Monday, December 29, 2014

Marijuana Usage for High-Schoolers is Up Dramatically / Cigarette Smoking Declines (Part 2)

Regarding my previous post and the statistical chart, a friend advised, after reading same and reviewing the chart, that my interpretation of the chart reflects my bias.  He might be right.  I am not an advocate of legalized, recreational marijuana.  I do think that the current policy (in Oregon) to legalize marijuana is a mistake – and will be particularly detrimental to our young people.  That said, maybe, over time, we will learn to live with marijuana, and any associated abuses; just as we have with alcohol.  I hope so.  But, I still believe there will be considerable collateral damage in the meantime.

The chart:  Well, I understand that statistics can lie and that liars use statistics.  However, not capable of conducting my own in-depth research on the subject, I considered the source fairly reputable.

What I thought was particularly shocking was the reported statistic that approximately 20% of high schoolers have, pretty consistently since the year 2000, used marijuana ‘within the past 30 days.’  If true, I am totally out-of-touch with what is considered typical at an American high school.

My friend pointed-out the 1.5% drop in MJ usage 2013 to 2014 – and that it was a positive indicator – in his opinion.  Personally, I’m not so sure.  One year doesn’t necessarily indicate a trend.

So, how do we explain that smoking in high school is way, way down, and marijuana usage remains at one out of five students?  Has the campaign against smoking worked in a spectacular way?  Have cigarettes just become too darned expensive for the average high school student?  What’s going on?  Are there any high school teachers that can help me out on this?

Furthermore, what will the high school student usage of MJ be as more and more states legalize it?  I think usage will go up; but, I could be wrong – it wouldn’t be the first time.

True Nelson

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Marijuana Usage for High-Schoolers is Up Dramatically / Cigarette Smoking Declines

In case you missed it.  Of particular note to all the self-assured parents and grandparents who voted for legalized, recreational marijuana, with the understanding that said legalization would not impact minors (possession of which is illegal for those under 21 years of age), there is good news and bad news.

From an article by Elena Holodny, Business Insider, dated 12/23/14:  ‘America’s High School Kids Prefer Weed.’

The good news:  Ms. Holodny’s research has shown that cigarette smoking has trended down:  “Only 10.3% (High Schoolers) have reportedly smoked a cigarette in the past 30 days, down from 27.4% in 2000”

The bad news:  However, as the above chart shows; “The gap between marijuana and cigarette usage is widening.  Until 2008, cigarettes were the preferred option, but now weed is clearly the go-to for those in High-School.”

Cigarette companies are now pondering the feasibility of entering the marijuana business – clearly a growth industry; and an apparently attractive commodity to our youth.

For the tobacco industry, a new motto might be, or is it their old motto, ‘Get ‘em while they’re young.’

True Nelson

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Protesters Share Responsibility for Murder of New York PD Officers

I’m not going to mince words here.  The New York protesters that walked the streets chanting, “What do you want?  Dead Cops!  When do you want it?  Now!” are in large part responsible for the assassination of the two New York City Police Officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjin Lin.

And to those protesters, I say:  ‘Don’t try and rationalize it.  You brought this on and you are responsible.  This is part of your life’s legacy.  This is the shame you have brought on your families.  There is nothing you can do or say, at this point, that will in any way absolve you from blame or shame.  Please just do us all a favor and slink back to your pathetic, meaningless lives.’

I just want the New York PD and the officers’ families, to know that many of us, most of us, throughout this country, morn their loss.  It was so unnecessary and tragic.

And, as for your mayor, Bill de Blasio, what can I say?  The majority of New Yorkers voted for him.

A sad note for this holiday season.

True Nelson

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Aaron L. Hodges / Nordstrom Employee / Intelligent, Articulate, and all-around swell guy.

Aaron L. Hodges:

I have to restrain myself from saying what I would really like to say about this individual.

He was recently fired from Nordstrom’s in Portland for posting on Facebook what normal, decent people would consider one of the most hateful, distasteful, stupid and racist statements imaginable.

He wrote:  “Instead of slamming the police, I prefer a Kenny Fort approach.  Every time an unarmed black man is killed, you kill a decorated white officer, on his door step in front of his family.”  (Actually Hodges was referring to Jeff Fort)

According to The Oregonian article 12/17/14, Hodges stated that the comment was taken out of context and that he didn’t actually mean for it to be literally interpreted.

OK, I understand.  And, if I was to say that Hodges was a moron, I am not inferring that he is literally a moron - he is, however, a moron, figuratively speaking.

Nordstrom’s did ask Hodges to seek work elsewhere.  I'm sure they were very polite about it.  Nordstrom’s is, after all, a responsible employer in our community.  And very accommodating too.  According to the Oregonian, Hodges had been previously convicted for Assault, Forgery, and “eight counts of manufacturing and delivering drugs.”

Nordstrom’s employment philosophy is, apparently, that everyone deserves a second, third, fourth, perhaps a fifth chance.  Makes one wonder where Mr. Hodges was working at Nordstrom’s.  He’d be a good fit for HR, or even the Accounting Department.

Oh, yes, and who exactly is Jeff Fort?

Per Wikipedia:  “Jeff Fort is a former Chicago gang leader.  Fort was convicted of drug trafficking in 1983 and sentenced to 13 years in prison. He is currently serving a 155 year prison sentence after being convicted of terrorism conspiracy in 1987 for plotting to commit attacks inside the U.S. in exchange for weapons and $2.5 million from Libya.”

True Nelson

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Policeman

I hope that many of you will take just a few moments out of your busy schedules to watch this video, narration by Paul Harvey - somewhat dated, but, nonetheless, timely.

Thank you,

True Nelson

Monday, December 8, 2014

Attorney General Eric Holder Rushed to Personally Comfort Michael Brown's Family

For those who might read this post, maybe you can answer a question for me.  I might have missed this.

Did United States Attorney General Eric Holder rush to the following victim’s families to offer his personal condolences and to hug and comfort the victim’s grieving family members?

Melvin Santiago (White), Jersey City, New Jersey PD was shot and killed 7-13-14 by a Black man.

Jeffrey Westerfield (White), Gary, Indiana PD was shot and killed 7-6-14 by a Black man.

Perry Renn (White), Indianapolis, Indiana PD was shot and killed 7-5-14 by a Black man.

Deputy Sheriff Allen Bares, Jr. (White), Vermillion Parish, Louisiana was shot and killed 6-23-14 by a Black man.

Charles Dinwiddie (White), Killen, Texas PD was shot and killed 5-11-14 by a Black man.

Kevin Jordan (Black), Griffin, Georgia PD was shot and killed 5-31-14 by a White man.

True Nelson

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Some Final Words on the Michael Brown, Ferguson Incident

Some final words on the Michael Brown, Ferguson incident.  It is with some sadness that I see this growing racial divide in our country.  I thought we were making good progress over the years; but now it seems we are in a period of regression or entrenchment.  It makes me wonder what is going on.  Has our President, and his recent comments, reduced the racial divide or widened it?  More likely the latter, in my opinion.

I suppose, as many have said, there are numerous reasons:  unemployment, poor schools, and the breakdown in the traditional family unit, on and on.  There are, of course, no easy answers.

I am supportive of the police.  Generally speaking they do a very good job under difficult and sometimes dangerous situations.

As an FBI Agent in the 70s, I considered myself racially unbiased – for the most part.  In my prior military experience, I worked with many minorities.  In the military, quite frankly, one becomes ‘color blind’ to that sort of thing.  A couple of my best friends were African Americans – wonderful guys.  There were ‘Black’ Agents in the Bureau as well – and my feelings were the same for those of them who were my co-workers.

On the other hand, in the San Francisco Bay area, during the 70s, this was the era of the Black Panthers, the SLA, the Black Liberation Army, the Weather Underground, the Red Guerilla Family, etc., etc.  The individuals who made up these groups; well, let’s just say, I had nothing in common with them.  Many were dangerous criminals.  They were the enemy.  Harsh words, I know.  And, I also am aware that many people, now, have an idealized, albeit unrealistic image of the 70’s groups referenced above.  I do not.  All I can say is that you were not there, you didn’t know these people like I did.

Let me describe, very briefly, a typical arrest in the Oakland projects.  Four Agents would go inside the multi-story building to make the arrest.  Two Agents stayed behind, on the street, to protect the Bureau cars.  While you waited on the street, you had a bit of a dilemma.  You couldn’t hide or show fear.  Standing in plain sight, as each second passed, you wondered if someone was taking aim at your head from an adjacent building.  Going inside, well, that was like entering another world, filled with sullen, hateful, alien eyes.  You moved as fast as you could, hoping that everything would go smoothly with no confrontation.  If the subject resisted, all hell would break loose.

Are there some ‘white folks’ out there, liberal types, who would say, “I’d love to have that job.”?  I doubt it.  Are there ‘blacks’ out there who would welcome the opportunity to make an arrest in the ‘projects’?  I doubt that too.  African American Police Officers and Agents know the dangers more than anyone.

So what can we conclude about those in law enforcement?  Surprisingly, most of the guys and gals are pretty high quality, and quite rational.  Law enforcement personnel, many of them, are a cut above.  Yes, there are more than a few bad cops.  But, the majority risk their lives to protect us – and we should honor them.

Police work is not, should not, be considered warfare.  The mission of the police is to serve and to protect.  And, arresting bad people is part of protecting honest citizens.  But, in a microcosm, in the rare one on one confrontation, there are similarities to warfare.  And, we the public, should understand that.  There are risks, dangers, fears, and even sometimes collateral damage involved in enforcing the law and protecting the majority.  That’s the way it is.  That’s the way it has always been.

If I could quote John Stuart Mill (a liberal in his time) briefly, and in a slightly redacted form – with the understanding that he was speaking of war, not law enforcement.  That said, might there be some relevance in Mill’s words that we all should consider?

"The person who has nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

                                                               John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)

True Nelson