Freedom of Conscience
There’s a group in our country who wants what they want. They communicate these wants through their leaders.
So, what do they want?
One example is something they want is atheists out of America. We know this through messages (called sermons) from official representatives of their organizations (called churches) led by official spokespersons (called preachers). Further, we know these messages are official because the membership (called congregations) has indicated support by voting (called money) for these representatives.
Another example (as if we needed more) is elected representatives (called Republicans) trying to control other human beings (called legislation) extending the “rights” of some to the detriment of others. These are the so-called Freedom of Conscience laws.
A few attempts have failed so far, including the one in Arizona just this week, but make no mistake about it. More are on the way. This will continue until one becomes the law of the land, at which point it will be appealed (at great expense) where it will finally be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Now, I know that this combative group isn’t representative of all religious, conservative, Republican folks out there. There are lots of good, sincere and well-intentioned people on both sides of most any issue. (Even if one side stubbornly refuses to admit it.) But these types are supported by enough people that their messages often have as much power as a gathering storm.
The Freedom Of Conscience strategy represents a shift from the time-honored traditions of “abomination” and “you’re going to Hell.” One thing about the Culture War: It never ends and scouts are always being dispatched to probe for weaknesses along enemy lines.
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Hit and Run: The Solution
Yesterday, while feeling angry after watching the news, I spewed some aggression in the form of a blog post about the heinous problem of hit-and-run drivers.
Today, I’m back for more of the same, but this time without the aggression. This time I have the solution.
Google and the like may be feverishly pouring millions (billions?) into pie-in-the-sky dreams about cars that can drive themselves. Ostensibly this will solve the hit-and-run problem once and for all. I hope they spare a few subroutines for things like hit-and-run morality. (With embedded advertising, of course.) Perhaps a Fourth Law of Robotics? “This robot will not allow asshole human beings to override operation after an accident in an attempt to break the law. Check out the hot deals on polar fleece at Old Navy.”
One can dream.
Meanwhile, we need a solution in the here and now. We can’t afford to wait.
What I propose is simple: A federal law that mandates installation of an Accident Reporting Device (ARD) in all vehicles. This device will, when an accident is detected, immediately communicate, via satellite, the following information to a national law enforcement database:
- Unique vehicle ID
- GPS coordinates
- Collected accident data (location on vehicle, type of impact, force of impact, etc.)
The law will be written in such a way that operating a motor vehicle with an ARD that has been tampered with or disabled in any way will be a serious crime. This will be treated in similar fashion to refusal to submit to a sobriety test.
When vehicles are stopped by law enforcement they shall have the authority to conduct an inspection of the ARD to ensure compliance. This is similar to the authority to ask for proof of insurance.
Costs of the ARD program will be passed on to consumers.
Vehicles will be required to pass ARD compliance testing every 24 months before vehicle registration is issued.
Any ARD compliance violation will result in suspension of driving privileges for one year (or more for each subsequent violation).
The purpose of the program is to give law enforcement a simple yet powerful tool to fight crimes like hit-and-run. In the event of an accident involving hit-and-run, the database can be checked to easily determine which vehicles were involved. The database may have other uses, like identifying vehicles involved in large incidents, etc.
Some might raise objections to a program like this on privacy grounds or that it creates more bureaucracy. Both are legitimate concerns.
Regarding privacy, the program is mostly non-invasive in that it only “pings” during an event and the law should be written with privacy in mind. (For example, the database can only be queried, by law enforcement, when certain criteria is met.) Further, since the ARD only reports during an accident, privacy concerns are minimal. The ARDs shall be designed and constructed in such a way “on-demand” or continuous tracking is impossible.
As with all bureaucracy, the question becomes one of cost (both money and rights) vs. public benefit. I would argue that a program like this is minimal in cost while providing almost incalculable benefit. The cost of doing nothing is to continue to allow those responsible for death, serious injury and property damage to have an opportunity to escape unchecked. Approximately ten percent of all vehicle accidents in the United States currently involve hit-and-run. Some of them are never solved.
It’s just that simple. Problem solved. You’re welcome.
Sadly, binary is not a workable template for real world problems. Most things are just not that simple. They don’t fit neat and tidy in the binary box. Oh, how I wish they would.
Drive drunk? I feel that should be classified as “attempted murder.” Society, as usual, doesn’t agree with me. “No jail time for killing four pedestrians while driving with a BAC three times over the legal limit and not even old enough to drink.” That wee bit of difference of opinion on punishment makes me an outlier, I guess. Of course, that’s an extreme example, yet to my way of thinking, punishment in even garden variety DUII cases falls woefully short.
Cheat on your spouse? That should also be “attempted murder.” It’s all so simple to me. Pick up a deadly disease, bring it to your marital bed, and pay it forward with a potential disease that could theoretically kill the person who trusts you the most. There should be serious punishment for that. Far too often the only real punishment is going back to your regular life like nothing ever happened. Not much of a deterrent, eh?
In brief, my point is that without certain and meaningful consequence there is absolutely no limit on behavior. Period.
I believe a certain percentage of people just don’t give a shit. Perhaps they are motivated by drug addiction. Perhaps they are psychopaths and/or sociopaths and it’s what they do. Maybe they were brought into the world and damaged beyond repair by parents, environment and random events. Whatever the reason, it makes little difference in the end. The outcomes are similar. The themes of destruction and causing harm are remarkably consistent.
We tend to expect it from these folks. No big surprises there.
What about the rest of us? We’re good, right?
Hold on. Let’s not be too hasty.
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There’s really no point to this post. Leave. Now. -Ed.
Feed. It’s what’s for dinner. Mmm. That sounds good. I’ll have that! Yeah, I’m a hundred and six years old, and I still make my own bread! (Prideful braggart.)
Well, what do you want to eat? Mmm. Do you have biscuit with a little bit of mustard on it? Mmm.
I don’t know about your family but in my family we have this tradition. Any time we assemble to break break together (or biscuit or whatever) there’s one thing we’ll do for sure: Discuss and speculate about the next meal a comin’.
It’s pretty much the exact opposite of being mindful and appreciative. Someone went to a lot of effort and bother to put this food before us. First, they had to have a vision and plan the damn thing, and that may be the hardest part of all. Then they went to a grocery store and spent money on stuff and brought it home. Then, using recipes and their own skills, prepared, assembled and cooked it all together while we sat on our lazy asses.
Yeah, I think they deserve more appreciation than us talking about the next meal we plan to shove in our face holes.
That said, where do you wanna go? To eat? That’s the conversation my wife and I had last night.
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Gold nugget economics: I’m gold, you’re poop
Here it is, my fourth blog post ever. It’s famous for being the first appearance of the word “poop” here in the Abyss. As we all know, from those humble beginnings, a word that went on to become King of the Hill in my tag cloud. I still believe in Gold Nugget Economic theory, in fact, now more than ever. I hope you will, too.
This theory states that whatever “I” produce is always considered to be of the highest possible value – the gold. Conversely, whatever “you” produce is always considered to be of the lowest possible value – the poop.
I’ll provide a couple examples of this theory in action.
When you are the consumer, you are often forced to accept very severe and rigid terms if you want a service or product. The accounts you maintain as a customer will not hesitate to slap your ass with things like instant shut off the second you are past due, penalties, interest, nasty notices, etc. As a business person, though, if you have accounts that are seriously…
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Sochi Olympics: Do the Right People win Gold?
I wanted something about the Olympics for this week’s reblog and this post wins the gold. It’s a well-written piece that raises more questions than it answers. What do you think? Are the right people winning the gold in Sochi?