Thursday, March 31, 2005

An Unwilling Media Darling

I think the big problem I have with this whole sad story is the way she was allowed to die. I fully support ending somebody's suffering. If I end up like her I don't want feeding tubes, ventilators etc... I want to be put out of my (and my family's) misery.

The part I have a problem with is that there are no euthanasia laws on this continent to help bring a dignified end to suffering people. In the Netherlands Terry Schiavo would have been euthanized in a humane, caring environment by a doctor who was acting according to her wishes. No, here and in the States you are left to starve to death. I don't care if you are in a vegetative state, starving to death would be a miserable, painful way to die. As one of my sage friends pointed out to me, if this were a dog being starved to death all hell would be breaking loose.

The people surrounding this tragic case should all be ashamed of themselves.

Her husband and parents should be strung up for parading her and her story in front of the media spotlight. How much more dignity would she have had, had she been allowed to pass without the world watching her wither and die.

Every politician that spoke out during this outrageous circus should be ashamed for their blatant grandstanding. If there is any justice, they'll all be hammered at re-election by an outraged public. Perhaps this will break through our jaded cynicism.

And finally, you should be ashamed. If you watched this unfold with the same attention paid to say, the 9/11 tragedy, shame on you. It's viewership that keeps this and stories like it afloat. If you didn't watch, they wouldn't play it ad nauseum on the news.

Unfair criticism? I don't really care. This poor woman got dragged through the mud and everybody got something out of it in the end. CNN and Fox got ratings, politicians got air time, the families prostituted for sympathy and you watched it all unfold.

Everybody benefited except Terry Schaivo, who in the end died on camera instead of in private.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Gender Bent?

"No pink, frilly, fuss-ass, tafeta, silky, puffy crap will ever be draped around my daughter!"

I believe this was the exact statement I made to my mother a month before our daughter was born.

Today... well there's nothing fuss-ass, tafeta, silky or puffy in her wardrobe. But... Man oh man does this kid have pink. And purple. And pale blue. And in the case of her new spring jacket, all three colours.

Ah well, she looks cute in pink so I guess we'll let her live with that stereotype. I do get a kick out of the fac that she's rather have her big-brother's trucks to play with than the dolly we got her for Christmas. That's ok though, the big-brother likes the doll. Who can tell what goes through the mind of a three-year-old.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Guns Guns Guns

You may remember this post made the day after a little girl was shot in the head on a Toronto bus. To paraphrase... I'm beyond wanting a gun registry. I've been convinced that registering guns is not the answer to curbing gun violence. I fully believe that guns should be removed from the population at large - UNLESS YOU CAN PROVE YOU NEED ONE.

This shooting in Mayerthorpe Alberta proves that guns should be more tightly controlled than ever. What more proof do you need? Four dead Mounties in March, a critically injured little girl in November etc etc etc...

Since we started controlling gun ownership the incidences of gun violence and gun death has dropped.

However, Dr Mauser would have you believe that guns make us safer.

In some of the most convoluted logic and data manipulation I've witnessed, Gary Mauser claims that taking guns away from people wouldn't decrease the violent crime rate, the violent death rate or the spousal murder rate. His theory is that these crimes will happen anyways.

So, by that logic, people will kill so why not give them a gun? Is that what Dr. Mauser is saying? He actually had the nerve to claim on the CBC this morning, that the officers in Mayerthorpe could have just as easily been killed by a bomb, knife or poison. That Dr. Mauser is obscene. These officers were killed from a distance by a high-powered rifle held by a man who hated police. To suggest that these officers could have been poisoned or knifed to death is absurd.

Guns are easy. Guns make killing easy(er). If you're going to set out to kill someone with a gun you have a pretty good chance of succeeding. Attack someone with a knife and there's probably a pretty good chance they'll either survive or fight you off. To suggest as Dr. Mauser did this morning, that someone who doesn't have access to a gun will resort to poison or a bomb is ridiculous. Every other method of killing takes practice and planning. Honestly who, in the general public, is going to learn how to build a bomb or figured out the chemistry of poison in order to harm their spouse, hold up a bank or wreak some random street violence? Very few.

The reason we have gun violence is that guns are easy to get and easy to use. Other methods of killing simply take too much time, effort and pre-planning.

Take away the guns and you'll greatly reduce the gun crime. It's only logical.

And, Dr. Mauser, you should be reminded that in Canada, we do not have a constitutional right to bear arms.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

How Can a Car Wreck Be A Good Thing?

The CBC jumped on the bandwagon this morning. Which one? The "Hey, it looks like George W Bush was right. Democracy is breaking out all over." bandwagon.

At least the CBC is asking it as a question ie/ "Was George Bush right?"

Let me tell you, completely and unequivocally, no he was not right. If we accept that Dubya got it right and he was justified invading Iraq because of the recent elections and the wave of democracy breaking out in Iraq, Lebanon and possibly Egypt, then what we are saying is that the ends justify the means.

Democracy in the Middle East at this point, is a happy accident. Israel and the Palestinians can take full credit for their recent attempts at creating a stable democratic Palestinian authority. As for the rest of the region, the domino effect from Iraq is probably a good thing but, don't fool yourself into thinking that George Walker Bush & Co are political geniuses.

Colin Powell did not stand in front of the UN General Assembly and make the case for war in Iraq on the grounds of bringing democracy to a beleaguered populace. No, he stood in front of the UN and stated that the US had satellite evidence that Iraq possessed and was ready to use WMD's against the US and Iraq's neighbours. 3/4 of the world kind of shrugged and said "whatever" and off the US went. Bombing cafes, killing innocent people, sifting through sand and needlessly killing their own troops. Every other civilized nation in the world excluding Spain and England turned their backs on the "coalition of the willing" knowing full well that WMD's would never be found.

So, the Americans get to Iraq, find nothing in the desert except sand, sand, more sand and a couple of mobile power generators that maybe could have been used to provide power to a biological weapons lab, if they were in working order. Which they weren't; hadn't been for probably five years.

Needing another excuse they pull out al Queda (again) and go looking for ties between Saddam and Iraq. They didn't find any because the Middle East ties to al Queda all lead to the Saudis.

So, no WMD's, no ties to al Queda. What's next? Hmmmm let's get Saddam. Granted this was probably on the top of the list in the first place. Daddy Bush couldn't get him so Junior went in to save the day. Had this been the stated goal in the first place, we all probably would have gone along with it. However, the White House got all excited about WMDs and terrorists etc...

They got Saddam!!! Great. They had to drop a 2000 lb bomb on a cafe to get him - they missed him but killed a building full of people - but hey, finally they got him.

Shit. Into the void surges a fractured group of insurgents looking to totally disrupt the invasion, daily life in Iraq and grab power. What does the US do?...

PAUL BREMMER TO THE RESCUE. He's going to create democracy in Iraq. Which he does. Kind of. In the immortal words of Donald Rumsfeld "Well, it won't be a perfect election. But what election is ever perfect?" Oh the irony... Hey Donald, remember 2000 and Florida. You're right, who needs perfect elections.

Today, Iraq has a democratic government that is made up of predominantly Shiite Muslims and Kurds. "But trust us, we won't abuse our power and seek retribution." Sure. Just as I'm sure the US will turn a blind eye to it when it begins.

Democratic Iraq? it's probably a good thing in the long run. Yes, democracy will probably spread through the region. Look for hold outs in Syria and Lybia because their dictators are simply too string. As for the Monarchies... Oman, the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, etc... don't count on democracy there any time soon. There's no way the ruling families will give up the power that comes from oil revenues. Democracy in Iran? Maybe. If the US brings it to them at the barrel of a gun like they did in Iraq.

The seed has been planted for a limited section of the Middle East. But, do not give credit where credit isn't due. A democratic happy accident in Iraq does not make George W Bush right. It makes him lucky.