Death is Serious!

Nearly every morning I have a rather lengthy 1/2 hr- 1 hr beginning of day event (whatever time that happens to be) in which I introduce the world to myself.  This usually involves  Facebook, My blog, couple of dating sites, etc… You get the routine.  I seldom read news articles then.  I will read some throughout the day if it hits my fancy.  The Olympics is normally the exception as I try to keep up a bit through the clips and such.

Today, I got a very late start.  As my computer was coming up, it (Windows 8.1) gives me that header page summarizing things.  I seldom pay much attention, but this time a news title stuck in my head and got my attention.  I have lost/forgotten the exact title, but it dealt with a court in Texas halting the execution of a man who did not commit a murder.  The article is below.  Read as much or little as you wish:


The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday halted an execution planned for next week of a man convicted as an accomplice to a murder he did not commit in a case that raised questions about how the state applies the death penalty.

Jeffery Wood, 43, was scheduled to be executed on Aug. 24 by lethal injection. He was convicted of taking part in a 1996 convenience store robbery during which clerk Kriss Keeran was fatally shot.

In its decision, the appeals court asked a lower court to review his sentence and claims from Wood’s lawyer that it was obtained in violation of due process because it was based on false testimony and false scientific evidence.

Wood’s lawyer questioned a witness for the prosecution, forensic psychiatrist Dr. James Grigson, who told a court in the 1990s Wood would commit future acts of violence and was a threat to society.

Grigson, nicknamed “Dr. Death” for his willingness to testify against people facing the death penalty, was expelled from the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians and the American Psychiatric Association for ethical violations: making diagnoses of capital murder defendants without first examining them.

“The court did the right thing by staying Mr. Wood’s execution and authorizing his claims related to Dr. Grigson’s false testimony during the sentencing phase to be considered on the merits,” said Jared Tyler, Wood’s lawyer.

Wood was unarmed in a vehicle outside the store when it was robbed. Prosecutors have said Wood knew the clerk might be shot. Wood’s lawyers said he was unaware that a robbery was underway.

Wood’s roommate at the time, Daniel Reneau, was convicted of pulling the trigger and executed on June 13, 2002.

“I am not aware of a case where a person has been executed with so minimal culpability and with such little participation in the event,” Tyler said in an interview.

Under Texas’ “Law of Parties,” a person can be charged with capital murder even if the offense is committed by someone else.

After he heard a shot, Wood entered the store to help Reneau steal a cash box, safe and security video system.

Ten people have been executed as accessories to felony murder since the United States reinstated the death penalty in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which monitors capital punishment.

Five have been in Texas, which has executed more people than any state since the death penalty was reinstated. (Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by David Gregorio)


Here’s the thing:  I do not see how you can execute someone who really did not have a part in the murder of someone.  I suppose I understand if someone gave the order or forced a person to kill someone else, but that didn’t happen here.

Now, I am, basically, against the death penalty.  I am fine with life imprisonment without possibility of parole.  People get mad at me by telling me how much money we spend imprisoning someone for life.  Or, they say, what if it was one of your children, your sister, or your Mom who was murdered?

I have thought this one through.  I don’t care about the money.  I mean, we have a government owing over 17 trillion dollars and could cut that by stopping a lot of programs or changing the ways they do business.  They don’t and, most likely, won’t.  So even if it’s 20 billion a year or even more, it’s a drop that shouldn’t consider being stopped until they change all the other crap they are doing.

Second, I consider life sacred.  No, I don’t worry much about bugs or even plants (perhaps, I should – some of them seem nicer than a lot of people I know), but people are different.  People scream to stop all the killing in Africa or in wars in other countries; they scream about “wrongful” killing of animals, wild/tame in the world; they scream about abortions being legal at all.  These are all screamed about, but the killing of someone who killed someone else kinda goes by the wayside.  It’s an opinion.  My hope is that, if my close family member was murdered and they caught the person red-handed, that I would be able to ask the court to not impose the death penalty, but go for life w/o parole.  Killing them wouldn’t bring back the person I love, and it wouldn’t make me feel “better”.  I don’t consider avenged as necessarily better.

I know, all just my opinion.  And why should you listen to my opinion?  Well, ask this:  if you drove your friend to a store to pick up bread and he/she robbed the store and killed someone and YOU were arrested (in Texas) and convicted and sentenced to execution, wouldn’t you be glad if that wasn’t a possibility?  I mean life in prison is murder (pun intended), but still you might get out someday if the law changes.  You can’t take back an execution.  Just a thought.

How do you feel about all of it?  Let me have it.  I have broad shoulders and a lot of my close friends and family would, most likely, shake their heads at me here and call me “nuts”.

Namaste,

Scott

If it’s not one thing – Well, it is usually more things.

Long week.  Dad passed on the 25th of July.  His birthday was yesterday (Tuesday).  Sis had her cancer surgery Monday.  She is doing well, miserable, but well.  Me?  I went to the Doctor’s this morning with a stuffy head, drainage, body aches, no fever, and a bad raspy cough.

The doctor kinda looked at me and said, “Stress.”  I didn’t think about that.  I am under so little stress since my stroke and I have such a different outlook on life that I forget stress can still get to me.  So, I am sick – I am stressed.  Okay, I will get better – am getting better.

I used to play a card game called “Magic the Gathering” (ooh and aah).  Well, I played and I shared it with my students and met with a group of them after school once a week.  We had fun and they learned to play nicely together.  I collected the cards and gave them or traded them to the students as a reward for behavior or whatever.  We all enjoyed the time.   Of course, that buying of cards to sell meant buying bulk cards at a good rate.  I now do not play, so I have been trying to sell the lot of them (or most, I still want to maybe play).  Well, I found someone to buy them and we are meeting later this week.  The final sell count was just over 49,000 cards…YES, I wrote that right… over forty-nine thousand cards!  I am pleased to be selling them and I am pleased to have them out of my house.  I kept several hundred for myself, but that’s a small amount that won’t take up a lot of room.  However, getting them out and separated and counted…wow!  I am tired and still sick…But, it is done.

So, tired, sick, and somewhat happy, plus glad Sis is fine.  I guess I will call it a day.  DAY!

Namaste,

Scott

An End to an Era

As I write this, Dad has been laid to rest for about 36 hours.  It seems so much longer since just yesterday morning when the funeral was happening.  There was a wonderful turnout, around 40 people.  Many were friends, more of Sis or me than of Dad’s, but they came to honor him.  All things went well.  I was a pallbearer, only once feeling like my balance was going.  I decided I WAS going to help carry that casket, so I did.

Since the service, Mom and Sis have kept busy. I don’t fully know how all this is affecting them.  What I do know is how it is affecting me.  I have been worn out and a bit depressed since the service ended.  I have slept quite a bit, though not necessarily too long.  I got in about 7 hours last night and a 4 hour nap today.  I didn’t sleep well, so it wasn’t 11 hours of sleep or rest.  The headache is mostly gone and I have been able to keep active and work, mostly on my computer.  I haven’t left the house today, but that’s not really abnormal either.

My abnormal feelings have come in the form of being restless and yet not wanting to go anywhere either. Dad and I had a usual relationship, I guess.  We didn’t get along well when I was young.  He was working a lot and trying to write a book or something to get ahead.  I saw it as he didn’t want to spend time with me.  I got to know Mom better and didn’t really enjoy him being home.

We disagreed a lot while I grew up, but I didn’t always say anything; after all, I was passive.  My first divorce was a huge mess and he was very angry with me for leaving my family.  He understood later, but it was tense for awhile.

After my stroke, things were really different.  I was no longer quiet or passive and spoke out more.  I never really knew if he preferred it that way or not, but we seemed to get along better.  I visited 4-5 days a week when he was in the nursing home.  I wanted him to have company and do things, so he didn’t become very depressive and give up.  We played about 15 games of chess a week.  He almost always insisted I play white, so I always made the same 1st move P-K4 (I know that’s not the way you write it now, but too bad).  He won several; I won about 80-85%, I suppose.

What I know is that, even though we didn’t get along for a lot of our lives, I loved him and he loved me.  We didn’t always show it well, but still, we knew.  At the end, we said it a lot.  I am happy for those times.  Otherwise, I might never have really known my Dad.

Love you, Dad, and miss you.

Namaste,

Scott

A Sad Start to the Day – Monday July 25, 2016

I was playing my video game, Fallout 4, around 1:30AM and my phone rang.  Sis, very sad and upset, called to tell me that Dad had passed away at the hospital.  He was there to have his heart checked following some pain.  The stress test had told them his heart was working at about 80%, pretty good.  We had visited Sunday afternoon and had all gone home.  He was talking to Mom on the phone and had to hang up because his shoulder hurt.  He began having pains in his groin.  The doctor called for a scan of the area, then left, telling them to call when the scan had completed and was ready.  Dad coded about 15 minutes later and his heart stopped.  They were unable to revive him.

Mom is hurting badly.  She misses him very much.  The nursing home tells me they will miss him as well.  He was well-liked.  He told jokes constantly, pulled little pranks, and was in the process of finishing up a book he was authoring on the computer – a western tale.  I have promised myself I will finish it, edit it, then publish it on Kindle.

I don’t know how I feel just yet.  I know that can take time.  I haven’t cried yet – that will come at some point; I know that.  We played about 15 games of chess a week.  I had noticed he was having more and more problems playing, but he still didn’t lose them all.

He was a good father.  He and I had our times throughout my life – that is pretty normal for father/son, I am told.  At the end, we loved each other and got along well.  I am happy to have visited him so much at the nursing home.

Life will be so different now; I just don’t know how it will be.

Everyone says it; I will too:   “Love your parents – you just never know…”

Namaste,

Scott

Let’s Play Euchre…I Call Trump!

Well, it’s done now.  Donald Trump is the GOP candidate.  He is the official nominee.  People, like it or not ( I do! ), Donald’s here for the show.  Now, I got an email the other day.  I would like to copy the body below.  Now, I know it’s one of “those” that we normally toss aside.  However, here, perhaps, we should read.  It’s a different perspective that may give some of you the hope you need for the upcoming battle…and, it will be a battle.

THIS NAILS IT ON THE HEAD
A Message For Christians About Donald Trump
Wayne Allyn Root
(Wayne Allyn Root is a Libertarian-Republican, a TV celebrity,
producer, author, CEO, politician, and a born again Christian.)
Jun 24, 2016

I am a Jew turned evangelical Christian. I am also a passionate
supporter of Donald Trump.
I have a message for Christians who don’t like Donald Trump:“YOU’RE
MISSING THE BOAT.”
Christians have Trump all wrong. God sends messages in many forms.
You’re just not listening. God is talking, but you’re eyes and ears
are closed.
Here’s a famous joke about God and how he talks to us.
“A deeply faithful Christian man is stuck on roof of home with massive
flooding up to 2nd floor. Rowboat comes. He says
“No, I’m waiting for God. I’ve prayed and I know he’s coming.”
2ndrowboat. “No, I’m waiting for God.” 3rd rowboat. “No, I’m waiting
for God.”  Water rises. The man drowns. Now he’s meeting God in
heaven.
The religious man says “Where were you God? I prayed. I was faithful.
I asked you to save me. Why would you abandon me?”  God says, “Hey
dummy, I sent you 3 rowboats. Are you blind?”
Did you ever consider Trump is our rowboat?
Maybe God is trying to tell us something important- that now is not
the time for a “nice Christian guy” or a “gentleman” or a typical
Republican powder puff. Maybe now is the time for a natural born
killer, a ruthless fighter, a warrior.
Because right about now we need a miracle, or America is finished.
Maybe the rules of gentleman don’t apply here. Maybe a gentleman and
“all-around nice Christian” would lead us to slaughter.
Or do you want another Mitt Romney, Bob Dole, John McCain, Gerald Ford
or Paul Ryan? Did any of them win? Did they lead the GOP to “the
promised land?” Did they change the direction of America? No, because
if you don’t win, you have no say.
Paul Ryan couldn’t even deliver his own state, Wisconsin!
And as leader of the House, Paul Ryan rolls over to Obama like my dog
rolls over for a scrap of food, or a steak bone. He’s a useful idiot.
Nice, but obedient. I mean Paul Ryan…not my dog. My dog is actually a
pretty good defender and loyal.
Maybe God is knocking on your door so loud, but you’re not listening.
Maybe God understands we need a “war leader” at this moment in time.
Maybe God understands if we don’t win this election, America is dead.
It’s over. The greatest nation in world history will be gone.
Finished. Kaput. Adios.
And with one last breath, maybe what we need to save us at the last
second, is someone different. Someone you haven’t ever experienced
before- because you weren’t raised in rough and tumble New York where
nothing good gets accomplished unless you’re combative, aggressive,
outrageous, on offense at all times, and maybe just a tad arrogant
too.
Someone with a personality you’ve never seen on stage at your church.
Maybe, just maybe, being a nice gentlemanly Christian would not beat
Hillary, and her billion dollars, and her best friends in the media
who will unleash the dogs of hell upon the GOP nominee.
I guess you think God is only nice and gentlemanly.Really? Then you’ve
missed the whole point of the Bible. When necessary God is a pretty
tough guy. When necessary, God strikes with pain, death and
destruction. When necessary, God inflicts vengeance.
Maybe you think God couldn’t possibly be associated with someone like
Trump. Trump is too vicious, rude and crude. When we won WWII, was God
“nice?” Were we gentlemanly when defeating Hitler? Were we gentlemanly
when firebombing Germany? Were we gentlemanly when dropping atomic
bombs on Japan? Is God ever “nice” on the battlefield? Or does he send
us vicious SOB’s like General George S. Patton, so the good guys can
defeat evil?
It’s pretty clear to me God sends unique people to be “war leaders.”
That’s a different role than a pastor or church leader. God
understands that.
Maybe God purposely sent Trump instead of the nice Republican powder
puffs like Paul Ryan, or Mitt Romney, or John Kasich because he wants
us to win.
And maybe it’s time to re-define “nice.” Maybe Mitt Romney and Paul
Ryan aren’t nice at all- because they led us to defeat. And losing
again would mean the end of America. And God can’t allow that.
Maybe Romney and Ryan mean well, but the road to hell is paved with
good intentions.
Or maybe they’re just jealous they had their chance and blew it. Maybe
they’d rather help elect Hillary than allow a Trump victory that would
make them look weak, feckless and incompetent.
I was reading the Bible this morning and I found the perfect verse
that explains the success of Donald Trump…
“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall
utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their
strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run
and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31)
It’s almost like God created this verse for Donald Trump and this
moment in history.
Trump is our energy. More energy than any candidate EVER. He took on
the 16 best candidates in GOP history…all younger than him…all
with better political credentials…and destroyed them with his
energy. You mean that kind of energy in a 70-year old isn’t inspired
by God?
Trump renews our strength. Or does the all-time record turnout and
all-time record votes for a GOP presidential primary candidate not
define “strength?”
With Trump we mount up with wings like eagles. With Trump as our
leader there is nothing we can’t do. Any man that can build
skyscrapers in Manhattan and vanquish 16 presidential opponents, while
spending almost nothing…can lead us to the heights of eagles.
With Trump we run, we are not weary. Just when we get tired of the
fight against Obama, Hillary, big government, big business, big media,
big unions…just when it all seems impossible to overcome the
powerful forces of evil… along comes Trump to re-energize us.
Trump inspires us. Trump gives us hope. Trump gives us confidence in
victory. Trump gives us just a touch of arrogance. Maybe God
understands that’s exactly what we need right at this late stage to
save America.
God is about miracles. We don’t need a “nice guy” or a “gentleman”
right now. It’s the 4th quarter and we’re losing 14-0. We need a
miracle.
So let me repeat my message to Christians:“YOU’RE MISSING THE BOAT.”
I believe Trump is our miracle. I believe Trump is our rowboat.
Except he’s more like a battleship!
No one is saying Trump is perfect. No one is saying Trump is a perfect
conservative. But he is a patriot. He is a warrior. He is a
capitalist. He is the right man, at the right time.
Yes, he’s a bit rude and crude and offensive. But that may make him
the perfect warrior to save America, American exceptionalism,
capitalism and Judeo – Christian values.
The choice should be easy for Christians. It’s Trump…or it’s the end
of the America.

*No, I am not going to say anything more, except – listen to that small voice in your soul that often speaks and we ignore it.  See if it tells you there may be a bit more to the email message than you might have thought.  It helped me.  I needed some strengthening.  I am voting for Trump, but now I feel even better.
Namaste,
Scott
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