Saturday, March 12, 2005

Death as Rehab

What is The Age of Reason?

By Mark Connolly
Editor, Dallas Bureau
On one of the blogs I frequent, I saw a thread on capital punishment, and the recent Supreme Court decision. No more capital punishment for murderous children. There was a pretty strong difference of opinion.

I got the idea somewhere once upon a time that if you could hold two opposing views in your mind at once, somewhere in the resultant mental tension you might glimpse the truth.

Death and Rehab. Two approaches to a problem. The problem of murder.

Children and Culpability. What is the Age of Reason? For the Catholic Church, age 7 is when you are supposed to know right from wrong. Within that context, at that age, you can decide to sin. Prior to that age, your actions are not Sin, as Sin is a conscious decision to do wrong, and separate yourself from God.

So, death penalties for seven year olds? Well, I should hope not. But, if not at age 7, then what about age 10? Or 15? Or 18? Or ever?

And, why is it necessary to even consider such an awful concept?

Some questions worth pondering: At what age should someone know that it is wrong to kill a fellow human being, and what should be done about someone who knows better but does it anyway? And how relevant is age to that question?

I think by the age of 7 you should know that you should not kill people. And you should know there are consequences to the decision to kill. But that means we really aren't talking about crime and punishment, we are talking about raising children. And we are also talking about whether or not there should be a consequence to bad decisions. And we are talking about at what point is an action a bad decision and at what point is it a simple mistake?

If we are talking about how children are raised, and, if it takes a village to raise a child, then is the village culpable? If so, then how do you rehab society? Is capital punishment of the individual an attempt to rehabilitate society as a whole, by teaching in the grimmest of fashions that murder is wrong? And that there are consequences to bad decisions? If so, is it working? If it is not working, then what? A pat on the head and a Snickers bar?

Death as Rehab. Somewhere in the consideration of these opposing concepts there may be a truth worth figuring out.


Stress Relief

The Use of Recording Random Thoughts as a Front Line Defense to Stressors Elsewhere

By Mark Connolly
Editor, Dallas Bureau
I am curious to know if this is a random and particular to me, or common. When life is great, and lots of fun things are happening, I am not driven to write anything. When I have had bad jobs, or life sucked for whatever reason, I would scribble notes about the most random crap, and admire any small word smithing success.

I guess that is the root of the tortured artist mythos.

Not that all writing has to be a result of outwardly imposed stress. I wrote that novel in a month thing as a response to the self induced stress of committing to writing a novel in a month. It strikes me that stress can bring out the best in people.

At work, where our company has been sold, I have been too tired at the end of the day to write anything. Hence the long absence from the blogosphere. I didn't even log on for days at a time, and didn't read all my usual favorite blogs or anything. Work is still stressfull, but apparently I've passed some critical point because while I am still stressed at work, I now have the energy and the desire to spew out this crud. And read all my old friends (so to speak) people I don't really know but have communicated with or argued with. They are over there in the list of blogs.

It's been interesting to pick up threads of life again, and see where people are vs then, at least in terms of the blogosphere.

Which takes me to a random follow up to my last random post about Michael Jackson. What would the King Of Pop be like if he had used the science fiction novel Dune as his escape, instead of Peter Pan?

Would he have built a desert land/amusement park named Arrakis? Would he go out in public in a stilsuit? Would he have taken up knife fighting? Would he be more able to deal with the world, or would he be some kind of scary demigod wannabe?

Any thoughts from whoever reads this would probably be quite interesting. So, What Novel Should Michael Jackson have patterned his world view after???


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Never Land

When Fantasy Collides With Reality

By Mark Connolly
Editor, Dallas Bureau
Disregard the following, as I have nothing to base it on but the zeitgeist that, if nothing else, Michael Jackson is weird.

Who knows if Mr. Jackson is guilty of fondling young boys? I don't. It sure draws a lot of speculation, and would, I believe, crowd out similar accusations against The Pope as far as front page news. After all, the Pope never moon danced. From that respect, he is very boring.

Jackson, on the other hand (the one without a glove) is simply fascinating. The talent, the music, the plastic surgery, the bolt on nose, etc. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion with THX surround sound. But what strikes me, when I do see some glimpse of him on TV, is that he is nearly as fascinated with himself as the rest of the world is. As if he is an actor on a stage, and this is all some sort of adventure, where bad press is good press.

Sadly, I think he may lack the emotional maturity to realize he is in trouble. I'm guessing none of this seems real to him except in some kind of Grand Adventure kind of way. I wonder what will happen when it sinks in that he's in trouble. Sadly, I predict suicide in his future.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Über*Mart "settles" with DOL

As Reported in BrownWatch
- Wal-Mart settles child labor cases

By Mark Connolly
Editor, Dallas Bureau

I just found this fascinating. Wal-Mart is caught violating child labor laws designed to safeguard folks under the age of 18, and as part of the settlement, they get to have a 15 day advance notice before the Department of Labor investigates any other potential violations.

It seems like an article from The Onion. But, it's not.

Now, I will state for the record that some of these DOL laws seem silly. Basically, anyone under 18 cannot work with any equipment that has a motor on it. That includes floor buffers, bailers, deli slicers, etc. But, the bailer is the thing that really is silly. They don't even want 16 year old people throwing cardboard into the bailer. Granted some 16 and 17 year olds would probably crush themselves in a bailer if allowed within 10 feet of one. So, I can understand not allowing them to push the crush button. Sort of.

Regardless, that is the law, and most companies abide by them. Companies the size of Wal-Mart certainly employ enough lawyers to know better. I guess they just thought they could get away with it. Hmmmm