RJ's Corner

Use of Deadly Force….

But the chief said he ultimately decided Miller’s mistakes required his firing. While he said he had “serious concerns” about Miller’s use of deadly force, Johnson said it would be up to a grand jury to decide whether Miller’s actions were criminal.

Source: Police Chief Fires Officer Who Shot and Killed Unarmed Texas Football Player | TIME.

I’m not going to talk much about the story cited above but instead I will be talking about the “Use of Deadly Force”.  For the most part this is probably an American thing. I’m sure that we are number one in the world of unarmed citizens being killed by police.  Our obsession with guns in American culture also contributes greatly to this phenomenon.  Besides the loss life, which is tragic, the loss respect and even down right fear of a policeman is very worrisome.

2015-07-31_07-04-42To me, but what do I know, the basic problem seems to be that one of the endemic characteristics of some who join police forces is a power trip. They want to be the top alpha dog who is feared for their power.  They have the gun and can most often, at least in the past, can use it against you whenever they “feel threatened” which seems to be often for far too many.

I need to stop here and say as loudly as I can that no not all policemen fit this description.  I’m sure the vast majority of them are loving and caring folks who do indeed want to “protect and serve”. If I believe some of the stories I hear very few of them use their deadly weapons in their careers.  I personally know one retired police officer who is the kindest and gentlest person I know.

The problem  is that we seem to do a very miserable job of culling out those extreme alpha males from the ranks of the wanna-be police officers.  And when they do join the forces they are fiercely protected even when they misuse their power and kill innocent people.  The “thin blue line” that says we protect one of our own at all costs is a mistake.  One indication of this is the total disdain that most officers apparently have for their internal affairs divisions. Why, if you believe all the cop shows out there, are those who police the police so despised? If they hate those who police them then why should they be surprised that so many of us don’t hold them in respect?




One thing that spreads across the U.S. landscape are distressed rural buildings.  Now that corporations pretty much have taken over the old small farm buildings have been abandoned. I have more than 800 photos to help document them before they are all gone.

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Forgive and Forget…

EggsIt’s amazing how our pets can so easily forgive and forget.  If only we humans could learn that lesson from them.  While I was talking to my wife recently, Dexter our cat proceeded to attack my right foot. He does this on occasion but this time it was annoying and I kicked him off. He took off like a rocket then stopped to give me a glaring look before going into hiding.  An hour later while we were sitting on the deck getting our usual dose of the morning sun he came back and everything was forgiven. Our pets just don’t hold grudges.

When my wife and I get into arguments, maybe I should call them “differences of opinion”, she has the habit of bringing up things  that happened decades ago. I don’t think she has ever forgotten anything that she thinks I have done wrong and she seems to think I do almost everything wrong. :)

Sometimes I pull out my t-shirt that has the following saying on it just to remember that this characteristic is probably a female thing and not just my wife.

Man wrong T-Sshirt

Why do we humans hang on to so much negative thoughts? Why can’t we just forgive and then forget?

That is a question that takes a wiser guy than me to answer….




Indoctrination and God…

2015-08-11_08-49-14WENDY THOMAS RUSSELL:  I did a survey of 1,000 nonreligious parents to find out exactly that. And the top reason cited was, people weren’t sure how to talk about religion without indoctrinating their kids into what they believed themselves. That was a hard line.

The other one was interacting with religious family members and keeping the peace in families. When you’re raising a child who is in a secular household, how do you bridge the gap between the older generations who may be more rigidly religious?

JEFFREY BROWN: This word indoctrinating is an important one, because it comes up time and time again here. What’s the difference between indoctrinating and guiding children, right?


Indoctrination, I see, as almost the antithesis of critical thinking. Of course it’s fine to guide your children, but I see indoctrination as sort of this middle ground between full-on brainwashing and guidance. it’s stronger than — it’s stronger than just merely guidance.

I see indoctrination as telling children that there is only one way to believe, and that all other ways and people who believe all other things are less worthy of our respect, less intelligent, less moral. It’s that — that’s the crucial issue, because I think that, when you do that, you set up your child to be bigoted against those who don’t believe the way that you do. You know, we are — it’s not a black-and-white world

Source: The secular parent’s guide to teaching kids about faith.

Although not important to the purposes of this post, the interview above is about a book Wendy Thomas Russell wrote about how to discuss the topic of God with your children.  I know for the very religious fundamentalists among us the idea that we indoctrinate or brainwash our kids into believing what we believe is tantamount to heresy. But to the secular or even those of us who are spiritual but not particularly religious it seems to be a viable statement.

As mentioned several times on this blog I did a very serious ten year study over at RedLetterLiving on the topic of beliefs and religion. During that time I learned just how diverse the beliefs in God are. There are currently over 35,000 different versions of Christianity and each one believes they are the ones who have it right.  From personal experiences I learned this truth the hard way in being told I didn’t tow the line close enough and informed I was no longer welcomed.

“Telling children that there is only one way to believe, and that all other ways and people who believe all other things are less worthy of our respect, less intelligent, less moral” as the article mentions is the primary reason there is so much violence in the world today.  90% of the violence in the hotbed Middle East is muslims fighting each other. The other ten percent is their hate for the U.S.

I am very much a follower of Jesus Christ but not so much what his church, or any religion for that matter, has become.  If we ever want to see peace come to this earth we have got to get over thinking that when it comes to God our way is the only way. We Christians just need stop saying our particular brand of religion is the only “true” one.

Clean Out a Corner of Your Mind..


Our minds are just too filled with things that don’t matter much. All that stuff is stifling creativity.

Unskilled Labor..

A little over a hundred years ago the world was in a paradigm shift away from farming to manufacturing. This was a very disruptive thing for many who were living during those times. Cars were replacing the horse and buggy which had been the primary mode of transportation for more than a century. Automation of farm implements resulted in much less labor needed to produce the same goods. Things were changing and changing quickly.

2015-08-13_09-03-20Fifty years ago cars were made by thousands of workers lined up each doing a small part of the assembly. It was mind numbing work but paid well.  Paychecks were determined and made out by thousands of workers in row after row of desks doing a very small part of the overall task. 

2015-08-13_09-05-46Today those assembly line jobs are being done by robots and the paperwork is accomplished by a bank of computers controlled by a handful of technicians. The jobs are now in fields that require more training and imagination than anytime in the past. Like the last few paradigm shifts this one will also require as the definition of paradigm suggests some radical changes in the workforce. 

Does automation create a permanent lower class society who will always be poor??

 That is the basic question for our times. Will there now be a class of people who are always poor. Yes, but the percentage of workers in that category is what is at stake. Flipping hamburgers and many other service jobs will never, and have never, been a high paying occupation. It was meant as a starting place or as the first rung of the ladder upward. Teenagers and recent immigrants started there.  Automation will be an ongoing thing for many years to come. That is a given. To “move on” requires a more knowledgable worker than ever before. 

Are we currently up to that task?  The answer is NO…

An educated workforce requires, well, education. That is a very simple matter but obtaining that education is not so simple. The cost of education is now beyond what many can deal with. Much of the rest of the world has moved to publicly financed education beyond the fundamental twelve years of schooling. We in the U.S. are stuck in the past in that regard.  Education in general just does not have the importance that it does in other parts of the world. 

Even the quality of the currently publicly funded education varies widely from one geographic area to another. Since education remains a local thing areas of affluence have a much higher quality educational facilities and staff than does the typical rural communities. Since there is no national process driving education this disparity will likely continue unabated.

In order to move into the new paradigm will require a basic change in thinking of how we train the workers of today and tomorrow.  It’s as simple as that. 

Ten Headed Monster???

Ten Headed Monster

This is kind of an eerie picture but in reality it was once a thing of great beauty. As the cycle of life typically goes it was once a beautiful flower in my wife’s garden

Something For Nothing…

2015-08-12_18-19-20But since Piotrowski describes property taxes as “unethical, unchristian-like” and a form of “financial slavery,” he decided to make a statement.

“Since I’m being forced to pay for something against my own will, I’m paying in pennies,” he told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

SOURCE: This man collected 50,000 pennies to make a statement about paying his property taxes – Yahoo Finance.

QE BannerI don’t know about you but these sort of stories get on my nerves but kind of like a train wreck I just can’t seem to look away. This guy claims paying taxes is “unethical, unchristian-like and a form of financial slavery”. Oh come on…. Paying taxes is a very necessary part of living in a democracy. Who does this guy think builds our bridges, maintains our police and fireman forces, and a myriad of other services we come to expect? Those things don’t come free and I’m sure this guy’s eyes glaze over when someone tries to explain that to him.

Its bad enough that he is ignorant enough to think paying his share of taxes is unethical and financial slavery but he had to add his religious leanings too. Yeah I know there are a lot of conservative, especially evangelical, Christians out there that don’t want to be forced to pay for things like helping the needy, infirm, or mentally challenged. Jesus Christ made it very clear that we are to be our brother’s keeper and since  religious organization do remotely begin to meet that need we should happily support our government do so in our place. But again, I’m sure this guy’s eyes also glaze over when that is explained to him.

I kind of put this guy in the same league of all those millionaires who have off-shore accounts to hide their money so they don’t have to pay their share of taxes. Both are shameful.  Before you say I am painting with too broad a brush here I will say that fortunately this guy does not represent the majority, or even a slight minority of Christians  with this behavior the same as that rich guy doesn’t represent everyone who has more money than they know what to do with… I kind of hope this yahoo got a hernia from lifting his 50,000 pennies :)

Tattooed Horse

Found this tattooed horse in downtown Louisville a few years ago. It was around Kentucky Derby time.

Creative Horse


The Blue Jays of Life…

Birds at FeederSeeing all the blue jays hoarding the feeder just now got me to thinking about life. It doesn’t take much to get me to thinking these days. :)

About Life BannerWe feed over half a ton of sunflower seed annually in our backyard feeders. There is a big variety of birds that come and go. Cardinals are one of my favorites probably because of their bright color. I just seem to like bright colors at this time in my life. My “inferno orange” Chevy Sonic is a testimony to that.  Anyway, getting back on topic, at least once a day a large number of blue jays show up. When they come they drive all the others currently frequenting the feeder away. They take over the neighborhood. My wife tells me they do it with a lot of noise too.

Now to the “about life” portion of this post. I always like to see connections from one part of life to another and seeing those birds brought to mind the “blue jays of life”.  That is those people who move into a neighborhood and proceed to play their music too loud, leave their grass un-mowed, and generally be an annoyance in one form or another to everyone else. There is almost always one of those families in every neighborhood. In my younger years some of my neighbors probably considered me to be one.

To finish off this post I want to tell you that the picture here was taken in February. I was too lazy to drag out my camera this time so I pulled a pic from my archives.   So, no we don’t have snow in August in Indiana. :)



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