly included gunfire (with an assault rifle and a pistol), the lighting off of fireworks, alcohol consumption and lighting the water on fire with gasoline, according to the criminal complaint.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

BWCA Idiocy and Mayhem: Still to Come

Perhaps a small update on the horizon?
The next court appearance for the five adults is scheduled for Nov. 5 at 10:00 a.m.

We'll find out next week.

Courtesy: Timberjay Newspapers

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