Editor's Notebook

Give Peace a Chance


lennonThe man who sang “Imagine” and “Give Peace a Chance,” would’ve been 75-years-old this week.
Instead, a crazed man with a gun shot him down in front of the Dakota in Manhattan on December 8, 1980.
I was 19.
In the 35 years since someone shot and killed John Lennon this country has become more divided, seemingly more violent and definitely more intolerant.
Someone running for President recently spoke against the idea of a Muslim becoming President.
It should be lost on none of us that the man who said this is an African American doctor and until recently many said the same thing about a Black man running for President as he said about a Muslim running for that office.
Nor should it be forgotten that the same thing was once said about John F. Kennedy being President as he was a Catholic.


Lox and executions


Walking into my favorite Jewish delicatessen I ordered the usual liquid caffeine kick starter and settled in for a lox and cream cheese on a toasted regular bagel.
When the young attendant behind the counter read back my order she said, “Lots of cream cheese, onions and tomatoes.”
“Lox,” I said.
“What?” she replied.
I looked around incredulous. “This is a Jewish delicatessen, yes?” I replied.
“I’m not Jewish,” the young woman said.
“Neither am I,” I replied.
“Well what’s Lox?” she asked with a blank look brought about by too much time on her cell phone and on videogames and not nearly enough time living.
I sighed.


The Pope Tokes Hope

popendcAs Pope Francis and The President sat down to talk in the Oval Office, they waited as the press pool filed in and of course, as we are often the messiest as we jockey for position to get a photo or ask a question, the President told the members of the press assembled for the event that we were better behaved than we have been in the past.
Hopefully it is something we remember of the Pope’s visit -manners.
Having a Pope visit the U.S. is not a daily occurrence and the visit by Pope Francis is something anxiously anticipated by many Catholics.
I am not one of them.


Is that a clock in your pocket or are you happy to see me?

8808753 GSo deep in the bowels of America, somewhere near the home of the Dallas Cowboys, a young teenager constructed a homemade clock.
When he took it to school, rather than being congratulated for his ingenuity and promise, he was arrested because after all he’s a Muslim and the damn thing looked like a bomb.
I mean what were those highly intelligent Cowboy fans supposed to think?
Ain’t no way a kid would construct a clock? Most of the kids in Irving probably can’t spell “clock” especially if it isn’t the last name of a Cowboy football player.
I mean the poor guy - the teacher that is - was confronted by a teen who wants to be an engineer and who had fashioned a clock out of a pencil case.


History in the making and ignorance on parade

weird-politiciansThe husband of an embattled Kentucky court clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay couples - and was thus jailed for contempt - came out in support of his wife and declared that just because five justices on the Supreme Court ruled against his wife that doesn’t necessarily make it law.
Yes it does.
Several things can thus be concluded as the American rabble continues to babble: We are not teaching enough civics in our public schools.
Also, checking on the dates of birth of many of these new, proud and loud illiterate minions of the misinformed - one has to conclude that far too many people at Woodstock took the bad acid than the old statistics seem to support.
There simply is no way with the amount of information available on the Internet, in books, at schools, and on social media and in regular old fashioned media one can be so ignorant without a willful desire to be such.
One could support flushing the entire cataloge of Christian rants brought to us by those who believe their brand of God is better than any other and I would have a hard time arguing against it.


There once was a woman from Kentucky . . .


Kim-Davis-360x245Social media, news reports and Twitter were all a twitter recently with the news that an elected official in Kentucky refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
She took her complaint to the Supreme Court which in turn told her to do her job. Mind you Kentucky’s governor Steve Beshear already told the woman the same thing, but sometimes people get stubborn.
Kim Davis ignited a fierce debate in her office in Rowan County, Kentucky this week when she defied orders to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court declaring the constitutionality of same-sex marriages. Davis, a born-again Apostolic Christian, said issuing the licenses to gay couples would violate "God's definition of marriage" and would infringe on her religious freedom.


There but for the grace of . . .


11921740 10207892909307373 3257786281326176434 nOnce when I was investigating a politician in Laredo, Texas my wife and I had to spend the night at the county clerk’s home after someone shot up our house.

I never found out if the two activities were related, or whether I was the victim of a random drive-by shooting.

In San Antonio while spending the night in a low-income housing project someone shot at his uncle just outside the window of the house I was staying in – apparently upset his uncle had taken the last beer out of a six pack. The bloody knee-cap on the ground was a mute witness to the shooting.

People threatened to shoot me once while covering a miner’s strike in Kentucky. In Texas, while covering gang violence some of the gang members waved loaded guns at me. Another time shots rang out in my general vicinity and I took cover.

When I was at America’s Most Wanted we all lived with a general threat against our life, and I had a couple of convicted killers specifically threaten me.

While in the Persian Gulf area during the first Gulf War I was shot at several times, though I doubt any of it was personal.

I say all of this without pride. It’s part of the job sometimes. We all accept it.

But what happened to a reporter and a photographer in Virginia this week is something that’s very hard to understand and accept.

Apparently – and as I write this information is still being gathered – a disgruntled former employee took his own first-person video of shooting a young woman reporter and her young male photographer.

It occurred on live-television.

The immediate knee-jerk reactions from the peanut gallery mentioned race since the disgruntled employee was black and his victims white.

Others discussed mental illness and still others opined that we have far too many shootings in this country and insufficient gun laws.

I am still numb.

I have seen people killed. I have seen the aftermath. I have been threatened, jailed, fired, physically threatened and struck in the attempts to do my job.

People have followed me home, written me nasty letters, and once a company I investigated produced a 5-minute video denouncing my investigative report while defending their pesticide which the federal government banned because it allegedly caused chemical lupus.

I’ve been called a “flaming” liberal and accused of being a “pinko faggot” and I’ve had liberals call me a “Tea Bagger.”

Once I had a rich rancher tell me – as he ate powdered coffee creamer with a spoon from a big, round shaker – there were places on his ranch no one but the pigs would ever find me.

I still am unsure of what he meant though he assured me through a snarl he wasn’t talking about his daughters – when I asked him.

Yes, I have pushed boundaries.

Yes, I have covered my fair share of hate, death and destruction – details at 11.

Then, to think your life will end while doing a live-shot on a morning show with a member of the chamber of commerce on a story that ultimately means little or nothing is not only hard to swallow but a scathing indictment of the miserable culture of the United States.

Not a day seems to go by without someone gunning someone down for the thinnest of reasons.

Terror is our daily distraction and lack of reason seems to be our daily companion.

People will rationalize what has happened and continue the same arguments and go over the same old ground, grinding logic into the dust and ignoring the fundamental truth we all must face: attitudes must change.

You want stricter gun laws? Fine. You want fewer? Fine.

Either will work as long as people change.

When our culture no longer accepts violence as an alternative and when we embrace logic and compassion instead of bitterness and retribution then it won’t much matter what the law says.

Ultimately we are all responsible for our own lives.

Each day we make ourselves victims. Due to mental illness, anger, criminal behavior, passion and evil intent we can with the aid of a piece of lead and metal make others suffer too.

As Gandhi said – an eye for an eye makes the world blind.

Welcome to a dark world.



Hate, Death and Destruction


BillHicks“The day will come – and it is not far off – when the legacy of Lincoln will finally be fulfilled at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue when a black man or woman will sit in the Oval Office. When that day comes, the most remarkable thing about it will be how naturally it occurs.” – George H.W. Bush, 1990.

“They are demons set loose on earth to lower the standards . . . make no mistake about it.” – Comedian Bill Hicks, 1991

Yesterday, I heard someone disparaging President Obama in a manner inconsistent with good manners. So, I thought about the first time I heard our President spoken of this way - during his first inauguration - and I confess I don’t think anything has changed:
I spent inauguration day at the dentist – numb and having my teeth drilled. No metaphor is intended, but you can take one with you if you so desire. All I know is this decay I’ve suffered for the last eight years is finally gone.
Oh yeah, and my cavity got filled and my teeth are cleaner too.


And the car hit me hard


carpedConsider this an open letter - a sincere “Thank You,” from me to the woman who inadvertently nearly ended my life Tuesday afternoon.
While some of this will appear sarcastic, please discount this to my continued shock and amazement I am still alive.
As I crossed the street from the CVS to the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department near Hungerford Drive that afternoon I noticed the small beige two-door attempting to turn right. The woman inside first looked left for oncoming traffic and then right. I had the white light indicating it was safe to cross and began to do so.
As I’m always careful because I don’t trust people will actually see a six foot, two-inch tall man in black hair and sunglasses crossing the street, I made sure I had eye contact with the driver of the car before I crossed.
I mistook her nodding as an indication she’d seen me and would stop. When the opposite occurred and I suddenly found myself on the hood of her car banging and screaming for her to stop before she turned me into road kill or tried to re-enact a scene from any number of action adventure movies, well needless to say I was shocked.


The Razor's ultimate edge


razorHe was obviously a rather pelagic fellow, smelling not only of the sea but of the blue crabs which have helped to insure the popularity of the Chesapeake waters.
Throw some Old Bay on him and the metaphor would be complete.
He walked stoically toward the Starbucks on the curious pavement made of stones that have been replaced more than a half-a-dozen times already since the Rockville Town Square has opened.
In his right hand he carried a razor blade –

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