Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Chimpanzees granted legal status as persons.

What does it mean to be a person? According to the Oxford Dictionary of English: "Person;1 a human being regarded as an individual; (in legal or formal context) an unspecified individual."(Soanes & Stevenson, 2005)
Animal rights has long been a contentious issue on both sides of the moral and ethical fence. Animals have for along time in mans history have had very little in the way of legal protection from abuse and misuse. This is not to say that there have not been established rules concerning animals. For example there are religious laws found in both the Bible and the Koran that dictate how animals are to treated that concern beasts of burden, and the proper way in which to slaughter an animal for food.

In modern times it has become a more conscious issue. Most everyone is aware that for century's animals have been used in science to find answers for all types of questions. These experiments did not consider the animals rights. Which is to say, the animal used in the experiment was not asked if he/she would consent to the experiment. They simply had no choice.

As science learned more about the biology of the earths discovered inhabitants, we have learned that we are all not so different from one another. we all have a language in which we communicate and we have greater similarities that now  makes it harder to ignore the  line that we had once been seen as defined. The line is now becoming a little fuzzy.

Very recently an organization known as Nonhuman Rights Project has won the first part in a legal battle concerning two Chimpanzees( Leo and Hercules) being used for Bio-medical research at Stony Brook University. The University will be represented by the New York attorney general.

Now, I sat and thought about this, and it didn't take long to imagine the tidal wave of issues that could arise from this. If, for example, the Nonhuman Rights Project were to win this fight, then the Chimpanzees would most likely be remanded to Save the Chimps, an organization that takes care of these animals in a preserve. Now before you celebrate this, think about this...I'm willing to wager a bet that as soon as that were to happen, someone will say "Not so Fast! Leo and Hercules are now persons; you cant cage them up in a preserve! They need to be set free!" Laughable you might say, but most likely a reality, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. If you really want to open the door on who has rights and what they might be, don't be surprised when your cat , Mr. Fluffy is convicted of murder of Mr Mortimer Mouse, a person who was dis-enfranchised and just happened to be living in the wall of your home. a home where Mr. Fluffy is also a resident.

It's possible you may think me being foolish, but if you had been alive a hundred years ago and someone had told you that this day concerning Leo and Hercules would soon arrive, what would have been your reaction then? For now, please feel free to do as I have done and let your mind take this idea and run with it. Let me know where you end up.


Soanes, C., & Stevenson, A. (Eds.). (2005). Oxford Dictionary of English (2nd,REV. ed.). London: Oxford University Press. Retrieved April 22, 2015

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Winning with no honest investment The Ultimate Hedonistic life style?

Winning! "everybody loves a winner", because "second place is the first loser" as the saying goes. The struggle to win in cultures around the world says allot about the human species. It means survival, and coming out on top. It seems to say that we are a success. We worked hard and if we work hard enough, we will one day win. "Never, Never give up" is what Winston Churchill urged us in our struggle to win.Winning is what the Olympics is all about.

Winning is more than just survival and being the best; it makes us feel good as well, and people take notice if we win, which makes us feel good too. How about winning if we never competed? Certainly that is pleasure without pain, which is the goal if we crave a hedonistic lifestyle. We win and there is no pain; the pain that we would certainly experience if we actually had to perform some type of act to become proficient enough to win.

Apparently, this type of utilitarianism is precisely the type of hedonism a woman in St. Louis was trying to achieve when she entered the race at the very end to come in number one. According to one published report she came in even before the lead bicycle escort. Of course it didn't take long before she was found out and stripped of the win. " I've been robbed!" she might have thought, when the feeling of elation of the win evaporated with the looks of befuddlement and disgust that most certainly would have been present on the faces of race officials. I first wondered if she truly thought she would get away with it, but then I read that she has tried this before. Same marathon, just last year..oh and she only was able to manage a third place finish that time. "Practice-Makes-Perfect" they say. She was also invited to run in the Boston marathon, until, of course, the unfortunate news leaked out. Boston quickly rolled up the 'Welcome' red carpet when they were notified.

She could have thought that this slight bending of the winning rule would not hurt anyone; the second place finisher could still be happy, right?
We might never understand the reason behind her actions, but what does this type of attitude tell us about the society that we live in? What is the underlying dynamic?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Crimes and punishments in the news.

Videos showing shootings, beatings and officer involved fights have broken out all over the digital media. Yesterday on April 10th, 2015, a video taken by a news helicopter in San Bernardino County shows Sheriffs deputies involved in questionable actions in the take-down of a fleeing suspect. Do these videos show an increase of police brutality or is it the availability of video functions on personal electronic devices that has brought the everyday actions of law enforcement officers to light?
What is the message we should take away from these videos? Do we need to now fear our citizen police force? Is the motto "To serve and Protect" meaningless? Is it simply a question of race? Do police officers of non-white racial backgrounds get accused of these same types of actions?

Police departments all over the United States in an effort to be more transparent to public scrutiny have opted to use digital recording devices to capture the daily actions of the police officers entrusted with public safety. In doing so, the hazards of everyday police work and its dangers have been brought to light.Citizens are also guilty of abuse. Yelling, screaming, and physical abuse, including murder of police officers has been captured by the video devices. What can we conclude is the real reason of these increasingly deadly interactions?

Mental fatigue and stress might be the answer. Everyday we get a little closer as a society, everyday our work puts more pressure on us to produce. Problems at home and dis-enchantment could be the cause as well. The marketing used to get us to do more, and to be more productive seems over whelming. The latest and greatest gadgets that we need to have to live a contented life.
Maybe the answer is that we need to step back as a society and as individuals. Maybe we need to put in some good old fashioned porch time (whether we have porches or not) Turn off the computer, the television, and the other gadgets and gizmos that distract us, have a glass of iced tea and take a deep breath, take the kids, the dog,or a ball to the park. How many children know how to play 'kick the can'? 'Hide and Seek'?

We do not live in a Utopian world or country for that matter, and everyone is vulnerable to a bad day.
It seems not one of the law enforcement individuals at this latest occurrence was inclined to rein in his partners. What was the message transmitted to the subject of their actions? Next time you'll submit to arrest? Or, like Yosemite Sam used to say to the animal after whacking it half to death, "When I say whoa, I mean whoa!"? Was the subject a repeat offender? Did he do something that wasn't on video that caused the retaliation? Does it matter?

There is one thing we can be sure of. We are innocent until proven guilty, and if this citizen is proven to be criminal, his sentence will change from "law breaker" to "victim" and quite possible because of future litigation, he will become wealthy enough so that he will no longer have to break the laws of the land to survive. He may even look back on this 'beating' as the best thing that ever happened to him.  I do not believe that this is the message the officers were trying to convey.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Prison guards in Florida accused of murder plot

Correctional officer, prison guard,screws, depending upon which side of the iron bars you reside on, the name will vary. Above all, Correctional Officer is a probably not a dream job. Your life might certainly be in danger each and every shift you work. You make sure that the rules are followed.

 If you are serving time in prison, life is uniquely more complicated, gangs, drugs, and a typical disdain of being bothered in different varying degrees, all take there toll on anyone's sanity. Prisons or correctional facilities as they are now known, are at any one time a powder keg. It requires very little to cause a spark. There are another set of rules of which the prisoners must follow, and they are not laid out by the state. They are unwritten but must be obeyed without fail. The penalties incurred could mean your life.

What does it require from a job application view point to be a correctional officer? Do you need any college? It depends on who you work for. Some facilities require coursework in behavior sciences, but most require only a high school diploma, a drivers license and no felony convictions. Mental and emotional stability would also be a requirement. Officers must also be physically capable to defend themselves. You must be at least 18 years of age or in some states 21 to apply for the position.
There are schools that teach the profession.

In Florida, and quite recently, 3 men who worked for the Florida State Prison system were arrested for plotting to kill an inmate that had bit one of them. As it turns out the men were all members of the Traditionalist knights of the Ku-Klux-Klan. This poses an interesting problem for the State of Florida. Back ground checks used for employment will not uncover such affiliations, unless the Ku Klux Klan starts actively reporting their associations. I doubt this is going to happen anytime soon. The problem becomes more complicated simply because you can be reasonable sure this led to preferential treatment of their incarcerated brothers and more abuse to those prisoners not traditional members of the Klan.

Every job has it's difficulties but when racial bias gets thrown into the mix, the difficulties are compounded. The states will always have the problem of filtering out unethical and morally questionable attitudes. The inmates do not wish to be in prison(generally speaking) and most people would not find being a correctional officer a fantastic job. I based this analysis on another generality; great pay, nice, friendly atmosphere, In this environment only the strong survive. It is the attitude of the strong that should worry us.

The three correctional officers under arrest, might soon have a unique perspective of this complexity, as they could soon be required to spend time at this same facility on a more permanent basis.

Dearen, J. (2015, April 3). MSN/News. (A. P., Producer) Retrieved April 3, 2015, from MSN:

Job Requirements for State and Federal Correctional Officers. (n.d.). Retrieved April 3, 2015, from Correctional Officer