Do People Really Get What They Deserve?

Ma & Pa Steiner taught me long ago that life isn’t fair and not to take “what goes around, comes around” as being the literal truth.

Experience taught me there are grains of truth in that particular field so I passed it along to my children.

“Some people will lie, cheat and steal their way into destiny, but they have to live with themselves, you don’t.”

The kids asked me what that meant and I said some people don’t have a conscience.

When they grew older and became capable of more sophisticated conversation we pulled it apart and talked about how our understanding and interpretation of that inner voice impacts our behavior.

“Dad, have you done things that you don’t feel good about?”

I nodded my head and said that everyone does but we didn’t get into specific details or how we sometimes find ourselves in situations we never expected to be in.

whatisreal

When you have lived a life and I have lived, you find yourself in those peculiar places that make you understand you must make a choice.

A choice to view the world as a series of black lines that cannot ever be crossed or even stepped upon or an understanding sometimes you’ll have to be like Max and go where the wild things are.

If you are like me, well you’ll throw your head back and roar, you’ll join the wild rumpus and do your best to live hard.

And then at some point you’ll climb a tree or find some quiet place to look around and think about all you have seen and done.

Because you’ll look at the tightrope you were just walking upon and wonder how it was you didn’t fall only to discover you’re standing on a different one.

Maybe you’ll throw your head back and catch raindrops on your tongue, dance in the storm and take joy in the moment.

Or maybe you’ll scream with rage at the sky, dare the lightning to strike you and pretend that stomping your feet brings down the thunder.

Do People Really Get What They Deserve?

I grew up in what people would describe as an upper-middle-class home but surrounded by money.

I knew from a very young age that we didn’t have as much as others who had bigger houses and more toys.

I knew I was lucky to have as much as we did and that my parents always made sure we went on a family trip each summer.

But I also remember when we didn’t have any furniture in our living room and that while my schoolmates were boarding planes to Hawaii, Europe, Israel or wherever my vacation meant being jammed in the station wagon with my sisters.

Some of those kids were what is the term, oh yeah, entitled assholes, but not all.

Won’t say, can’t say that I wasn’t ever jealous or that I didn’t compare my life to the other kids but I can say that whatever my parents said about not comparing my life to others worked.

Can’t say what words they used, I just realized I’d never be happy if I compared myself to others and I have done my best to pass that along to my own children.

 

Some people have nothing and are always happy and some have everything and are never happy.

But none of that really touches upon whether people get what they deserve.

*****

Most days I try not to spend much time hoping or wondering whether Karma will kick the ass of those who need its special ass kicking services.

It is too easy to ask why some really bad people have done so well for themselves and why some really good have done so poorly.

Too easy to look at my life and say WTF to the sky because though I have done my tap dance on, over and around those lines I am a decent guy.

Too easy to look at my kids and then back to the sky and ask why they didn’t get better because they are just kids and their slates are cleaner than my own.

So I focus on what I can control and teach them to do the same, work hard and do your best to live in a way that lets you sleep well at night.

newton people

More Flotsam & Jetsam

Got The Association singing Never My Love in my ears and a series of thoughts and ideas surrounding You Should Slap The Devil & Sleep With His Wife.

Not sure how many people did more than click on the link before moving on to the next bright and shiny object.

Heard from some people who said I make their head hurt because these posts are chock full of layers and layers of…stuff.

Told them no one forces anyone to read anything here and then laughed because it made me think of my audio post about blog cancellation fees.

Heard from another guy who said that I am not really a dad blogger anymore because I don’t write like a dad blogger.

Told him that since he got a vasectomy he is not a real man and he said that I misunderstand what happens during a vasectomy because his balls weren’t cut off.

Responded by telling him that having a set isn’t a requirement for being a man and then because I am filled with enough testosterone for 98 men I said if we got in a fight I would slap him because he didn’t deserve my knuckles.

Ok, I didn’t say to this particular guy, but I have told men that before.

Why?

Because when you slap the devil and sleep with his wife you don’t settle for a simple “fuck you” or “fuck off.”

No, you want to make them think about what you said.

Sometimes it is worth reminding ourselves not to take life too seriously, the whole damn thing is fucking absurd.

Our understanding of time is rough our perception of a moment is flawed.

So instead of trying to control other people and all that happens around me I focus on doing my best to be the conductor of my life and to not fear taking risks.

Life isn’t fair, but if you’re willing to live it can be a hell of a lot of fun.

The Truth Of A Nuanced Position

Sky Walker

The Taliban beheaded two children today, or maybe it was yesterday. Truth is I don’t care when it happened because either way it sickens and infuriates me.

It reminds me of a Mark Steyn quote I used years ago:

“In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of “suttee” – the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:

“You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”

I think about these things and my role as a father to kids who will enter the 4th and 7th grades this August. I think about these things because I watch what our government does and listen to what Edward Snowden the NSA Whistleblower did and why and try to decide how I feel about it all.

Some things in life are black and white to me and some are touched by nuances that make some actions seem reasonable to me.

Judge and Jury

I don’t have any nuance to to give or grant to the Taliban. If you cut off the heads of children I don’t spent much time thinking about whether you receive a visit from some Hellfire missiles delivered by a drone pilot ten thousand miles away.

But I look at what the government does to protect us and ask myself what lines are black and white and what aren’t. Twenty five years ago I would have been outraged by all of this and wanted to march on Washington.

Twenty five years ago I would have been infuriated and now I am…not.

Now I am very concerned and wondering if my moral compass has been broken or skewed. Do I look at things differently because I have children protect?

Yes, I do.

I don’t doubt that there are people who wish to kill us and who are indiscriminate in the method and means. You won’t ever convince me that flying planes into buildings is reasonable or that there is a reason why I should give them a pass.

The guys who butchered the British soldier don’t receive a pass either.

Barbarism Versus Civility

I am not antigun. I lived through the Northridge Earthquake and the L.A. Riots. I don’t have a problem with owning a firearm to protect your family but I don’t see a reason to own 5,000 rounds or body armor.

I don’t buy NRA arguments that trained civilians will automatically stop some of the people who have been going on the rampage. Some of them have already proven they never cared whether they lived.

Training doesn’t prevent accidental shootings. Ask the parents of the girl who was shot by police a few weeks ago, they were trying to rescue her.

Again. I am not not against owning a gun, but there is a level of nuance that seems to disappear in the discussions.

Nor am I the guy who will give people a pass solely because of religion, tradition or culture. They just murdered some women for being witches. I would be willing to prosecute the crowd just as I would prosecute the animals who beheaded the 10 and 16 year-old boys who were beheaded.

Yeah, I used the word animal.

Parenting In The 21st Century

I teach the children to judge people based upon their actions and not the color of their skin or religious beliefs. Yet the nuances of these positions sometimes make me wonder.

How do I judge Snowden. Do I automatically call him a patriot or a traitor.

What sort of tools am I willing to give to the government to help protect us. There is a slippery slope here.

Boston won’t be the last terrorist attack here. Someone else will try again and sooner or later they will be successful.

We know that there have been other attempts since 9/11 and that we have been lucky to an extent but that runs out. Someone who wants to to hurt, maim and kill will do it and we’ll wonder about it.

When my almost 9 year-old asks me if I would be willing to kill someone who was trying to kill her or her brother I always respond by telling her I will do whatever I have to do to keep them safe.

She needs to sleep at night and I am comfortable with making her comfortable but in the quiet of the night I sometimes ask myself about these nuanced positions.

And Justice For All

Pete Souza, Official White House Photographer

Pete Souza, Official White House Photographer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tonight my children learned about Osama Bin Laden. Tonight my children learned about 9/11 and the murder of thousands. Tonight they watched the news of Bin Laden’s death alongside me and I cursed him for it. I cursed Bin Laden for the murder of innocents and innocence. I cursed him for forcing my hand and having to take a piece of their childhood away from them.

Because tonight I confirmed that while there are no monsters under their beds or in the closets there are monsters who walk amongst us. My soon to be 10.5 year-old asked me if we murdered a murderer and whether we have to go kill his kids. My almost seven year-old asked why he was so mean and then told me that she wasn’t afraid because daddy will kill bad people. Her older brother nodded his head and smiled at me as he confirmed that she was correct.

And as they broke my heart and warmed my soul with their trust I sat and listened to President Obama and considered what to tell these children of mine. Sat and thought about what to explain and how to explain it. Wondered if I had made a mistake in letting them watch this and realized that I wouldn’t have been happy had I not.

These decisions are hard…so very hard to make. I writeposts about these thoughts to help sort out my feelings and chronicle some of the more important events and moments. These are the days where you remember that there are no hard and fast rules for parenting. These are the moments when I struggle for words that will convey the answers that they need in the most appropriate way. I remember the day that he asked me what a gas chamber was and how I did my best to answer in a way that was appropriate.

I am not a pacifist. I believe that there are times when you must go to war. I believe that when you go to war you unleash hell upon the other side. I believe that it is ok to say that some ideologies are morally superior to others. I believe that the families of “evil” people probably cry when their sons/daughters die just as we do for our own children. But that doesn’t mean that we cannot or should not protect ourselves.

I believe that a smart society educates its citizenry and provides affordable healthcare for them. I believe that smart parents and smart people judge others based upon actions. I don’t believe that the death penalty is always a deterrent nor do I believe that it should be outlawed.

A smart society looks out for all of its citizenry from the weak to the strong. It protects those within its embrace and those without.

I can write on about my beliefs. I can write 10,000 words on why I believe these things. I can cite the Constitution and explain why I believe it is a living document. I can tell you how the Electoral College works and sing along to all sorts of School House Rock Songs about the U.S. government. I can do all this and more but I can’t quite make sense of the senseless.

I can’t tell you that I feel good about speaking with my children about these things or why it is surreal that the news about Bin Laden was released on Holocaust Remembrance Day and that on this day in 1945 they announced that Hitler was dead.

What I can tell you is that as I tried to sort it all out in my head I told my kids that they are safe. I told them that they don’t have to worry about tornadoes here and promised that I would protect them. When my daughter asked me if I would kill bad people who tried to hurt them I said yes. I didn’t engage in a philosophical discussion about whether it is right or wrong. Didn’t tell her that she probably didn’t have to worry about it because it was unlikely to be a problem. I just said yes because I knew that she didn’t need more than that.

And when her older brother told me that he knew that I would say that I smiled and hugged him.

And then I walked out of their room and turned on mindless television for a while. There would be plenty of time to read and watch the news later. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel badly about OBL. Fact is that I hope he suffered. That is not nice nor will it bring back those who died because of him, but it is true.

Now I hope that we can use his death to come together as a country and try to do a better job of fixing what is broken because in my mind that ultimate up yours would be to come back unified and stronger. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Regarding Roman Polanski

I have a hard time understanding how people can try to defend the heinous actions of Director Roman Polanski. Polanski you may recall fled the U.S. prior to being sentenced for having had sex with a minor. This is not one of those stories about a 20 year-old man who had a girlfriend who was sixteen or seventeen. There is no shade of gray on this one.

He was 43 and she was 13. Read that again, he was 43 and she was 13. He was a celebrity who had lived through more than one tragedy, but still he was an adult and she was not. Read about the incident and you will see that he gave her a Quaalude and champagne. It is not a stretch to say that he drugged and raped her.

Yet he has a group of supporters of that seem to be ignoring what happened. He has a group of supporters who make light of rape and ignore that he fled the country prior to sentencing and has been living a nice life. The decades old warrant hasn’t prevented him from working. He has directed other films since then and received critical acclaim for them.

Whoopie Goldberg  demonstrates a terrible lack of moral clarity on this issue. As she sees it, ‘It Wasn’t Rape Rape.’  What the hell does that mean.

The Smoking Gun has a link to transcripts from the grand jury. Read through it and you’ll see how he asked her if she was on the pill. Concerned about getting her pregnant he decided to sodomize her. WTF, he has enough sense to be concerned about pregnancy but not enough to see the moral bankruptcy of his actions.

I just don’t understand how people can defend him. His wealth and celebrity allowed him to escape having to face the consequences of his actions. Time has run out and now he needs to deal with the problem he ran from.

The victim of his actions can’t excuse him for his actions. He didn’t steal a pack of gum or a couple of dollars. He stole innocence and left a trail of destruction. It was wrong and inexcusable.