"America is on trial," said Rev. Al Sharpton from the pulpit of Greater St Mark's Family Church in Ferguson, Missouri. At issue, the shooting death of Michael Brown, Saturday a week ago, on the main street of that city of 22,000, a neighbor community to Jennings, where this writer lived in the mid-1960s.
Brown, an 18-year-old African-American, was shot multiple times by Darren Wilson, a 28-year-old white police officer with an unblemished record in six years on the force in Jennings and Ferguson.
From his patrol car, Wilson ordered Brown out of the street where he was walking and blocking traffic. A fight followed. Wilson appears to have been punched in the face. One police report says that there was a struggle for the officer's gun.
According to Brown's companion, however, after he was first shot, he threw up his hands and yelled, "Don't shoot. I surrender." Then Wilson gunned him down.
According to one of three autopsies, Brown was shot six times, once in the top of the head, which may suggest he was charging the officer when gunned down. A second St. Louis County autopsy found marijuana in Brown's body.
What we are witnessing in Ferguson today, and nationally, is not only a collision of reported facts, but also a clash of visions about America.
In Sharpton's vision, America is a country where white racist cops harass, assault and gun down young black males, and Brown's execution is the latest outrage. Many media echo his indictment and accent the facts that support this preconceived narrative.
Disrupting this portrait and particularly outrageous to Sharpton was the release by the Ferguson police chief of a videotape of Brown stealing a $44 box of cigars, 15 minutes before he was shot dead, and manhandling and menacing the store clerk trying to stop him.
Brown was 6'4" and 292 pounds.
Sharpton contends that officer Wilson did not know of the "shoplifting" that was irrelevant to the shooting, and that release of the tape was a moral atrocity to smear the character of the dead teenager. But while that tape may be unrelated to the shooting, it does testify to the mindset of Michael Brown that morning and to his respect for the rule of law. Ought we not know that?
Then there is the rival vision of America rooted in a separate reality. It is that in America today, police, like Darren Wilson, are the first responders and last line of defense, willing to risk their lives battling the criminal elements that threaten us and our free society.
Moreover, violent crime in America — assault, murder, robbery, rape — emanates disproportionately from the black community, and especially the young male members of that community. Crime rates, conviction rates, incarceration rates all testify to this truth. If cops are more on guard when encountering black males, is it not because, given the crime statistics, they have more to fear from them?
Do not the weekly news reports from Barack Obama's hometown of Chicago, where black-on-black violence is pandemic, also testify to this? Decades ago, U.S. newspapers, which used to publish the race of both victims of crime and perpetrators, decided to stop doing so. They felt that this was the kind of news people have no need to know.
These conflicting visions are not exclusive to race. Many liberals share Sharpton's vision, while many black folks move out of home communities to escape the scourge of crime. Indeed, if Ferguson in the North County is a racist enclave, why did so many African-Americans move there from overwhelmingly black North St. Louis? And if only three of the 53 cops on the Ferguson force are black, is that due to race discrimination? The chief says he has sought to recruit blacks and asked the Justice Department for help. Is this untrue?
We are told that of six members of the Ferguson city council only one is black, while two-thirds of Ferguson's population is black. Yet, last week, we learned that the black voter turnout in local elections in Ferguson in 2013 was 6 percent.
When St. Louis County, to stop the violence and looting last week, sent cops into Ferguson with armored personnel carriers and assault rifles, they were denounced for militarizing law enforcement. "Tell them to remove the damn tanks," ordered Eric Holder. The county complied and a kinder, gentler law enforcement ensued. And the looters and rioters went on a three-night tear over the weekend forcing Gov. Jay Nixon to call out the National Guard.
Nevertheless, the violence in Ferguson is child's play compared to Watts in '65, Newark and Detroit in '67, and 100 U.S. cities including Washington, D.C., after Dr. King's assassination in '68. In those riots, great cities were gutted, dozens were killed, and thousands arrested.
Detroit never recovered. And that is the future that beckons us all if our first demand today is not for peace and order, and then for justice for Brown's family and Darren Wilson, according to the rule of law.
(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00
To The Daily Sun
Some while back Pasquaney Garden Club took another look at continuing to give a $500 scholarship to a senior member of the regional high school. As a small club it takes a lot for us to raise the money. Originally it was for the fields of horticulture or agriculture, but no one was interested in those fields. We opened it to any graduating senior. The guidance department had to practically strong-arm kids to apply. In addition we had no practical way to know that the money was actually going toward college. We decided to re-evaluate our gift giving. This year we selected the Circle Girls Club. On a lovely summer Tuesday a number of Pasquaney Garden Club members went to give the check and get a tour of the premises. By the time we were done the members who went were convinced that, boy, this was a good idea.
The Circle Girls Club is a camp for girls. The camp runs on donations, and provides a life experience, perhaps a lifeline, to the very lowest income girls. Schools, teachers,counseling agencies, doctors and others can recommend a girl as in need of Circle's help. They are all from towns between Concord and the Greater Plymouth area, making them local kids.
The rustic camp is located on Spectacle Pond. Spectacle is a lovely, clean, quiet pond in the mountains, surrounded by deep woods. The structures, lodges, cabins etc,. are simply built, sturdy and attractive. Grades 5 and 6 come for three weeks, 7, 8 and 9 for two and a half weeks, high-schoolers for one week. For many it is an introduction to the idea of the stewardship of the land. They have all the normal camp activities, swimming, boating, etc., but with a real difference. During her stay each girl is matched with a volunteer woman mentor. They will see the mentor each month after the camp ends and the girls are usually expected to come back the next year.
Although many of the post-first-year group are returnees, they still enroll new girls each year. This year there were 21 new girls in the first session. As the girls return to the camp they can assume responsibilities there. Even some of the graduates have returned as counselors during their college years. Understand that this is largely not an area that abounds in opportunities for personal advancement, and these kids have no resources. Circle Girls Club teach the girls that they can achieve worthwhile things. No, there are no make-believe achievements. I was happy to hear that they are part of the STEM program — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Women successful in those fields come and talk to the girls and to work with them.
Example: They got a grant for solar power. A group of 15 girls in grades 9, 10, and 11, studied solar energy, taking day classes on Saturdays at a college for three or four Saturdays, plus other solar studies. Lastly, under the direction of a certified solar installer, the girls wired the cabins with the solar panels. Do those girls feel that they really did something? You bet they do. And they did! The cabins had no power before that. Now, even when the grid fails, they do have power.
It has become an asset in learning decision-making as well. There is a wall display of the power in the battery. When the power goes off the girls in each cabin have to decide how much and how they will use the battery power. A number of Circle Girls graduates are in college. At least one in camp is planning a career as an electrician. Others are looking at engineering. Yes, the girls are learning skills. In addition to the usual things taught in camp, they are introduced to those that are still not normally taught to girls.
Another example: They learned the use of power tools to build barn board furniture which will raise money at an auction. Obviously Circle Girls Club values education, but these girls are receiving a broad education that will give them options. College is one. Other options may require time, study and effort as in the skilled trades apprenticeships, but they will provide jobs that can earn good money. Even more importantly, get them out of the dependency route. A woman who can earn a good living has a lot better chance at a good life. All of these girls will have been given a good strong base. They know that they have abilities. They have value. They can set and achieve their goals. We were wishing we had more to give the program. They've got a really good idea.
Cat White, Member
Pasquaney Garden Club
Last Updated on Monday, 18 August 2014 09:25
To The Daily Sun,
The Wicwas Lake Grange would like to express its gratitude and thanks to all of our supporters for their continuous support for upcoming Cross Roads event being held on Saturday, Aug. 23, from 5:30 to 10 p.m. at the Wicwas Lake Grange on Meredith Center Rd in Meredith. The proceeds go toward the continuous renovations to the historical Grange Hall. Their support goes a long way in renovating and maintaining the Grange Hall.
Those supporters include Ambrose Bros of Meredith, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Louis Pizza of Meredith, Rossi's Restaurant of New Hampton, Moulton's Farm of Meredith, Meredith Center Store in Meredith Center, Brandli's Pizza of North Conway, Lamprey Septic of Moultonborough, Amerigas of Laconia.
For information on the event please visit the Wicwas Lake Grange 292 on Facebook.
Helga Paquin, Secretary
Wicwas Lake Grange
Last Updated on Monday, 18 August 2014 09:20
To The Daily Sun,
Michael Bloomer's letter of Saturday, Aug. 2, suggests he is a thoughtful young man. So Michael should do some critical thinking, considering results not promises, and facts and viewpoints typically ignored by schools and the main-stream-media.
First, the claim that there is a Republican "habit of denying funding for higher education..." is a lie promoted by Democrats and their supporters. In order to minimize taxes and student costs, Republicans fight for efficiencies, for elimination of waste and abuse, and against excessive subsidies that increase student costs.
Second, if government money actually reduced higher education costs, why are their costs so high? Our governments spend billions of dollars annually to support higher education. The fact is that government money (e.g., grants, scholarships, loans) supports higher, not lower, higher education costs.
Without government money, higher education providers (generically "colleges) would be forced to make the changes needed to offer educations at affordable prices or go out of business. There are many obvious ways to cut costs without harming student educations if government money didn't support wasteful practices, e.g., low utilization of professors and space, low value classes (e.g., UC Professor Mireille Miller-Young's classes on pornography and queer studies), excessive administrators, excessive salaries, benefits, and bonuses (some university presidents are paid over $1 million), etc.
Third, college costs are high because progressive politicians benefit from them being high. High college costs enable progressive politicians to claim benevolence while transferring wealth from hard working Americans to a key progressive special interest. With big incomes colleges provide cushy jobs to leftists (progressives, socialists, communists, etc.) who indoctrinate students with their anti-American ideologies, increase staff and compensation, wastefully expand facilities, and provide political support to the progressive politicians who subsidize them.
Easy college loan money encourages some students to make poor choices related to higher education, leading to drop-outs, low-value degrees, and college debt problems.
Before the easy availability of government money which supported the great increase in college costs, students who were not from rich families, like my father (pre-GI Bill), my friends, my brothers, and me were able to work and pay substantial portions or all of our college costs.
Fourth, President Obama wants more people to attend college. Is this to help young people or to help President Obama and his political supporters in colleges and universities?
Almost one in 10 recent college graduates is unemployed in President Obama's economy. More than 40 percent of recent graduates don't get jobs that require a college degree or pay wages commensurate with their education level. About 15 percent can only get jobs that don't even require a high school degree. Almost half of the people who start college don't graduate within six years (drop-outs don't get jobs that require a degree). And, even before President Obama's push to get more college attendees, his Labor Department reported that in 2010 more unemployed people had attended college than hadn't attended college.
The average recent graduate has about $30,000 in college debt which will take years to repay while young people struggle with many other expenses (about one-fourth of the loans are in default). (The Obamas finally repaid their school debt in their 40s despite having a family income over $200,000).
Having more less-qualified students attending college, who postpone starting their careers, taking on college debt, perhaps dropping out, or graduating without a good job will harm far more students than it helps. President Obama wants more college students because that would benefit his political supporters and his political goals.
Fifth, considering the high cost of a higher education and the fact that a college degree no longer guarantees a good job, students need to carefully consider their options for after high school. Fortunately, there are good options that lead to successful futures. Inexpensive online educations and degree programs provide an affordable alternative to a traditional high priced college; people can attend full-time, part-time while working, or just take classes occasionally to meet specific desires.
Many jobs that don't require a college degree can provide good incomes, e.g., plumbing, electrician, mechanic, appliance repair, heating and cooling, carpentry, and computer repair. Tech savvy young people can write programs, teach classes, install software and hardware, fix problems, etc. Many will become even more successful by building their own businesses and creating jobs for others.
Postponing, or skipping, college to get work experience, to learn what they are good at and enjoy doing, and to mature, may be a better option for students who would drop out or graduate with a relatively worthless degree and college loan debt.
Sixth, progressive propaganda, including President Obama's, claims that progressives take from the rich to help everyone else, but the results tell a different story. Under President Obama the rich keep getting richer, perhaps this is why they attend his $35,000 a plate fund raisers, while the number of poor people increase and the wealth and incomes of the middle class declines.
I accept Michael's description of success as being able to earn a higher income, pay higher taxes, and contribute to society. These imply that successful people are self-supporting, law abiding, and responsible for personal and family obligations.
The fact is that Senator Cataldo, Tony Boutin, myself, and everyone believing in traditional Republican principles wants Michael, Gabe, every other student, and every other American to be successful as Michael defines success, and we pursue tried and true policies that lead to people being successful.
Republicans have no incentive for wanting people to be unsuccessful. Unsuccessful people don't benefit us or anyone, they increase everyone's cost of living, and they too often react to their unhappiness by hurting people.
Most unsuccessful people vote for Democrats which may explain why Democrats continue, even after decades of failing results, their "progressive" policies that make so many people unsuccessful, e.g., by locking children in failing schools, by flooding the labor market with illegal aliens, by enticing people into debt, by trapping people in welfare, and by killing good jobs.
Reality is far different than the promises and the one-sided picture that people get from politicians, the main-stream-media and what most students get in school. Once people get past the (false) compassionate justification claimed for progressive policies, it is obvious that progressive policies, like the Trojan Horse, provide, at best, a brief benefit followed by long-term pain.
Best wishes to Michael, Gabe, and everyone.
Last Updated on Monday, 18 August 2014 07:32
To The Daily Sun,
In the year 2012 the state Legislature passed legislation allowing veterans to have their status indicated on their drivers license, thus providing us with a photo I.D. proving our service to our country. A veteran's photo I.D. is something that major stores always require before they will provide a veterans' discount.
Unfortunately Home Depot and Lowe's will not accept the new license with honorable veterans status noted on the card for an everyday veteran's discount at their stores. They only accept active, retired, reserve I.D.s and cards issued to veterans who have filed a medical claim against the V.A.
So what about all the other veterans who served but do not meet the stores criteria, the answer is, sorry no discount without the required documentation! Our New Hampshire drivers license is not acceptable!
We and the State of New Hampshire should boycott both of these stores until they change their discriminatory policy!
What do you think?
Last Updated on Monday, 18 August 2014 07:28