People need to get punched in the face more often.

This article has been going the rounds lately. Before you read the rest of my post, check it out.

Frankly, the author has a point, a pretty damn good one.

In many modern societies, violence is not only frowned upon, it’s is considered inherently wrong. And as a result anybody involved with anything that comes close to violence is regarded with suspicion and incomprehension at best. More often than not, they’re seen as a brute or a barbarian. Given that martial arts are a big part of my life, I’ve run into this mindset now and then, to put it mildly…

The funny part is how this post captures the essence of several conversations I’ve had this last week. Here goes.

The one with a former teacher.

We talked about how before, you wrote the student a note when he misbehaved in class and that was the end of it. Now she has to write four different notes: for the parents, for the principal, for the administration and for a monitoring committee. Then the parent writes a note back or calls her up to complain and the whole process starts over. Writing two notes during a given hour in school means she has more work than it’s worth. So teachers don’t do it unless absolutely necessary and little Johnny learns squat because he gets away with everything in class.

Later on, the parents complain because their kid gets bad grades or fails every class. And then they blame the teacher…

They fail to see the problem, which is: it’s not the teacher’s job to raise your kid, it’s yours. If he acts like a total prat and you refuse to have him punished, regardless of whatever crap he pulls, then you have no right complaining when he doesn’t pass. None.

My mother was a school teacher so I know a wee bit of what I speak: it didn’t use to be like this. Kids were supposed to go to school and if they got bad grades, they got punished by their parents. People didn’t shift responsibility for the upbringing of their children to the school system and its teachers instead of doing it themselves. The took care of their own, they handled the responsibility. Today, this is less and less the case.

 

The insane gunman.

Last week, an insane gunman went to a Christmas Market here in Belgium and killed five people. He threw grenades into the crowd and opened up with automatic gunfire before killing himself. [Read more…]

Police use of force and occupy wall street, Part 2: The UC Davis Pepper Spray Incident

Turns out a lot of people got upset after my Police use of force and Occupy Wall Street post; a lot of them sent me an email and weren’t particularly nice in the way they voiced their disagreement with what I wrote. Disagreeing with me is perfectly fine, of course. But being rude isn’t. So, all of you who want to give me a piece of your mind after reading this post, don’t bother. I won’t read, nor reply to any mail starting with “You asshole!”… :-)

 

Anyway, I’ve been involved in a discussion on this topic in another forum and some good points were made there. I won’t rehash them here but would like to mention one of them. Because I think it’s relevant to what I said in my previous post on this subject:

The Occupy Wall Street protesters are not ignorant on how to manipulate the media.

There is a lot to be said about this but I’m not going to. Do your research on how protesters train for and plan their actions and you might be amazed at how it places some things in another perspective. Case in point, the infamous UC Davis Pepper Spray incident.

By now, everybody has already seen this:

Looking at this clip only, the police look like total dipshits for pepper spraying the hell out of protesters who are innocently sitting there…

Turns out, that’s not really what happened… There’s a lot more to it than that. Check out this video of everything that happened before the pepper spraying started. Make sure to watch the whole thing before reading on: [Read more…]

Police use of force and occupy wall street

The Occupy Wall Street movement has proven once again that the public at large understands close to nothing about police use of force, policies and basic constitutional rights. I wrote about this a few weeks ago right here, so you might want to read my thoughts there first.

Also, head on over to Marc MacYoung’s blog (and I’m ecstatic that he’s taken up blogging after I’ve nagged him about it repeatedly) to read a very good explanation of some of the key components people flat out don’t (want to?) understand about this issue.

There is a lot I could say about Occupy Wall Street, but I’m not going to. There doesn’t seem to be much of a point to me. I’m also not going to talk about police use of force again because I did that in that previous blog post already. There are however a few things I’d like to point out but before I do that, some more info:

  • I’m not a US citizen, I’m Belgian. So in a lot of ways, the Occupy Wall Street movement isn’t relevant to me. I have no say in US politics, can’t vote there, etc. Though the really sarcastic thing about it is that many of the decisions made by the US government have a huge impact upon my country and my daily life. But we’re not going to go there today either…
  • I’m not claiming to be an expert on police procedures. I have studied the topic quite a bit and have numerous friends and students who are both active and retired police officers. So I think I’m not talking out of the wrong orifice on this subject…
  • Though I do have some sympathy for the movement, I also think there’s a lot of bullshit going on. As much as the idea behind it might be sound, the way they’re going about it seems counterproductive to me. There’s also the danger of it spiraling out of control and leading to a very dark path indeed. But I’m not going to go all doom and gloom on you right before the weekend.
  • Re-read the previous bullet and remember it by the time you get to the end of this post… I am not saying the Occupy Wall Street is inherently wrong. I am saying I disagree with certain parts of how they are trying to achieve their goals. In other words, I dislike their methods, not their message.

 

That said, here’s something that is total bullshit to me: [Read more…]

What’s the point?

This post is a bit different from others and touches upon some darker things you might not want to read about  right before the weekend. So if you’d rather skip this one, I totally understand. That said, I still want to share it with you if you’re up for it.

What's the point

Your future: dust and bones.

One of the crucial questions in life every one sooner or later has to answer is “What’s the point?” Sometimes, this question is phrased as “What’s the meaning of life?” but I like the first one better because it doesn’t have as much religious and philosophical baggage. Some people answer this question once and are done with it. Others struggle with it throughout their lives. I faced it first when I was a young boy and have made my peace with it not so long ago. Though every now and then, the question is forced back into the forefront of my mind for a little while. Today is one of those times, for a variety of reasons all coming together.

  • A while ago, I visited the site at St. Rombuld’s cathedral in Mechelen. It was a sunny day and you could see the skeletons lying bare on the ground with archeologists working on them. The burial grounds date back a thousand years so it was an opportunity to see something you don’t often come across in daily life.
  • Also a while ago, my son was having issues facing life and death. I explained to him how I saw it and he was relieved to hear he wasn’t alone with his questions. We talked for a long time and he felt better afterwards.
  • Last year, I heard one of my friends drowned in the ocean. He lived in the US and we weren’t as  in touch as we used to because of it. But a month before his death, we had a long talk on the phone and he sounded the best I’d ever heard him.
  • That made me remember a high school friend who burned alive in a car crash when we were 18. It had been a while since I’d thought of him.
  • Just this morning, I heard of somebody losing two of his children in less than five months time. I can’t begin to imagine his pain.

Bring all this together and that essential question comes back to me: what’s the point of it all? [Read more…]