Jumping to Conclusions – Again (Shirley Sherrod, BP, and the Lockerbie Bomber)

July 26, 2010

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Last week The Crunchy Conservative had an article about Shirley Sherrod (the woman at the USDA who was dismissed after a tape of her speech before the NAACP was released.  This tape apparently exposed her as a racist (anti-white as she is African-American) and using her position within the government to penalize a white farmer.  The NAACP and the White House condemned her, but have since apologized for not knowing the whole story.  I commented on that article that we (average people not in the US government) will probably never know the whole story.  I have listed to the entire tape (at least what is reported as the entire tape) and I still find very little to be sympathetic to her about.  Having been a former civil servant, I am appalled that what her customer looked like had any bearing on her fulfilling her duties.  (I must admit that I completely agree with responding to verbal attacks with reduced service).  Civil servants are basically the store clerks of the government.  Most have no authority and have to put up with a lot of abuse.

So, should she have been fired?  I have no idea.  But now we have a new flash news story, where the instant media is demanding action.  Apparently, the British head of British Petroleum (BP, the guys with the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico) is alleged to have been part of the negotiations to release the Lockerbie bomber.  For this, the press is demanding that he be fired.  I find this as bizarre as the firing of a USDA official.  If he was involved in the discussion, why not a public outcry when it happened?  Why wait until now when some in the government and many in the media want to punish BP for the oil rig accident?  (Editor’s note – Peter Rabbit wrote an article condemning the release last year – but indeed, the BP connection was not mentioned).

So what do we, as average people, know?  First we know that Tony Hayward is the CEO of BP and was in BP upper management at the time the Lockerbie bomber was released.  Second, we know (?) that BP was given drilling privileges off the cost of Libya after the release.  Third we know that BP officials (maybe Hayward) testified before the Scottish parliament for the release.  From this, he needs to be fired.  And the firing need to happen right now, with no trial or questions asked.

I truly fear that our society has no attention span, and no ability to discern logical cause and effect.  We are an instant gratification society.  We want the fastest internet -getting the news storey up first is more important than getting it right – and even the fastest food.  We complain about being fat, so we need instant weight reduction (no long term commitment or high effort), and we still eat fast food.  Perhaps we are just spoiled.  We expect and get fresh food all year long, we get 120 stations and TiVO so that we can watch anything we want instead of waiting for a show we want to watch.

In the end, let’s go back to the source of this rant.  Should these people be fired?  I don’t know.  Is it any of our business?  I say emphatically, NO!

Bomb a Plane, Get a Pardon

August 21, 2009

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My writing spot is normally not for another couple weeks but this Middle East story was too big to ignore. I am sure most of you reading this have already heard or seen what happened this week with Al Megrahi “the Lockerbie bomber” but I needed to recap. First let me apologize if my writing sounds angry but I am.

So the story is that this guy bombed a Pan AM flight back in 1988 which killed 259 people. Of those 189 were Americans but that is not critical to my rant or to the story. This happened over Lockerbie Scotland hence his nickname. He was convicted in 2001 and was sentenced to life in prison. He was recently diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer with three months to live so the Scottish released him so he could “die at home”. Here are my many problems with this.

  1. I am not a big supporter of the death penalty but you know some people clearly deserve it. Why does a guy who consciously kills 259 people get to live?
  2. Why the compassion of letting him die at home? Many people serving a life sentence end up dying in prison and some have done far less evil things like maybe only killing one person instead of 259. On top of that, why give compassion to someone who had none. He didn’t let anyone off that plane or give anyone a way to escape. I am sure the 259 people included children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and many people that deserved to “die at home”. He was also convicted only in 2001 so this is not a guy that served 60 years with good behavior so society was ready to forgive him and give him a decent way to exist this world. This guy served a handful of years, probably fewer than a common drug dealer.
  3. What happens if he doesn’t die in three months? What happens if he miraculously recovers?
  4. Lastly and maybe the most upsetting part is he got a hero’s welcome when he arrived in Libya. Has the world lost all decency? I think we should have bombed the entire crowd that showed up for him. This type of reaction shows you exactly why you can’t negotiate with terrorists – Hezbollah, Hamas and the rest of them. They kill and die for honor, human life has no value which makes them an impossible foe.

In closing, before you comment go talk to someone who had someone they knew murdered. It should not be that hard to find a person. Just ask anyone who had family members in the Holocaust. Once you talk to them, see if you would have the same compassion for this man.