This is NOT a Racial Issue.

I have been in twitter arguments for the past two days over the Grand Jury decision handed down Monday in the Ferguson MI shooting case of Michael Brown. While the case should not be focused on the color of Michael Brown’s skin it is. While everyone should be focused on the fact that an eighteen year old is dead because of an over the top police response, that fact is getting lost in all the talk of racism. The fact that the cop was white and the victim was black is all that people are seeing.

I for one would be just as outraged by the outcome of this case were the victim white, for me color does not come into the equation, and I will tell you why. A cop (who could be purple with blue polka dots for all it matters) shot an unarmed citizen (who just happened to be black) and killed him. That is unacceptable no matter what color the victims skin might have been. For me the Ferguson shooting is just one more example of the police brutality that is becoming commonplace in North America.

There was another shooting in August, the same month Michael Brown was gunned down. It happened in Salt Lake City. A man named Dillon Taylor (who just happens to be white) was shot and killed by a cop (who just happened NOT to be white) the only difference between the two shootings is that the cop in the Salt Lake City case was wearing a body cam. No one screamed “racism” no one took to the streets in protest, in fact most people missed the case entirely because the victim was white.

This is not a racial issue, it never was, but people like Al Sharpton can’t stop themselves from playing the racism card every time there is a police shooting of a black person by a white cop.  Granted, perhaps in this situation Officer Wilson is a racist, I don’t know, I have never met the man and can not speak to his attitude towards black people, but I also don’t think racism is the issue here. All across North America cops are shooting first and asking questions later. Cops shooting unarmed “suspects” is a regular occurrence these days, but people are so wrapped up in the racism quilt that they can’t see the forest for the trees.

That’s a problem, because the real issue here is the rise in incidents of police brutality, and the use of lethal force where lethal force is not required. By reducing Michael Brown’s death to a racial issue we take the public’s attention away from the true problem, cops who abuse the power they are given. The Michael Brown shooting should have raised concerns over how cops are handling the take down of a suspect, instead everyone is focused on skin color. Would Michael Brown still be alive today if he was white? I don’t think so. Michael Brown would have been shot regardless of his skin color because that is the way cops do things these days.

So what am I really saying here? Simply this, we need to handle the problem of cops thinking themselves above the law. We have to push for action to be taken against these officers who draw their guns first without trying to resolve the situation without violence. We also need to stop blaming racism every time a black person is killed by a white cop and realize that racism is not the issue, cops getting away with murder while on duty IS the issue.

What do you think? Should sex education be taught in elementary school?

As many of you  know I am Canadian. Today as I sat watching the news at noon on CTV they asked a question. That question was “do you think sex education should be started in elementary school?”

It has been a controversial question here in Ontario for some time now, but to me sex education is a necessity especially given the fact that the onset of puberty seems to come earlier in every generation. Some of you say it is a parent’s job and should not be taught in schools at all, I say those people are not being realistic. Let’s face it, most parents do not want to talk to their children about sex any more than their kids want to hear the embarrassing details from their parents. However it is a subject we must broach with our children if we hope to prevent unwanted pregnancy and disease.

If we allow our children to learn the facts of life from their peers we are going to have a lot of erroneous information floating around. It is already out there! For example did you know that about 47% of all kids in North America don’t think of oral sex as sex at all? They also look at oral sex as the “safe” way to fool around and not get pregnant. Half of them do not realize that STD’s are transmitted through oral sex as well as intercourse, a scary thought.

Really when you think about it if society as a whole took a more liberal approach to the discussion of sex in general our children would be better informed. By turning natural human sexuality into a taboo subject we have created most of societies sexual problems ourselves.

Like the parent who says that sex ed should be taught at home and not in school, many parents have a problem with sex education being taught in elementary schools. They say their children are too young to discuss sex, that if sex ed must be taught it should be taught only in high school. This makes no sense to me whatsoever. Think about the age of a child when they start to ask where babies come from? 5 maybe 6 years old? So we teach them that the baby grows inside the Mommy until it is ready to come out and be a part of the world. That simple act of explaining that babies come from Mommy’s is sexual education, but most people fail to understand that.

We need to stop acting as if there is something WRONG with sexual intimacy, after all it is a natural function. It is what ensures the human race goes on. We make it a taboo, something only done in secret, something to be ashamed of, and that is part of the problem. Attach a stigma to anything and automatically our kids should be shielded from it. Then when they grow up we are too shy to tell them about this “taboo” thing so they learn from the wrong sources.

Children should be taught sexual education (no one is saying that they should be told how to HAVE sex) in elementary school, which is when most children begin to go through puberty these days. Waiting until AFTER they have gone through puberty doesn’t make sense to me.

What do you think?

Stop the World I Wanna Get Off!

FLASHBACK 40 years or so:

When I was a child, childhood was simple. You went to school acted accordingly learned your lessons and then when you came home you played outside with friends until the street lights came on. Then the whole family sat down to dinner together and talked about their day. After dinner there might be an hour of television watching together as a family and then began the ritual of getting ready for bed. Does anyone else remember those days? Hmmm, I must be getting old, because I still remember them clearly.

We didn’t walk around with cell phones when we were kids. If someone wanted to call us they did so, if we were home we answered the call if not that person called back later. Our parents knew the addresses and phone numbers of each of our friends, and if we missed curfew they would begin at the top of the list and call everyone on it it until they found us, and boy were we in trouble when they did!

We didn’t have video games that we parked ourselves in front of from morning till night. Our friends were real flesh and blood kids who lived in our area. We saw those friends on a daily basis, and knew what was going on in their lives because they told us first hand.

The playgrounds were full of happy screaming children running around playing imaginary games of pirate, and cops and robbers. We didn’t need electronic devices to feed us imaginary scenarios we had imaginations of our own. A jungle gym became a pirate ship or a castle, a swing could be an airplane or a parachute. We made use of the everyday things around us to enhance our imaginative play.

FLASH ON PRESENT DAY:

Those playgrounds are empty now. No longer do we see children in the streets playing impromptu games of ball hockey and yelling “car” every time a vehicle approaches. The streets are empty after school as each child rushes home to sit in front of a screen and play electronic games with complete strangers a world away. Electronic screens have taken over our lives.

“But that’s progress!” I hear the younger generation scream at me from behind their cell phones, and xbox controllers. Is it really? In some ways perhaps it is, but not so in others.

I say this because online I have hundreds of “friends”. People I have never met, and am unlikely to meet in this lifetime. I treasure those friendships of course, I have met some amazing people online, but they are basically pen pals that have no effect on my life realistically. In reality there are maybe ten people in my life that are truly a part of my life, and half of them are family.

Don’t get me wrong I enjoy those online friendships and some of those people have given me solid advice, and shown genuine compassion, but they are merely fingers on a keyboard a world away. They won’t be showing up for any birthday parties or spending the Christmas holidays with me any time soon. We won’t be taking in any movie premieres together or getting together to have dinner once a week, and therein lies the problem with the modern friendship.

The human race used to seek out human companionship. We would make an effort to make friends with like minded people. We formed bonds that stood the test of time, and space, we gathered people to us and cared about the relationships that followed. Now ending a friendship is as simple as “unfriending” someone on facebook, you don’t even have to tell them why you no longer wish to be friends. Pushing that button that ends a friendship is today’s equivalent of saying “I don’t want to play with you anymore, I’m taking my toys and going home!” And we do it all without ever having face to face contact with any of these people.

These days even when people do get together physically they aren’t really there. What do I mean by that? Well, for example a few weeks ago I attended a small business meeting here in my hometown. You know, the kind of event where small business owners get together and discuss ways to promote each others businesses. I noticed when we sat down for the rubber chicken portion of the get together that just about everyone had a cell phone in front of them. I also noticed that everyone was so absorbed in the messages they were receiving that no discussion was taking place around the table. Here we were all meeting in the same place in the same room and not one of us had anything to say to the flesh and blood people surrounding us because we were too absorbed in what our twitter feeds were telling us, or we just had to look at the latest funny cat picture posted to our timeline. It was about that time that I decided the next time I attend a physical meeting everyone should have to give up their cell phones at the door. Either that or we should all just exchange cell numbers and hold our meetings by text message.

So what am I really saying here? Simply this, if personal relationships are a thing of the past and the only interaction I am going to have with my fellow man is electronic then please, stop the world I wanna get off! I am human and I want face to face relationships with my friends.

Jus’ Sayin’

Janette