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Voice of the Voter - This Week's Stories

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Billy The Kid

There is never a reason for a kid to bring a gun to school, or to be in possession of a firearm while unsupervised. Gun violence is out of control in this country and its time we started acting sensibly and tried to do something about it. In Richmond, CA this week a pizza delivery person was shot for apparently no reason while delivering a pizza in a city known for excessive gang violence. He wasnít even robbed. He was just shot and killed while innocently doing his job.

I understand the constitutional right to bear arms. This is not about that. I understand that guns are necessary tools in the wild, which is fine. Iím not suggesting that we disarm law enforcement officers. Heck if anything we should upgrade their weapons so they stand a chance out there. But one thing we really need to stop doing is continuing to treat a child with a gun as a child. The world has changed and its time we updated our laws to reflect that.

Juvenile offenders are treated with much more leniency than their adult counterparts, which is ironic since they now pose an equal or greater threat to our society. There has been a rash of senseless killings in the San Francisco Bay Area lately, committed by so called children in their mid to late teens. The juvenile offenders will most likely be sent to a juvenile detention center for rehabilitation and be released on their twenty-first or twenty-fifth birthdays at which time their victims will all still be dead.

Age has become irrelevant in gun violence everywhere but in the judicial system. Every killer's mother thinks her son is a good boy, but he's not. Heís a murderer. He took another human life and that life can never be given back. Children act out, they rebel. It's what kids do. And children should be allowed to make mistakes, but that all ends when your right to screw up endangers the lives of others. Screwing up is getting caught shoplifting. Murder is not a screw-up. Itís a felony and, for the religious folks, itís also against one of the big ten rules God handed down to Moses. Just in case these killersí moms are wondering your ďgood boyĒ will probably be doing eternity with Satan and company in addition to whatever sentence the judge hands down here on Earth.

Let's be honest with ourselves here; no teenager that is screwed up enough to kill his peers is likely ever going to be anything but a detriment to society. These teen-age killers don't seem capable of looking past the moment. The loss of their own lives is tragic, but when they threaten the lives of others it's criminal. We need to make the sentences fit the actual crimes and make sure that we donít give killers a pass just because they havenít had enough birthdays before they went and popped the guy who stole their girlfriend or who was wearing the wrong colors that day. If they are man enough to pull the trigger they need to be man enough to face the consequence as well.

Kyle Pesonen - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article.

Telling Half the Story: Media Bias in America

In modern day America the media is chief among all directors of our consciousness. We rely on them to tell us what is fact and what is fiction. They tell us what is important and what is trivial. They tell us who should lead us and who should not. Most of our opinions today are formed by using the media as a source of information. In truth, there have always been people controlling the information. From the dawn of man there have been the keepers of the records and tellers of the stories. From generation to generation the stories are passed and as time goes on, choices are made as to which stories are told and which are not.

While there is often the perception of media bias as a serious problem, it is really no greater or less than it has ever been. In many ways we are more able to access accurate information than ever before. The difference between the past and present is the amount of information out there overall. With the push of a button and the click of a mouse, you can access literally thousands of sources to learn about the same events in many cases. So where is the problem? The main problem is that most people rely on too few sources of information and have added uninformed opinions posing as information to our trusted sources of information. We have replaced Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite who focused mainly on the facts with Sean Hannity and Johnny blogger who will happily tell you what it all means even if they forgot to mention that there is possibly more than one interpretation of the facts of the matter. This is not to say that Cronkite and Murrow did not have bias. They certainly presented an American-centric view of the news although they may have been a bit better about presenting actual verified facts without a lot of editorializing than the current crop of journalists and would-be journalists providing information to America today.

One thing that can be said for the current media information outlets is that their bias is not hard to spot. In many cases itís offered unapologetically and with a certain level of pride in its bias. In some ways itís the obviousness of the bias that makes our failure to search for opposing viewpoints more disquieting. Knowing that there is in fact bias and slant in the media as there has been throughout time, we simply do not avail ourselves of conflicting opinions when examining issues. As a nation we have become content with our choices of news outlets and accept their versions of the facts as being the whole truth. Even with access to things like Al Jazeera that could give us the Middle Eastern perspective on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many choose to accept the Fox News version without question. While both are biased to their view, by utilizing them both you can get a clearer picture of the truth. Even if you decide that perhaps Al Jazeera is too slanted towards anti-American rhetoric, there are other news outlets from around the world including the German and Japanese press that do not have the same stake in slanting their reporting that a U.S. or British based media company might have.

The end result of our failure to look at other sources of news is that we are herded like sheep towards support or opposition of people and plans without all of the available information. Because of our own failures to verify what weíve been told we have been often duped into believing everything from mischaracterizations of actual facts to outright lies. In a democracy we cannot afford to allow this to happen. The world knows that we pick our leaders and therefore holds us all accountable for their actions. If we allow them to lead us into ill-conceived plans based on easily debunked information, we are as responsible for the ensuing outcome as they are. It is not that we donít have access to the entire story. We choose to take the easy road and not look into opposing viewpoints. We would rather spend our time being entertained than informed so our media takes on the form of entertainment.

Where once the news media would bring opposing viewpoints together for point-counterpoint type discussions of the hard facts now there are pundits giving their opinions based on polls and sound bites from other pundits and politicians. Dispassionate news has given way to titillation and sensationalized stories that impart few facts and much opinion masquerading as sound analysis. We are as a nation failing to see through the fog of sensationalism and bias to the realities that are our world today. We have become content to listen to half of a news story and then move on to something more entertaining.

This failure to be more careful in our scrutiny of the media may be our undoing. As long as we continue to follow the people that we are told are the best by media outlets that have a vested interest in those same people regardless of their ethics coming to power we will likely suffer the consequences of following individuals ill equipped to lead. If we continue to listen to only half the story instead of looking at the other side for a clearer picture of the facts, we will likely not be prepared for the opposition we will face. Our nation is at war on two battle fronts yet we have little understanding about the true reasons we are fighting or the ideals of our opposition. To listen to only one side of the argument is to accept that the people opposing us are nothing more than bloodthirsty monsters who hate freedom. Is that really logical? Do we really think that they hate our freedom so much that they are willing to die just to strike a symbolic blow to us? Logically, the issues must be more complex than that but unless we look at their ideas and opinions we will never understand what more there is.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article. | Visit Troy's blog at http://reform-america.blogspot.com | Visit Troy's MySpace page at www.myspace.com/reform_america



Get Involved

Do you sit and yell at the TV when politicians come on? Do you shake your head sadly whenever you see a homeless veteran? Is that all you tend to do?

It's time to put up or shut up America. We all love to talk about how we could do things better or how we would do it if we were in charge. Well, it's time to put your money where your mouth is. If you can think of it, you can write it down. If you can write it down, you can type it. If you can type it, you can e-mail it and if you can e-mail it, you can send it here.

We at Reform America are committed to giving voice to anyone who wants to put their ideas out there to make our nation a better place. As the readership grows, we are able to take those views to a wider and wider audience. Grassroots campaigns begin with voices speaking out. You have opinions. Voice them. We aren't about conservative or liberal. We aren't about pro-this or anti-that. We're about Americans and the First Amendment. Reform America is about politics by, for and of the people. You are the people. You only need to speak up. America is listening. Send your article to: stories@reform-america.net



Have You Been Downsized Due to Outsourcing?

For several years now we have listened to some within the business community tell us that America can't compete on a global scale unless they send our jobs overseas where they can be done cheaper. The question becomes, if we don't have good paying jobs here, how can we sustain our own economy? We want to hear from you. Have you lost your job? Have you been forced into a lower wage job due to outsourcing? Has outsourcing been a success for you? Did you end up in a better job?

Tell us your story so we can make sure the politicians see how outsourcing really impacts the workers who are backbone of America. Send your story to stories@reform-america.net

 

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