Charleston Killings and Awful Writing

I don’t think I’ve ever read a series of opinion articles in my life worse than what stained the pages of The Washington Post after the Charleston shootings. Many of the authors are nothing more than ‘experts’ who majored in Reinforce-My-Biased-Point-Of-View Studies and now make a living either teaching their own nonsense to a new crop of future agitators, or freelance writing trolling.

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Nazi Memorabilia

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I guess I should’ve known that this is stuff that people own, sell and collect. From what I understand, the items in these collections originally come from World War II veterans who brought the stuff over from Europe after the war. Perhaps their families sold it later on. My grandfather certainly brought back some of this stuff, and my family still has it buried away.

I suppose it makes sense to eventually sell it to a collector or salesman who specializes in this stuff.

But from there, who buys it? I can only imagine. Continue reading Nazi Memorabilia

Pvt. William Sumner

I’ve been scanning more family photos recently and came across many of my great uncle, William Sumner, who died in a plane crash during World War II, while on a training mission in Florida.

He was the middle brother, in between my grandfather Harry (died 2007) and my great Uncle Joe. Before the war, William was a pilot for Pan Am. He had a fiance. He died June 17, 1945, while my grandfather was fighting in Europe. My father was named after him.

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Judge on Actions, Not Opinions

I’m not one to voice political opinions too loudly, particularly on divisive topics. It’s not because I don’t have my own beliefs, but because I’m not interested in being judged and perhaps even losing friends based on, say, who I want to be president.

These days, because of the Internet, it’s easier than ever to know how someone else feels about certain political issues or topics in the news. Therefore, it’s easier than ever to judge them on those opinions.

When I hear what I perceive to be illogical and irresponsible opinions voiced by folks I otherwise respect and even like, I’m torn. How could someone so nice defend – or claim to understand – the acts of criminals, or perhaps even encourage irresponsible behavior? How can law-abiding friends of mine have greater problems with those who strive to rein in bad behavior or encourage self-sufficiency (good things, right?), than those who break the law or create problems for themselves? Why must these friends make excuses for, or demands that enable this behavior?

Then I take a step back and see how these friends of mine live their lives. Most often, it’s not consistent with their opinions. While they may even claim to have these views for righteous reasons – and could talk your ear off explaining why – they simply aren’t the people in which they claim to be fighting for. They’re not mooches, they’re not law-breakers, they’re not dregs of society.

The opinions they express or policies in which they fight for might, at the very best, be more forgiving of or helpful to some, but at the very worst (the part that disgusts me) be excusing or enabling of problematic behavior.

But they don’t live it, and that’s far more important.

Sacred Beliefs and Our Capacity for Rationalization and Moral Surrender

A couple of quotes/passages I’ve read recently really struck a chord with me.

One way to define the difference between a regular belief and a sacred belief is that people who hold sacred beliefs think it is morally wrong for anyone to question those beliefs. If someone does question those beliefs, they’re not just being stupid or even depraved, they’re actively doing violence. They might as well be kicking a puppy. When people hold sacred beliefs, there is no disagreement without animosity. In this mindset, people who disagreed with my views weren’t just wrong, they were awful people. I watched what people said closely, scanning for objectionable content. Any infraction reflected badly on your character, and too many might put you on my blacklist.

– 

What gets someone so worked up that they not only develop a hard-line point of view, but find any objection to be irrational? There are quite a few possibilities. But it’s clear that such hardline stances are likely to be irrational, themselves.

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Covering the Autograph Signings

Brouwer and Ovi pose for me.

It’s always fun covering autograph signings with the Caps. Recently, I was there for an Alex Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer signing (which was very rare, considering it was Ovi’s first in three years), and a not-rare John Carlson and Karl Alzner signing. Fans often ask me for the photos I took, and I’m happy to give them. And I always get an article or two.

Continue reading Covering the Autograph Signings