MEDIA DRAMA

This past December, one of the worst school shootings in US history occurred in Sandy Hook Connecticut at a small elementary school. 20 Children and adults were murdered in cold blood that day. I remember being at work and all of the employees rushing in to tell those of us at work the terrible news. During that week, it was hard to see anything on television or the news that was not dominated by gun debates and school violence and what measures should be taken.

Here we are…it’s almost the end of April. I mean, that day will never be forgotten, but just like September 11th, the media craze has fazed out. That’s the problem with our media today. The American media is like “up the stories ass.” Literally, our media is dangerous in my opinion. And you are hearing from someone who has very drastic political views and ideas regarding daily ideology. Sometimes, I even get obsessed with these news stories.

The ironic thing about these sad stories is that the majority of them involve evil of some sort. Why is the human brain drawn to evil and bad things. Why are our brains so wired to want to view “bad news.” Well, there is actually scientific evidence that the human brain is attracted to these kinds of tragedies and disasters. The reason we are attracted to violence is because we fear and want to be able to protect ourselves. Unfortunately, today’s media and news sector takes these “bad occurrences” and blows them up tenfold. It’s like the News Media is relentless to one up each other.

It’s the battle of the fittest with the news trying to capture as much footage on video as possible. Many times in today’s society, this footage is actually filmed live. Unfortunately, the overpowering media has a way of desensitizing we as humans towards violence. I mean, I can remember so many people blaming heavy metal, rap music, video games and movies for causing violence. However, I feel that the news media is more dangerous and has a more telling factor in adding to the growing violence.

Think back to two Monday’s ago… The Boston Marathon Terror bombings. There was nonstop coverage from when the bombings occurred until Thursday and Friday when the suspects were nailed…one dying and one getting arrested in the hospital where he recovers from injuries sustained during a police standoff. Well, this just occurred two weeks ago and you are already seeing a media retreat from all of the epic footage and audio if the horrible tragedy.

On this Monday, two tragedies occurred on the same day. The Boston Bombings and the Texas Factory Explosion. It was almost like these were the only two stories being covered on television and “Nothing Else Matters.” It really was bad because children are wide awake at this time and If parents did not see them watching then they could be extremely traumatized by these events.

I respect the media and their quest to get us the most up to date news and keep us notified of what is going on around the world…especially locally. However, I feel that the media has become a dangerous avenue, almost like a cult. The media is extremely relentless and does not think of every persons different viewpoints when they cover these stories. They ask dumb questions like “Was being around the bombing scary?” This is just an outrage. Especially for someone who just dealt with this tragedy on a personal basis.

The Media needs to take a step back and go much slower with their coverage of these events. As I said, it’s like all or nothing. You are already not thinking about these bombings because the media did its damage already and now has retreated. Like if you also believe that our news media is dangerous. The media must realize this fact and look in the mirror. For all of our sakes. For the kids sakes. For the better benefit of society. God bless the people of Boston and Texas and God bless every other human that has personally been affected by all if These past tragedies…9/11, the Challenger Explosion, Hurricane Sandy, the school shootings, the shootings in the Denver Movie Theater, and all of the other tragedies if yesterday’s past.

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KILLER INSTINCT

On February of 2012, T.J. Lane walked into a crowded High School Cafeteria near Cleveland, Ohio and murdered three students…and wounded two others before walking out of the school. He consequently was arrested and then tried as an adult. Well, there has been so much debate in the past year regarding gun control legislation and harsher gun laws with the idea that these school shootings may decrease. I myself have done research in this area and have given my own opinions and ideas regarding these heinous acts of violence.

One key notion that I have learned through my research is that not one of these mass shootings are ever completely alike and the weapons of choice have been a multitude of variety…not just automatic or semi automatic as in the Connecticut Elementary Shootings this past December.

Ok…Lets take a look at what happened yesterday when TJ Lane had his sentence hearing in court. When TJ was first arrested, he admitted to the murders, but he never truly gave a legitimate reason for them. A team of advanced medical doctors tried to prove that TJ is not sane and that he suffers from hallucinations and psychosis and fantasies. Well, what happened yesterday should just further prove that there is so much more to these crimes than just the “weapon of choice.”

Yesterday during his sentence hearing, TJ calmly walked into the courtroom and was observed smiling and making obscene gestures in a random act of obscenity towards everyone in the courtroom. After he walked into court, he calmly unbuttoned his blue dress shirt and took it off revealing a T Shirt with the word “KILLER” across his chest. The prosecutor subtly noted that this shirt was similar to the one that the boy wore the day of the murders.

At an early point in the hearing, he swiveled his chair around towards the victims families as well as his own relatives and had a smug smile and out of no where stated,” The hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory.” and then pointed his middle finger at them and cursed at them insidiously. This act of violence has to show that there is more to this boy than just the murders and his choice of weaponry. TJ Lane is definitely mentally incapacitated. These actions are in line with somebody that has some serious mental issues. For someone to show no remorse like that means that they are not bothered by what they have done.

The important idea to note is that all of these past murders have been committed by people that share this same mental incapacity. I think this should be the overlying factor when investigating these crimes and trying to stop future ones from occurring. Yes, stricter gun laws should make it harder for people to get guns in their hands. But who is to say that these problem children will not turn to some other weapon. I mean, last time I looked you only need “one hand” to commit a murder. I am all for better legislation to control guns in this country and get automatic weapons off of our streets.

However, after doing so much research and reading about these different cases, I think that it is apparent that these acts are caused more by the mental state of the perpetrator than the “weapon” that they chose. I grew up around mental illness my whole life so I do have a better understanding of it than the average “Joe”. I also have saw first hand what mental illness can do to a person as well as a family that has to deal with all of the stressful moments. But C’MON, these people are not just mentally ill. What TJ Lane just did at this hearing was inexplicable. Not only that, it’s unexplainable. What makes someone behave in this manner.

I mean the boy just received 3 consecutive life sentences in prison for murdering three people and leaving two others critically injured for life. Do you think he would have shown just a tad more of remorse for the heinous crimes that he committed. Do you think he would have shown just a tad more respect to the judge in the courtroom hearing his case. I mean, this is like a candidate going into a room for an interview wearing ripped jeans sneakers and a torn shirt! People just don’t act this way normally. And in this setting, I mean the victims families just want closure and instead they get this last reminder. The boy who killed their family members cursing them out and blasphemy towards the dead and the last memory these parents will have will be the killer wearing a shirt that says exactly that “KILLER”.

I think going forward there definitely needs to be more attention paid to people who have mental illness. Not only that, the government needs to spend more money on research and reform for this area of medical concern that completely gets ignored most of the time. Yes, making weapons harder to purchase may limit these crimes but they will not continue to cease. In fact, as this world becomes more violent and “worldly” I believe these instances will continue to happen more often. TJ Lane is just another example of a normal kid gone wrong. He is somehow under Satan’s power and has to be possessed to commit such horrific acts in the courtroom. One could argue That these actions further prove that it’s the mental issue that must take precedence when investigating these acts.

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SANDY HOOK TRAGEDY

Today I am choosing to forgo my weekly NFL post for a much more important topic that must be discussed and cannot be ignored. Yes, The NFL goes on…day to day issues go on, life goes on…but the horrific tragedy that occurred in Sandy Hook is an issue that cannot be ignored and must be looked at. The first question that will never be answered is why? Why would another human being walk into a school and slaughter 27 people…20 of whom were young children. What could have been done to prevent this tragedy? Most people are focusing on The Gun-Control Debate. Some people are looking at mental illness as the major contributing factor to this massacre. Other people are citing the lack of school security as the main cause of this tragedy. There are many other topics of discussion that are being debated all around the country. No matter what view point these people have…we cannot ignore the main issue. That issue is that almost 30 people lost their lives in a sensible unexplained tragedy and many more family members, friends, first responders, school faculty members, and ALL PARENTS in the WORLD were terribly disturbed and effected by this tragedy.
There was an incident that occurred in an airport where a person tried to use a bomb in their shoe awhile back and immediately legislation and regulation was put into affect, with a law being passed that makes every passenger who enters an airport to take their shoes off before going through security. In retrospect…since Columbine there have been over 10 school shootings as well as many other murders in other areas of public meetings…but yet nothing has been done…NOTHING has been done to try and eliminate these senseless murders. So, first of all…what can be done right away that can limit these types of tragedies. I mean, no one will ever question the Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms, that is something that our forefathers voted on and agreed upon that should not be taken away. The Act…Mass Murders in Public Places. We should not look at this as Gun Control, but yet Gun Regulation. We are not talking about weapons that people use for hunting, or in their homes for self protection. Instead the issue is Automatic Assault Type Weapons. I don’t think that our ancestors that passed the Constitution, had these issues in mind when drafting the laws. How about looking at this in a logical way. There is NO REASON for average citizens to be able to purchase, transfer, sell, or use Automatic Assault Weapons for any reason. Why has the Government not acted immediately in this issue?!!!! The only people that should have access to these weapons ( let’s refer to automatic assault weapons as any weapon that can shoot off more than 10 rounds of bullets in succession) would be military, security, and law enforcement agents because these are the types of weapons that have been used in the majority of these killings. I myself am a hunter and I own weapons…but I also have the opinion that there is no reason for these assault weapons to be on our streets or in a normal citizens possession END OF STORY. Congress should be in the room TODAY to BAN ASSAULT WEAPONS IMMEDIATELY! Now let’s get to the bottom line. Banning Automatic Assault Weapons may not totally eliminate these types of tragedies but I can guarantee that it will greatly lower the amount of incidents. Ok…There should also be more strict and vigilant rules and regulations that would make it tougher for people to purchase any type of weapon…legal or not legal. I mean…There have been laws in so many areas of debate that has been passed to help stop tragedy. Let’s look at drunk driving. They have passed very strict rules regarding Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These laws have not stopped people from getting behind the wheel drunk or from driving drunk and killing others and themselves. However, the numbers have declined. To use the argument that passing a law will not make a difference in stopping tragedy from occurring is BULLSHIT and also a cop out. We owe it to the public, families, children of America and it is our duty to protect our children and citizens at all costs. This means, sitting back and doing nothing is not doing a good of help towards accomplishing this goal. We cannot sit back and say that violence is a part of society and that it will never be abolished! We know that…this is not a stretch. However, doing nothing is not an option. Ok, well that’s just a small part of the Gun Debate. We also must look at the mental illness issue. There are hundreds of thousands of people that are diagnosed each year with some type of mental illness. What about the millions of other people who have a mental illness that goes undiagnosed and unnoticed. What about the people that have mental illness and do not seek treatment. There are so many people who have mental problems that do not know it than the actual people that are diagnosed. The number of these people is probably double. This is a major problem that needs immediate action also. Now one would say…what can be done to help in this area. Well first of all, mental illness carries a stigma that makes the public all uncomfortable and unwilling to put the time and effort to study, implement money and funding for more research as well as sometimes even discuss the issue. Now my argument is virtually this. My father has bi polar disease. I have been around mental illness my entire life. My argument is that just because someone has mental illness, that it does not justify these mentally unstable people from committing these senseless irrational horrible acts of violence. As mentioned, my dad has bi-polar disorder and I can tell you for a fact that he would never ever consider walking into a building of innocent children and slaughtering these poor souls. In fact, most people that struggle with mental illness that will resort to some type of violence tend to take it out on themselves and other close family members. There is something different going on with these people. Yes, they are definitely mentally deranged in some capacity, but I would argue that something more powerful is at work here. These people are possessed by EVIL, The Devil, SATAN, LUCIFER, or whatever you want to refer to evil as. I don’t care what religion you believe in…Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism, Islamism, etc. No one can argue that Good and Evil does exist and that there are evil powers above our knowledge and understanding that are at work to try and destroy the good in the world. These people who are committing these acts of violence are not just mentally ill, they are tools of the devil. Now my argument is that mental illness definitely needs more attention as far as research, public awareness, teaching and education, and less stigma. You may have mental illness or depression and be scared to talk to someone about it. This is a major problem. People should not be ridiculed for having a mental disorder. So much education, funding, and testing is used for Cancer, Tumors, AIDS, And other terminal illness. But what about mental illness…where is the funding and insurance and help for these people. It’s like a plague…no one wants to face the facts that this illness is alive and well and destroying millions of lives and families every year. This is also a problem, just like the lack of Weapons Regulation. The third area of concern is School security. When these types of tragedies occur don’t you think we should look at the failure and lack of school security and follow through. As these tragedies keep occurring, I think it’s time that we focus on strengthening that area. I mean I work for a Supermarket and we have unbelievable security to protect what? To protect assets and money. WTF!!!!! Merchandise and money is just that…This can be replaced. Human life cannot be replaced. So my argument would be that more funding should be put into better security for these schools as well as training. I mean at my work we have all types of training for bomb scares, power failures, natural disasters. Well how about Random Acts of Violence! This should be an immediate priority. Now I am in no way condoning concealed weapons in schools, this could easily end up in the same way. But there has to be better training for these situations starting with how a person would be able to enter a school with weapons of mass destruction. We have security in our Airports and people still get through with bombs. We need to emphasize security in the schools as a top priority as well because we have a duty to protect these children at all costs. This type of debate could go on forever and yes I’m sure everyone has their own opinion. Even if they totally banned weapons ownership, violence would still occur. But we as a country cannot have the attitude that we are going to sit back and just be reactive to these despicable acts! We need to be proactive in all facets wether gun regulation, mental illness awareness, security preservation, and protection of our young…less video games, less violence on television, less violence in music, all of these areas must be addressed. Yes, the United States is a country that shared the most freedom. However, with freedom comes a price. Does this price have to continue to be loss of innocent lives? I would argue, NO WAY! There must be something done now…this cannot be argued. A normal civilian has no business having an assault rifle with unlimited firing capability with numerous magazines and clips. Put a ban in TODAY on all assault weapons immediately. The NRA needs to put human life in front of its own agendas. Banning assault weapons does not mean banning guns for private use such as target shooting, hunting, self defense. It just means getting these other weapons off of our streets and in turn these killings will lessen. Lets face it, violence will always exist…we are inherently evil. We all sin at one or more times in our life. However, to sit back is to condone violence. Mental Illness awareness needs to be a top priority for science and researchers as well a public awareness and education. And security in schools must be a top priority going forward. It’s sad that it always takes a tragedy for people to become awake and share their opinions. We as a society need to become more proactive and less reactive. Stay tuned…I will continue to blog about this topic until something is done to fix the issue. Please feel free to comment and share your viewpoints. To all those that lost their lives and were effected by this and other past tragedies…my prayers and condolences go out to you and my deepest sympathy. Also, I pray that God will put an end to the Devil and his horrible influence on other human beings.

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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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