Browsing articles in "Editorials"
Feb 13, 2015

Domestic Violence is Not a Mistake

Listening to the news while I work, I hear Ray Rice (who has been let off the suspension hook) say that he is very sorry, he made ” a horrible mistake” and he will never do it again.  We’ve got a lot of work to do on the issues of domestic and intimate partner violence, and one of them is to call it what it is:  a willful act taken by someone intended to do physical or emotional harm to another human being. A deliberate act of violence.  It is NOT a “mistake.”

Mistake is defined as “ an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.” Given that definition, in common usage, a mistake is considered to be the result of insufficient knowledge.  Ray Rice had plenty of knowledge of what he did.  Even done in anger, Ray Rice knew exactly what he was doing.

It took Mother’s Against Drunk Driving years to get the word “accident” changed to “crash” in the case of drunk driving.  It is not a semantic difference.  It is a profoundly important difference.  It is a different, accurate definition.  It does not let the drunk driver off the hook.

Both drunk driving and domestic violence are dirty little secrets of our society.  The perpetrators, in both cases,have been allowed to hide behind words like “accident” and “mistake.”  Now, a drunk driving crash can result in a manslaughter charge.  It is  high time that we change our language regarding domestic violence in the way that MADD changed our language and corrected our thinking about what drunk driving actually is, and what its consequences are.

Oct 28, 2014

Vendo Vote

Vendo Vote (buy your own politician)

With elections just around the corner, I have been thinking about the little man in my glove compartment.  He has been riding around there, in his vending machine ball, since he was given to me by my ingenious friend Nancy Aleck.

For an art project, Nancy fashioned several (dozen?) little clay people to represent politicians and put them in vending machine balls with “Vendo Vote” on the bottom.  She couldn’t afford the size of vending machine that would allow the Vendo Vote toys to come out, so she used a regular gum ball machine — making it even funnier, because you could put in your 25 cents again and again and nothing would come out.  Her piece was a little bit of performance art and a lot of political commentary.

In my mind, the idea of buying politicians has never been expressed so simply or humorously.   The little clay figures are all faceless, making it even more ridiculously appropriate.





P.S.  Possibly not coincidentally, this dollar bill showed up at the grocery store the other day:

“Not to be used for bribing politicians”

Sep 3, 2014

More than 50,000 Gun Deaths Since Newtown

The estimate of 55,000 gun deaths since Newtown is based on real CDC figures for 2010 (two years before Newtown) estimated for January 2013 – through August 2014.  This is not an unrealistic figure.  In 2010, the CDC said that among those killed by guns were 2,964 children and teens.  In Chicago alone, there have been more than 1300 shootings this year, on track to be down between 15% and 20% since last year, but not nearly good enough.  At the bottom of this blog are the number of school shootings in 2013.  (chart from Salon).  There were 26 or one every other week.  How many did you know about?

After Newtown, I decided to write(every day)  about a real person killed by a gun on a given date.  I researched their death and anything I could find out about their family.  One was headlined “His Mother named him Rayshine.”  I don’t know if the mother meant the connection that I made to the rays of the sun.  I could feel all the hope imbued in this child, only to be cut down in his youth by America’s favorite toy.

Last week, at a shooting range, a nine year old (9 year old!) girl shot and killed her instructor accidentally with an uzi.  It is hard to imagine a shooting range where 9 years olds can shoot an uzi.  And who, in fact, is the victim here?

More than two dozen states have weakened their gun laws since Newtown, the most heinous being Georgia’s.  According to a post be Aljazeera America : Georgia’s new gun rules kicked in Tuesday, allowing residents to carry firearms into bars, nightclubs, classrooms and government buildings in a measure slammed by anti-weapon activists as a “dangerous kill bill.”

The law, which critics are calling the “guns everywhere” law, is considered one of the most extreme pro-gun bills in the country. Under its provisions, residents with a proper gun permit will be allowed to carry guns at a number of previously off-limits places.The carry laws even extend to allowing people to cross Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport checkpoints with a gun.

A few states, most notably Connecticut and Colorado, have tightened their gun laws.  More anti-gun groups have been formed, most notably Gabrielle Giffords’ and Moms Demand Action.  Bill Gates just gave $1,000,000 to fight the NRA.  But it’s far from enough. The NRA continues to be one of the richest lobbying groups in our country.   With the second anniversary of the Newtown shootings right around the Christmas corner, domestic gun violence has taken a back seat to shootings and beheadings in the Middle East.  But not because it has gotten better.  We can’t forget about it.  We can’t let it go.

School Shootings in 2013

Jan. 7, 2013 – Apostolic Revival Center Christian School, Fort Myers, FL – Kristopher Smith, 27, a student’s parent, was killed.
Jan. 10, 2013 – Taft Union High School, Taft, CA – one injured.
Jan. 11, 2013 – Osborn High School, Detroit, MI – one injured.
Jan. 15, 2013 – Stevens Institute of Business and Arts, St. Louis, MO – two injured.
Jan. 15, 2013 – Hazard Community and Technical College, Hazard, KY – Taylor Jade Cornett, 12, Caitlin Cornett, 20, and Jackie Cornett, 53, were killed.
Jan. 16, 2013 – Chicago State University, Chicago, IL – Tyrone Lawson, 17, was killed.
Jan. 22, 2013 – Lone Star College, Houston, TX – three injured.
Jan. 31, 2013 – Price Middle School, Atlanta, GA – one injured.
March 18, 2013 – University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL – The gunman, James Oliver Seevakumaran, 30, killed himself.
March 21, 2013 – Davidson Middle School, Southgate, MI – Tyler Nichols, 13, killed himself.
April 18, 2013 – MIT, Cambridge, MA – MIT police officer Sean Collier, 27, was killed.
April 29, 2013 – La Salle High School, Cincinnati, OH – one injured.
June 7, 2013 – Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, CA – several were injured and six people were killed: Marcela Dia Franco, 26, Carlos Navarro Franco, 68, Margarita Gomez, 68, John Zawahri (the shooter), 23, Samir Zawahri (the shooter’s father), 55, and Christopher Zawahri (the shooter’s brother), 24.
June 20, 2013 – Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, West Palm Beach, FL – Christopher Marhsall, 48, and Ted Orama, 56, both custodians, were killed.
Aug. 20, 2013 – Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy, Decatur, GA – a gunman fired shots and barricaded himself in an elementary school; no one was injured.
Aug. 23, 2013 – North Panola High School, Sardis, MS – two were injured and Roderick Bobo, 15, was killed.
Aug. 30, 2013 – Carver High School, Winston-Salem, NC – one injured.
Sept. 28, 2013 – Gray-New Gloucester High School, Gray, ME – Gaige McGue killed himself.
Oct. 4, 2013 – Agape Christian Academy, Pine Hills, FL – two injured.
Oct. 15, 2013 – Lanier High School, Austin, TX – Adrian Alvaresz, 16, killed himself.
Oct. 21, 2013 – Sparks Middle School, Sparks, NV – two were injured and Mike Landsberry, a teacher and Afghanistan veteran, was killed. The shooter, 12-year-old Jose Reyes, killed himself.
Nov. 2, 2013 – North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC – one injured.
Nov. 3, 2013 – Stephenson High School, Lithonia, GA – one injured.
Nov. 13, 2013 – Brashear High School, Pittsburgh, PA – three injured.
Nov. 21, 2013 – South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Rapid City, SD – a professor, Alberto Lemut, 37, killed himself.
Dec. 4, 2013 – West Orange High School, Winter Garden, FL – one injured.
Aug 29, 2014

NFL Issues(not much better) New Ruling on Domestic Violence Offenses

Running back and batterer Ray Rice

Update:  Ray Rice has just been let go by the Baltimore Ravens and banned from the NFL indefinitely.  On the positive side, domestic violence is getting lots of attention.  On the negative side, the NFL is getting more.


Recently,the Domestic Violence Action Center put up a post (on their blog about the hand slap which the Ravens’ Ray Rice received for battering his then-girlfriend Jayna Palmer.  He beat her up in an elevator and then was caught on camera literally kicking her out of the door while she lay face down on the ground.  He got off lightly all around, with a probation and community service from the courts, and a two game suspension from the NFL.  The Ray Rice incident was widely publicized and there was huge blowback from the public (football fans and the general public alike) regarding the light “sentence” Rice received from Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Yesterday, Goodell released a new policy on domestic violence and sexual assault.  Either offense will result in a minimum six game suspension, and a second offense will result in an indefinite suspension from the game.  In announcing the new ruling, Goodell acknowledged that he had gotten it wrong with Ray Rice.  Boy, did he ever.  He had suspended players for four games for smoking marijuana.   The entire text of Goodell’s letter to the owners can be found here:


Among other things, Goodell wrote: The public response reinforced my belief that the NFL is held to a higher standard, and properly so. Much of the criticism stemmed from a fundamental recognition that the NFL is a leader, that we do stand for important values, and that we can project those values in ways that have a positive impact beyond professional football. We embrace this role and the responsibility that comes with it. We will listen openly, engage our critics constructively, and seek continuous improvement in everything we do. We will use this opportunity to create a positive outcome by promoting policies of respect for women both within and outside of the workplace. We will work with nationally recognized experts to ensure that the NFL has a model policy on domestic violence and sexual assault. We will invest time and resources in training, programs and services that will become part of our culture. And we will increase the sanctions imposed on NFL personnel who violate our policies.

I hope he is serious about working with nationally recognized experts on developing and new policy promoting respect for women both within and outside of the workplace.  Seems a small gesture to me.  After what Ray Rice did, in my opinion, he should have gone to jail and been kicked out of  football.  And his girlfriend Janay Palmer should have her head examined for marrying him after what he did to her.  As for holding the NFL to a higher standard, this is just plain bunk.  No one, no how should get away with domestic violence and/or sexual assault without severe consequences.   Criticizing the walk-in-the-park two game suspension for Ray Rice has nothing to do with “holding the NFL to a higher standard.”

Read League of Denial. The NFL’s values as regards it’s players are definitely questionable, and despite the new policy, the NFL’s values don’t do much for their victims either.

Jun 11, 2014

Social Media Gets Social

The New York Times reported this weekend on the trend for promoters to capitalize on the latest flashes in the pan, with live concert tours featuring youtube stars.  A group called Digitour Media sold 18,000 tickets last year and expects to exceed 250,000 by 2015.  Calling the surge of social media tours and festivals simultaneously predictable and counterintuitive, the Times points out that [all] “fan bases need tending.”

It also points out that many of the youtube celebrities (I would say most) have no experience whatever with performing for someone, let alone thousands of someones at a “concert.”  They make their videos alone, and often what they do — dispensing advice, for instance — does not carry well to the big stage.    Digitours has a global division, and there have been concerts in Singapore, Sydney and Mumbai.  The Times reports that about two thirds of the performers at DigiFest NYC were “hunky guys”  — basically standing there looking pretty.

These concerts are called “experiences” by one promoter.

Interesting isn’t it, that youtube and twitter brought about the Arab Spring, but in America they bring out thirteen year old girls who scream for 10 to 15 minutes just looking at a guy named Connor Franta “whose shirtless pictures have their own Tumblr account.”

Another promoter says “It’s all about bringing the Internet to life.”  And I thought the Internet was life.


Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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