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rdclements

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About rdclements

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  1. rdclements

    Military and Scouting

    Scouting uses many elements that are similar to the military and I know some military veterans who are excellent scouters. I have also seen problems when adults with military experience try to make scouting too militaristic. Then there are the adults who were never in the military but wish that they had been and that can have some troubling impacts on their scouts.
  2. rdclements

    Trayvon Martin

    The campaign to get SYG laws on the books is a tactic from the NRA to outflank any federal regulation of guns. The SYG provisions encourage people to shoot first which only increases the level of violence and they make it more confusing to the authorities on when to prosecute.
  3. rdclements

    Trayvon Martin

    The juror interviewed by Anderson Cooper specifically mentioned the stand your ground law even though it was not highlighted as part of the legal arguments in court. This indicates that the jurors were at least aware of the law. The problem with the stand your ground laws is that they are not needed. Self defense has been an acceptable use of force for a very long time. The stand your ground provisions only serve to increase the motivation for violence. Self Defense: "I tried to get away from him but he kept after me so I had no choice but to defend myself." SYG: "I felt threatened so I killed him."
  4. rdclements

    Trayvon Martin

    I highly doubt that Zimmerman shot the Trayvon Martin because he was black. I think folks are forgetting a few things and not thinking analytically. One, as jblake47 and others have tried to point out - jury trials such as these do not have an objective to prove someone innocent. The judges direction to the jury was to determine if George Zimmerman acted in self-defense or in legalese - if the death of Trayvon Martin resulted from the justifiable use of deadly force and that a person is justified in using deadly force if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself. The jury was also instructed to judge Zimmerman by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was used, that the danger facing George Zimmerman need not have been actual; however, to justify the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force. There was conflicting testimony - there was very different testimony by several witnesses stating who was the aggressor. So, for me - concluding that there was reasonable doubt was the correct verdict. That doesn't mean that Zimmerman acted properly. Also, I believe the jury was 100% female, as was the Circuit judge and no one is claiming gender issues? (It was not 100% white as some have claimed. Five where white and one Hispanic.) The fact that Trayvon Martin did not simply go home or that Zimmerman should have stayed in his car or not followed Martin are irrelevant to the case at hand. It did not matter how the confrontation came to be - if Zimmerman was profiling, if Martin was looking for a fight - it only mattered that when Zimmerman fired a bullet through Trayvon's heart, was the appearance of danger so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person believe that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force? I do pretty much agree that Zimmerman acted improperly, but not illegally. It would have been better for all concerned, if he had stayed in his vehicle. That said, it's easy to say that in hindsight, and not living in a neighborhood that has been burglarized several times. OK, so let's agree then "that Zimmerman acted improperly, but not illegally". Then we need to correct the criminal code to get rid of the stand your ground provisions that make it next to impossible to convict the shooter in a case like this one. In 2010, 4,828 young people (age 10-24) were victims of homicide, over 82% from gun fire. Also during 2010, there were 499 US military fatalities in the Afghanistan area. I don't know what an acceptable number might be, but I think that we have too many young people getting shot and it should be more difficult to do that.
  5. rdclements

    Trayvon Martin

    Yes, judging folks by race happens all the time. I try to be intentional to avoid making that error. The media reaction to the Paula Deen mess, and all the companies racing to dissociate from her, was an overreaction. It would have been more beneficial to acknowledge that Mrs. Deen recognizes that the racial attitudes that were common in certain places 20 years ago are not acceptable today. But here's the challenge: If it is offensive for a white woman to use certain racial terms, why is it acceptable (common) for a black rapper? To say that certain words are acceptable when spoken by one racial group but offensive from another is its own form of racism.
  6. rdclements

    Trayvon Martin

    I believe that it is wrong and foolish to judge individuals based on race. As a southern white male, I do not have much experience being the recipient of racial or gender discrimination. At the same time, it is possible and probable that my judgement is influenced by race due to my heritage and life experience, even though I would prefer that it was not. I have been in situations where black people have accused me of being racist due to a decision that I had made. It is easy to excuse comments made in the heat of the moment. The fact is that there is racism in our country and accusing people of racism where it is not justified simply allows real racism to hide. Paula Deen continues to get pounded in the media because she admitted under oath to using racial language decades ago. An all white jury found Zimmerman not guilty after he killed a kid for being black. One part of the Zimmerman case that troubles me is the enthusiasm that some people on the right have shown over the verdict. A young man is dead, how is there anything to celebrate?
  7. rdclements

    LGBT: Critical Mass?

    Protecting the right of gay people to get married should be a conservative issue. You've go two people, in a committed relationship, who want to get married and raise a family together, taking equal responsibility for their children. This is what conservatives have campaigned for for many years.
  8. rdclements

    Trayvon Martin

    Zimmerman decided to follow and confront Martin - in his own words, "This guy looks like he's up to no good". This was based on observing what Martin looked like. Martin had not been involved in any criminal activity. He was walking along, minding his own business. Zimmerman decided that Martin looked suspicious. How are black teenage men supposed to walk so that they won't get shot?
  9. rdclements

    Trayvon Martin

    Zimmerman chose to exit his vehicle and confront Martin. Zimmerman knew only what he told the dispatcher on the phone, that the person he was following was dark skinned, wearing a hoodie, walking slowly - Zimmerman decided in his mind that these characteristics were suspicious. He decided that Martin was a bad guy and appointed himself to do something about the bad guy. He chose to make the confrontation and is therefore responsible for the outcome. Maybe the prosecution blew the case, I don't know. I do know that is Zimmerman had stayed in the car, Martin would not have been killed. Martin is dead. It didn't have to happen.
  10. rdclements

    Is today's scouting too prissy?

    Years ago I took the Camp Director training from National Camping School in order to qualify to run our district Cub Scout Day Camp. One of the publications that I received was the guidelines on what is an appropriate skit for a campfire. I don't have that anymore, but some of the topics to stay away from were: killing, suicide, bullying / humiliation, alcohol / drunkenness, sexual acts, bathroom acts, cross-gender impersonations, underwear / nudity, and inside jokes. That list would eliminate pretty much all of the skits that I can remember from when I was a scout, but with the experience of the years since, I get it. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't get it. I was at a summer camp a few years ago and the camp staff did all the skits at the opening night's fire. They tried jokes about "fat kids", people in wheelchairs, single-parent families, and race related food stereotypes. I spoke with the camp director about the opportunity for improvement and by the final of camp, the staff was mature enough to intervene and redirect a couple of the campers' skits that went off course. BSA publication 33696 is meant to help plan a good campfire. http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33696.pdf
  11. rdclements

    Ethics of ISA accounts

    Some years ago, I had a scout who needed to earn some dough to pay for summer camp, so I hired him to move and stack some firewood. He did a fine job and make exactly what he needed for camp. Of course a few weeks later I needed to hire another camper to move it back. I liked it better over there anyway.
  12. rdclements

    Is today's scouting too prissy?

    dedkad, why are they staying away? Intimidated, too busy, program not attractive to them? As a unit leader, there is only so much you can do.
  13. rdclements

    Is today's scouting too prissy?

    Pointing any type of firearm or simulated firearm at any individual of human likeness is against the rules in order to reduce accidents and encourage the development of a safety mindset, sort of like 'always assume that a gun is loaded'. Gun violence involving children is a national crisis. In 2010, 496 American military personnel were killed in Afghanistan. That is a tragic figure and a costly sacrifice. In the same year, 606 people in the US were killed in unintentional shootings and 15,576 children in the US were injured by firearms. Pretty much every Scouter that I know would take a bullet to protect his/her scouts from an attacker. BSA is uniquely positioned to influence gun safety among the nations youth and should be doing much more to change these statistics in the future.
  14. rdclements

    LGBT: Critical Mass?

    Sorry Brew, I'm not going to go out on the extreme with you. Social progress is like this with a few steps forward and a step back, moving in lurches and not with predictable steadiness. I understand that some people oppose equal rights for certain groups of people. Some of these opponents even believe that their religious beliefs have legal relevance. Of all of our contemporary social topics, Jesus is quoted most often speaking about money. If he was as worried about homosexuality as today's conservatives would like to believe, I think that he would have had more to say about it. Despite all of the hype by Christianists about protecting the institute of marriage, Christians get divorced at the same rate as non-Christians. Some of those folks should look at gay people getting married as true conservatives and not religious zealots. I think that parents raising children in families with two parents in a stable and committed relationship is a good thing. I don't care if it sometimes happens that some of those parents are gay.
  15. rdclements

    LGBT: Critical Mass?

    Malcolm Gladwell's book, The Tipping Point (http://www.gladwell.com/tippingpoint/) provides a really interesting analysis of how trends build slowly and then suddenly reach the critical mass needed to 'tip' and become mainstream. He uses the term 'social epidemic'. Much of what Gladwell describes in his book applies to the progress made in gay rights. I do not agree with Scouter99 that our society has been manipulated in some sinister way. We are seeing the recognition that essential human rights should not be denied to any group. When on man's rights are taken away, we all lose something. Much attention has been given to Nelson Mandela recently. In South Africa, where racial discrimination was law for decades, gay people can get married. How did South Africa get so far ahead of the United States?
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