Friday, September 28, 2012

Chicken Soup with the Tustin Junior Pee Wee Red Cobras...

Just when Chicken Soup was thinking about going back into semi-retirement, along comes another disgusting story about participants in that most wholesome and character building institution, American football. Given all of the angry people in America waiting for that last straw to break their ethical backs, Chicken Soup wonders why so many Americans insist on making it easy for Domestic Terrorists to feel good about what they do.

When an adult encourages or orders a child to harm another child or if the adult rewards the attacker for doing so, then the adult should be prosecuted as if he committed the crime himself, especially if the adult is an authority figure to the attacker. I don't know if this is written into law anywhere in America, but after reading about allegations that Head Coach Darren Crawford, former Assistant Coach Richard Bowman, and Tustin President Pat Galentine were involved in paying their players cash bounties for intentionally injuring opposing players, it obviously should be. No one has proven anything yet and the allegations are still being investigated. The reason these adults probably feel as if they've already been found guilty is simple. Given the character and record of the Institution of Football, this story is as believable as cold weather in Canada. In fact, it all sounds familiar to me...

This story immediately triggered memories of another scandal involving very young players during a Pop Warner game at Stagg High School on September 2, 2006. On that day assistant coach Cory Petero tackled 13-year-old Brian Wood after witnessing Wood violently attack his son for the third time in one game. The euphemism for "violent attack" in football is "late hit" but the intent is to cause excruciating physical pain and injury, and to intimidate the victim. There were no allegations of cash bounties at the time and none now. Instead, intentionally injuring opposing players should be looked upon as the normal course of behavior for the sort of characters most attracted to violent, competitive athletics.

Here's why:

Football is not a game. It never was. Football is a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry that looks upon badly injured players as just so much collateral damage, just an unfortunate side effect of doing business. It prioritizes the physical safety of players, including children, only when the monetary cost of insurance and law suits imposes a unifying motive upon the entire industry. And only the most naive parents allow their children to participate based upon the empty rhetoric of sportsmanship, character-building, and personal development. Your child is little more than raw material.

When children are signed up for competitive athletics, they enter a machine that turns out a product of enormous economic value to its owners: professional entertainers. The operation of this machine resembles that of a mining operation where a colossal amount of material is blasted and dug out of the ground in order to produce a proportionately tiny amount of finished product. Both operations leave enormous piles of tailings in their wake and both have a long history of being messy, dangerous to participants, and corrupt.

In football the filtering and disposal of less promising candidates follows a time-tested and widely accepted routine. The first few seasons appear to be conducted as promised; athletics is treated as a game where ideals like fun, fairness, and sportsmanship are openly promoted. This helps to maintain a pleasant illusion for the benefit of recruiting new players. When the players reach the age of 12 or 13, not coincidentally when they’re just bumping into the front edge of puberty, the situation changes considerably. There is little emphasis on having fun and increasing pressure to win regardless of the consequences. Anyone who finds this situation uncomfortable or for any other reason simply falls out of favor is urged to find something else to do. If such an individual does not choose to leave on his own, various methods of encouragement are imposed upon him, one of the most physically dangerous of which was demonstrated by 13-year-old Brian Wood and recorded on videotape during the game in question.

When a play ends, each individual tends to relax and return to his side of the line. This is when a player is most vulnerable to physical injury and Brian Wood obviously knew it. The “late hit” that was witnessed by what is certainly by now an audience of millions was an intentional act intended to cause a great deal of physical pain to the victim and to intimidate him.

Leave now or this will happen again, and again, and again.

The fact that the victim could have been badly injured, crippled, or killed obviously means nothing to Brian Wood, his adult role models, or to the entertainment industry as a whole. If his parents raised him to be a bully, he may have committed the act on his own accord just to acquire a sense of power, or he may have done it after learning that his victim had fallen out of favor with the coaches or the other players. Whatever the motive, it was not an accident. Brian Wood is a fairly typical sociopath of the gridiron and the American public loves him for it.

Domestic terrorists who have yet to become as infamous as Timothy McVeigh, Cho Seung-Hui, and James Holmes can sleep soundly knowing that millions of Americans place more value on the outcome of a Pop Warner football game than they do on the lives and safety of their neighbor's children.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chicken Soup revisits America's healthcare issue...

I'm repeatedly amazed by the average American voter's inability to distinguish between health insurance and healthcare. Imagine if most of your neighbors, coworkers, and personal acquaintances couldn't tell the difference between automobile insurance and the industry that manufactures automobiles and you'll understand how I feel. I'll try to explain the difference in simple terms. I'll even type slowly for those who can't read so fast.

I want those who manufacture medical equipment and pharmaceutical products to have a profit incentive and a significant number of market competitors so that they'll supply patients with the best that our technology can provide. Capitalism is an asset to patients here.

I want doctors, nurses, and hospitals to have a profit incentive and plenty of competition so that they'll have an ever present reason to do the best job they can do in order to avoid losing their patients (customers) to someone else. Capitalism is an asset here as well.

I do not want the health insurance industry to have a profit incentive and here's why:

1) Health insurance companies are not in the business of healing the sick and injured. They're in the business of making money. Health insurance companies make money by two basic methods. They charge premiums to those who are currently least likely to become sick or injured. Then they save money by refusing to pay legitimate claims as often as they can get away with it. Republicans like this arrangement because people who don't make much money are about as worthy of life as a Jew at a Klan rally. Hitler referred to people who were least likely to produce more than they consumed as "useless eaters." Republicans probably have a similar term, but they're smart enough to avoid using it in front of a camera.

A single payer health insurance system would cover everyone, but it will be economically inefficient because it will cover Americans who are in the Republican moral sphere, not economically worth treating. Republicans don't like the idea of a single payer system because it would allow those unworthy of life to receive healthcare they could never pay for on their own. Republican politicians like to criticize the legality of abortion while they take campaign contributions (bribes) from an industry that forces huge numbers of their fellow Americans to suffer and die needlessly.

And that's all a terrorist needs to know about the value Americans place on the lives of their own citizens.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chicken Soup has a conversation with Columbine teacher and author, Paula Reed...

It's rare for anyone to engage me in debate for more than one or two comments. Paula Reed is an exception. The back and forth commentary can be boiled down a bit:

I believe that most criminal behavior is the result of the criminal's personal experiences. I also believe that most of the behavior we now attribute to personality disorders, syndromes, and various forms of mental illness are caused by the people you are forced to interact with during your first two decades of life.

Paula Reed places a much greater emphasis on the role of mental illness in extreme crimes such as mass murder than I do.

I wasn't disheartened by my inability to win her over. I was pleasantly surprised by her willingness to actually maintain a debate instead of simply ignoring me or asking to be paid as Izzy Kalman did. You can find Kalman's commentary by Googling "Kalman" and Chicken Soup." I found him to be a bit arrogant, but many would say the same about me. Decide for yourself.

Read through the commentary between Paula Reed and myself and make up your own mind.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Chicken Soup revisits the Pedophile Enablers of Penn. State...

Sara Ganim is generally credited with bringing the true character of Jerry Sandusky and his pedophile enablers into the light of day. The element of her story that interests me the most and embodies the reason for this blog's existence can be found in the following quote from a Glamour Magazine article about Ms. Ganim:

"But many were relieved. They were done keeping their story bottled up inside."

There are situations where the crime and the identity of the perpetrator are known to many members of the public but due to the status of the perpetrator, no one is willing to speak openly. This is the kind of scenario that almost screams for a domestic terrorist to step in and begin ruining lives and reputations. Let's consider the following scenario:

An adult survivor of Jerry Sandusky's pedophilia quietly returns to the local community and anonymously stages a media worthy act of Domestic Terrorism. The act itself doesn't need to be particularly sophisticated. He could fire a few random shots into the stands from a very long distance or detonate a crude pipe bomb somewhere. The objective is to grab the attention of the local community and the media, not to kill or maim a large number of victims. The Terrorist could then send a letter to the University President explaining that Jerry Sandusky was and still is a pedophile. Blind copying dozens of newspapers, magazines, law enforcement officials, etc. would also be a good idea.

And then he could go home and wait...for months if necessary...

What would all those heroes of the gridiron do then? How would all those pedophile enablers react? How would the law enforcement community react? Would they attempt to contact every former member of Second Mile in order to create a suspect list? How would they approach them? Excuse me sir. After one of Sandusky's victims set off a bomb, we've decided to pretend that we care about victims. Um...did you set off a bomb the other day? If the law enforcement community suspected the Terrorist of being the Terrorist, how far would they go in their attempts to prosecute him? This is a sticky question because Sandusky's pedophilia and the University's willingness to cover it up would probably have become public knowledge by then. Would they risk the appearance of revictimizing a victim who may be guilty of nothing?

Just a thought folks. Enjoy the weekend.