IN THE FACE OF TRAGEDY

Ok…during this week that is not over yet, we have already suffered 2 Tragedies on American Soil. First of all, we were all shocked and appalled on Monday when Boston became the site of the worst tragedy to hit the US since September 11th, when two bombs were detonated injuring 176 people and killing 3. Then on Wednesday, a deadly explosion rocked the town of Waco, Texas. A fertilizer plant exploded killing at least five people and possibly more than twenty and leaving virtually the entire town homeless. Eyewitnesses stated that the blast was like a “Nuclear Bomb” and that it mimicked a Tornado in how it leveled houses and buildings.

Wow…these are two horrible tragedies that have occurred in three days. The Boston “Massacre” part two is being investigated as an act of terrorism. The tragedy in Texas is not believed to be a terrorist plot, however that has not been ruled out at this time. I think it’s important to note that terrorism can have many forms as well as many repercussions. No matter what the facts are, what does it really matter if these tragedies are really “terrorism” or not. Is it really that important to put a label on either of them. Does it change the circumstances? Will it bring back those people who died? Will it make any of the survivors cope better? Will it make those who lost loved ones feel any better.

We have become a society of mass news media and getting the best story. Everything is micro analyzed in today’s society. The Boston tragedy appears to be an act of terror…wether domestic or home grown, or that of foreign perpetrators such as Al-Quaeda. The explosion at the fertilizer plant in Texas appears to be accidental in nature, however, foul play has not been ruled out which I am sure will come to light in the following days after the scene is investigated.

The purpose of this post is to stress the non importance of wether or not these tragedies are acts of terror. It really does not matter. The fact is…people have lost lives and loved ones and friends, some have lost limbs and have been affected by bodily injury, most will be affected by post traumatic stress syndrome, and the entire United States will be affected by how the media handles the aftermath.

In the face of tragedy, we must remain strong and resilient. I myself am not a fan of the Obama administration…nor am I a fan of our current political state, however, CMoN! We cannot use either of these tragedies or even past ones such as the school shootings in Sandy Hook to push political agendas. I am disappointed in the Republican Party for using these tragedies as forms of political doctrine. One report had a US senator saying that Obama is using the families of the “Sandy Hook Shootings” as well as Gabrielle Giffords as “PROPS” to push the Gun Control Agenda. This is bullshit!!!! Do you not have any heart Politicians, Republican or Democratic!

When tragedies like these occur we must join together and be resilient as a country. This is not the time to blame ourselves, security, terrorists, political parties. We must stand strong, just like the town of Boston…”Boston Strong”. Lets face it, any time there is a national tragedy it brings chains of misery to us all. We must not lose sight. These political factions can be just as dangerous as the terrorists we all have become familiar with after 9/11. Terrorism can take so many forms and can come from any agenda wether political or personal.

When these incidents are all said and done…they will fall to the way side just like many other tragedies that have occurred in our country in the past. Lets face it, the Sandy Hook shootings occurred less than five months ago but they are hindsight 20/20 now. Besides the ongoing gun control debate…this incident is not discussed. Even 9/11…think about it. Yes, we still have a moment of silence every year to mark the anniversary of the tragedy and to pay homage. However, do we really put ourselves in the shoes of anyone that was personally affected by the attack???? There have been movies, documentaries, trials, the Osama Bin Laden assassination, the pointless invasion of Iraq, and countless other hypocrisy that has happened since the devastation more than 12 years ago.

The true heroes are the First Responders and the millions of people who dedicated their lives to volunteering and helping, even in the face of danger. The same holds true in the Sandy Hook, Boston, Texas, and all other tragedies. We need to focus more on the real heroes and real victims. We focus too much on the Perpetrators, terrorists, and the Criminals as well as the inadequate safety standards instead of focusing on the victims and helpers and those truly affected. These are the people who should be praised and followed. Does it matter if tragedy is the result of terrorism or just random violence or just an act of nature…really?! They are all horrible and saddening.

Please pass this along too all of your friends, maybe we can make a difference. Maybe we can Show all these idiots and non intelligent bigots why this country is really going down hill. The Government is faltering in the face of adversity. They are failing to help our own people. They are failing to give credit and honor those people who deserve to be honored. They are failing in the health care industry. Please, if you are one of the guilty party (you know who you are)…look in the mirror and stop this hypocrisy. Hypocrisy and treason are just as bad as lying cheating or murder. Ignoring the truth can only lead to more violence and tragedy. In the face of tragedy we must unite and stand tall AMERICA! Please like and Share if you agree!

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Saint Patricks Day Fotter

Hey all…it’s been awhile. I have been very busy so sorry that there has not been much activity as of late. Nonetheless, here we are Sunday March 17th, Saint Patrick’s Day. Wow, spring is almost here so as I stated this is one of the most exciting times of the year in the world of sports and entertainment.

We are a week into NFL Free Agency and there have been many surprises as well as many no brained as far as player signings and releases. The Miami Dolphins have been extremely busy in the first week. The Dolphins secured the best free agent wide receiver in the market (Mike Wallace) and Brandon Gibson while resigning Brian Hartline. The Dolphins also signed Free Agent Tight End Dustin Keller. The Chiefs have also had a busy offseason in Andy Reid’s debut behind the helm. Getting Alex Smith was huge.

In the NFC, The Philadelphia Eagles have had an interesting free agent period this far mostly concentrating on Defense. Their Defense was the weak link do this only makes sense. It also fuels the debate on wether they will select the best quarterback Gino Smith with their first pick in the draft. Smith recently went 60/64 in passing at the combine. It makes perfect sense and would be the perfect fit for the Eagles behind their new boss. In other NFC news, Dallas has remained quiet so far and it’s fans are getting unruly.

Spring Training is winding down and there are so many topics up for debate. As a Phillies fan, this spring has been exciting to say the least. It is good to see Utley and Howard finally healthy. Michael Young has been a huge addition to the lineup and Domenic Brown has been a pleasant surprise. The question mark remains Roy Halladay and his health. His velocity is drastically declined which raised the question will he last the season? This will be vital how this plays out.

The NHL is winding down in its version of what they would like to call a season. Wow…48 games…no time to weed out the good from the bad. Of course…the Flyers have been a disappointment so far, but I did not see them winning much this year anyway. The East is a battle between Pittsburgh, Boston and Montreal at the top. The west is dominated by the once unbeaten Chicago BlackHawks. The defending Champion LA Kings are back and the surprise Minnesota Wild are at the top. It should be an exciting final month of Hockey.

In the entertainment world there are so much news and notes. As far as television goes…the series Walking Dead is getting more traffic than ever. I must admit…I thought this would be a horrible show before a friend of mine made me watch an episode. Now I am HOOKED. There is also the show Breaking Bad about the Cancer Patient turned Meth Trafficker, The Following which pits a sick twisted serial killer against the world, as well as another season of CSI, American Idol, and Grey’s Anatomy.

The Movies have been fast and furious beginning last week with Oz:The Great and Powerful (The Prequel to the 1939 Classic) and Jack the Giant Killer based on Jack in the Beanstalk. I highly recommend both of these movies for any age level. They were both extremely well put together.There are many other great movies to come. Next week will bring the sequel to the GI Joe series. And later this summer, The Man of Steel the highly anticipated Version of the Superman Series.

In world news…the Gun Control debate remains at the fore front with a standstill. Those poor families that lost Loved Ones in December must be frustrated as I know I am. This issue is beyond ridiculous. These automatic weapons should have been banned a long time ago and yet the Government has still not been able to put a dent in this ongoing crisis. The debt crisis has not gotten any better. HealthCare reform sucks and the economy sucks. This Government better act soon or their will be a revolt.

On Tuesday, Anthrax will release their cover album “Anthems” which is a collection of cover songs from bands like AC/DC and Deep Purple. Deftones also has a new album out. I highly recommend the new Buck Cherry Album “Confessions.” Ok folks…that’s all I got for today but just know…I am BACK!

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MISCELANEOUS

Ok…so it’s been awhile. Had some personal issues to attend to but I am back with a vengeance. Today I will cover a wide variety of topics. First off, I would personally like to give my condolences to the entire Saint Louis Cardinals Extended Family for losing one of the true Baseball Legends that were still alive. Yesterday, Stan Musial died at the ripe old age of 92. Well, many of us will not even see 75 so that is quite an accomplishment in itself. Musial in my mind has to be in the top 3 MLB players of all time list and he was an offensive legend. Stan Musial was probably the best all around hitter with both power and tenacity to ever play the game. RIP Stan…You were a true legend and gentleman.

Yesterday also marked the return of the NHL from its extended labor strike. There were quite a few key markee match ups including the Pittsburgh Penguins opening on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers. Well, the game did not disappoint as it was a well played game considering the long layoff…it took the Flyers two periods to really break off the rust. I must admit, I was totally shocked with the amount of support and fans that showed up all over the league yesterday, especially in Philly. There was. 10,000 people alone in the XFINITY Entertainment Lounge. With a shortened 48 game season, it should be interesting which teams will ultimately make the playoffs. By judging the games from Saturday, the playoffs are already here in spirit. This should make for some very exciting games and story lines. Stay Tuned.

Well, I worked all day and have not even turned on the TV…I had heard that Atlanta had an early lead on the 49ers in the NFC Championship. Well, my original picks for the Superbowl did not even make it to this round so at this point anything is possible. I was going to take the 49ers, but I feel that Atlanta has the edge at home. Also, I think they are out to prove that their season was not a fluke. The AFC Championship tonight…The Patriots are favored to beat the Baltimore Ravens. I’m going out on a limb to say that Ray Lewis will have one last hurrah and stun the Patriots faithful.

Speaking of Football, the Eagles did finally get a head coach this week by signing Chip Kelly. We will visit this topic many times in the near future but my only early opinion is that the Philadelphia Fan Base is out of control for some of the statements that they have made. C’MON give the guy a chance! Lets see what he can do?

On the music scene, Anthrax announced a new release of an EP this spring featuring cover songs from bands of the 60’s and 70’s. Anthrax also announced that they will be doing the Among the Living Anniversary Tour, following the footsteps of its other Big Four members. They are actually scheduled to play a show in AC so I’m sure that I will try and make it again. Also in other big news, Metallica announced that they will be doing the Orion Festival once again this summer. Should be AWESOME!

As you all know, I am a huge fan of Heavy Metal, but I am far from proclaiming myself Eddie Trunk or anywhere close to his knowledge of music. I would even venture to say that my best friend Aaron knows much more about music than me. Well, while using Pandora I actually heard a tune from Stryper…who??? Yes Stryper! I totally forgot how good this band was and them I did some research and realized that they released an album in 2011 called “The Covering” in which they covered some classics from such bands as Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Deep Purple, the Scorpions and a few others! The album is SICK and I would recommend it to any fan of metal or hard rock. These guys are way underrated in my mind. Michael Sweet is a Musical genius. Look for his new autobiography due out this spring along with a Greatest Hits Remaster album followed by a Brand New Studio Album! Awesome News! Can’t wait…so looking forward to this. Anyways, I was researching Christian Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Bands and I came across a band named Pillar. Let me tell you, heard some of their material and was absolutely impressed. More music news to follow, so many exciting stories including Def Leppard doing Hysteria as a Week Long Guest in Las Vegas. Wow! Wish I could be there for that.

Finally, I thought it necessary to bring up the fact that I think I had posted back when the school shootings occurred in Connecticut, that the one major problem of our government during these crises…is failure to act! Well, here we are a month has went by and still morning on the part of our government. Not even one BILL! I mean…geez they owe it to these families to do something. And the other horrible thing about these tragedies is that after time they are forgotten. This crime cannot and should not be forgotten and the Government must take action in the Gun Control and Mental Health realms. Well…thanks for letting me vent lol. Anyways…it’s good to be back…thanks again to my loyal fans!

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VIOLENCE IN THE NFL…POSSIBLE CAUSES: JAVON BELCHER FALLOUT

The Whole Country, namely the NFL was shaken to the core Saturday Morning with the news that Kansas City Chiefs Linebacker Jovan Belcher had murdered his girlfriend and then later committed suicide by shooting himself with the same gun used to kill his girlfriend. This tragedy leaves behind a three month old child, who is now an orphan and will never get to know their parents. This is a horrible tragedy of epic proportions for both the Chiefs franchise, their “Family and Friends”, and the NFL as a sports entity. This is actually the second time that a member of the Kansas City Chiefs has committed a murder-suicide. In 1980, former Chiefs Offensive Lineman Jim Tyrer murdered his wife Martha, and then killed himself, also using a gun. The Tyrer’s left behind Four Children and Four Grandchildren. As unfortunate as this and other tragedies that are similar in nature are terrible in nature, they in NO WAY should lead to an indictment of the NFL as a whole, nor to NFL players in general. These tragedies are not the first to occur in the NFL, and they will not be the last ones. However horrific these tragedies are, they should not be used as fatter against the NFL or as a Gun-Control Lobby, as Bob Costas did on the Sunday Night Football broadcast on NBC. What the Javon Belcher incident should do is raise awareness, that underneath all the armor, the pads, the stardom, behind the million-dollar paychecks, the luxury cars and homes, and the formation of a celebrity, these players are in fact human beings, just like you and I. As stated, this is just one of many acts of violence that have occurred throughout the NFL in the past several decades. On November 27th, 2007 Sean Taylor (a standout defensive back for the Washington Redskins and former 5th pick of the Draft) was gunned down by a robber at his own home. Taylor was only 24 years old and had just had a daughter 18 months earlier, which transformed his life. Earlier that year, on New Year’s Day, the Denver Broncos’ young promising cornerback was shot to death as he entered his Hummer after visiting a night club. Darrent Williams and wide receiver Brandon Marshall had been at the nightclub and Marshall encountered a fight with some gang members. One of the gang members attempted to murder Marshall, but instead took the life of Darrent Williams. The murderer was sentenced to life in prison and Marshall still counts his blessings. Another murder-suicide occurred to a very popular Quarterback just a few years back. On July 4th, 2009, Former Tennessee Titans star Quarterback Steve McNair was murdered by his mistress Sahel Kazemi, who then killed herself shooting one bullet to her head. A pistol was found by her body. This could have been a crime of passion, but nonetheless was a horrible tragedy. On November 16th, 1999 Cherica Adams was struck by four bullets from Van Watkins, a friend of Carolina Panther’s Wide Receiver Rae Carruth. Adams was eight months pregnant with Carruth’s child at the time of the shooting, and the Child dramatically survived. Adams later died of complications from the gun shot wounds. Carruth was sentenced to 18 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder. In February of 2011, Former Chicago Bear’s Defensive Back Dave Duerson shot himself in the chest at the age of 50. Duerson was survived by his ex-wife and four children. Before his suicide he sent a text message to his family stating that he wanted his brain to be used for research at the Boston University School of Medicine. Just over one year later, Hall of Fame Linebacker Junior Seau shot himself in the chest and died at the age of 43. Two weeks earlier, Ray Easterling a former Atlanta Falcons Defensive Back committed suicide shooting himself with a gun. Easterling had been a high profile plaintiff in an earlier lawsuit against the NFL and its handling of concussion related injuries. On December 16th, 2009, Chris Henry fell out of a moving vehicle that was driven by his fiancĂ©e, after engaging in a domestic dispute. Henry died from injuries sustained in the traffic accident but it was later found that he suffered from a form of brain injury known to be caused by concussions. Henry had also been involved in numerous off field problems throughout his five year career. Perhaps the most notable tragedy in NFL history, was actually one that hit close to home here in Philly. On Monday, November 26th, 2006 Andre Waters shot himself to death and died at the age of 44. Waters had been a standout Safety for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1984-1993. He had followed up his playing career with several college coaching jobs. A leading forensic pathologist reported to the New York Times that Brain Damage suffered by Andre Waters may have lead to depression and ultimately to his untimely suicide. Brain Tissue was analyzed after his death and it was found that the condition of his brain was that of what would be expected of an 85 year old-man and that his brain showed characteristics that are seen in Alzheimer’s patients. A study by the Center for the Study of retired athletes, based at the University of North Carolina, of 2,500 former NFL players post-mortem (after death), found that brain impairment, Alzheimer’s like symptoms, and depression rose in direct proportion to the number of concussions that a player sustained in his career. This Brain Condition has been Known to become Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a progressive degenerative brain disease found in individuals with a history of concussions and brain trauma. Many other NFL players have been found to suffer from this condition including Andre Waters and Chris Henry. I am sure there are many other former players that have died and been not been diagnosed properly. In light of the recent tragedy with Javon Belcher, I think that it is important to note that these tragedies should not bring the focus to blame the NFL or guns or violence in general. Instead, I think the focus should be on these brain injuries and more research should be done on mental illness in general. As stated, athletes even though they are put on a pedestal, are humans just like you and I. I think it’s also important to note that society as a whole should become more aware if mental illness and what it can do to people as far as life and death. I am sure that the added pressures of being an athlete contribute to these tragedies, but it all goes back to mental illness. Instead of focusing on the weapon (guns are used for an infinite amount of crime), the focus should be on why??? I think why can be somewhat linked to mental illness. That is where the research should be generated and all Professional Sports entities should put more stock in this area as well as raising awareness among its peers. All of these tragedies are extremely sad. I also do not think its a coincidence that most of these have occurred at or around the holidays. It’s a known fact that depression rises the closer we get to the holidays and that the added stress of this time period can lead to mental frustration. Combine this frustration with someone whose mind is altered by an injury and we have a recipe for disaster. No one will ever know exactly why Javon Belcher did what he did…but I’m sure that he was not mentally well and I’m sure that this directly led to the actions that occurred on Saturday. With this tragedy, it is extremely important that society as well as the league does not focus on the wrong area. Just like my previous post on violence and music, I think this is another case that you have to look past the weapon and look to the reasons why someone would do such a thing. Until mental illness is further researched, these types of tragedies will continue not only in sports but also in society in general. These tragedies just bring the issue to the surface and raise awareness that something must be done. Well, hopefully the NFL will use this incident as a proper tool to create awareness of brain injuries and the importance of playing the game by the rules and staying away from intentionally trying to injure someone. Concussions and brain injuries are serious and unfortunately they lead to such violence.

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