Dave Richards for November 14th
--As a guy to grew up during the Vietnam War, you can probably imagine just how much change I have personally witnessed in the way Americans treat their active military and their veterans. I have several close friends who served in Vietnam. One came back and struggled to live a normal life for many years. Another threw his uniform and medals in the ocean and never admitted to having served to anyone, not even to the woman he eventually married. Both were treated badly by Americans upon their return from doing their duty.
Never in my lifetime have our active military and our veterans been treated with so much respect as they are now. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where people are competing among themselves in how the support our troops.
--I had a good laugh watching TV last Sunday while watching my overnight recording of Saturday Night Live. Two weeks back the comedian Larry David was the host of the show and during his opening monologue he told a joke which must have worked better in rehearsal than it did on the live show. It was a mistake and it will happen in any industry. The joke was about what a guy in a Nazi concentration camp would say to a girl in the same camp as a “break the ice” first line. Mr. David was flamed in social media afterward for making any joke related to that situation. I saw it, it wasn’t all as bad as some said it was, but the joke clearly failed.
What made me laugh this week was in a totally different show, different sketch, they used a clip of Larry David himself ranting about comedians who make jokes about concentration camps, and demanding they “should rot in H----!”
I admire someone who can laugh at their own folly and improve themselves from their mistakes.
--Since we last met on these pages a week ago, President Trump, who continues his trip overseas has struggled to stay in the headlines. It’s not that he hasn’t tried, but how do you compete for top billing in the news when dozens of well-known show business and political people are accused one after another of sexual misconduct? I hesitate to list them here because there will likely be another dozen between the time I write these words and the time you read them.
In some cases, the accused denied the allegations. In others, there was admission and a plea for forgiveness. But with so many people being accused, I am becoming concerned with what happens next. On the one hand, people might just accuse anybody with no proof and let a lynch-mob mentality in the public destroy the accused before they even have their day in court. We saw marches this past weekend from a group called #Me Too, encouraging everybody who has a story to tell to come out and tell it. I hope they tell it honestly.
We must, of course remember that someone is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, not on the 24 hour pay-cable news channels.
While that would be wrong, I’ll tell you what else that could happen which would also be wrong. That is if so many people are accused of sexual misconduct that it no longer matters to anyone but the alleged victims. That may sound far-fetched to you now, but you know how the average person just starts “turning off” the news when it gets tiresome?
So, as I say, either extreme would be wrong and we need to guard against that.
You may have noticed I have not used gender-specific words in talking about the many sexual misconduct allegations. Well, I do try to be careful, but wouldn’t you know over the weekend came news of a claim from a man who claimed that noted homosexual actor George Takei drugged and molested him years ago. I suppose it happens between women, too.
At this point you might go analytical and point out how nearly all of us have sexual sides to us so there is perhaps the potential for millions of us to misbehave, but I’m not buying it. Every one of us also have hands and feet but only a small minority of us use them to commit crimes. There may be “reasons”, I suppose, if you think of these things like a psychologist does, but I remain unconvinced that there are any valid excuses. Somebody just makes bad choices and somebody else becomes a victim.
What can we do about this? I’m sure some people will have no trouble at all proposing new laws and penalties because that’s what these people always do. But I think that is the wrong way to go about it. There are plenty of laws and penalties to discourage sexual misbehavior right now, more than ever before. The way I see it, the people who cannot control themselves now won’t be able to control themselves any better if the penalties are stiffened. The death penalty does not stop people from committing murder.
I say the only effective way to reduce all crime, including sexual misbehavior, is to focus on raising our young people to be caring and thoughtful individuals and to take responsibility for their deeds.
Easier said than done. But nothing this big is ever easy.
--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.
Thanks for reading!