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This was originally posted to ADignorantiun.Wordpress on August 15th. I’m reposting it here because last night a neighbor, for whom I had a fair amount of respect, was sitting on her front steps with her eight year old granddaughter, of whom she has custody, smoking pot.
Like I said before, I’m no prude. But there are some things you just don’t do on your front steps, let alone in front of small children!
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Can someone please explain to me the need to roll and smoke a blunt -or do any drug for that matter- on other people’s property? Seriously. Is this just a South Philly thing? …or does this happen everywhere?
I often lament having to live within blocks of a crack house simply because we can’t afford to move. Don’t get me wrong. we live on a great block – mostly. But every once in a while reality comes wandering along with the sweet smelling cloud of ganja gas suspended above his head.
I’m not a prude. Mary Jane and I are old friends. It just would never occur to me to get blazed on the steps of a stranger’s house. It’s arrogant. It’s inconsiderate to your neighbors. It calls attention to yourself, and it’s just plain stupid. Why do it?
At the risk of sounding like the old head that I am, when I was young we smoked weed in private. We knew it was illegal, so we kept it on the down low. These days, young turks think nothing of whipping out a crack pipe while strolling down the street! What the hell, man? Get it together! Little kids live on our block! Do that shit in your own house!
Hanging out on our steps is usually enough to dissuade anyone from toking up on the street. But every now and again some idiot will think we don’t notice and light up. In those cases, just asking the person if (s)he can “please do that somewhere else” is usually enough to send them on their way. But occasionally, some little punk thinks his need to get high is more important than the rights of our neighbors.
The worst is when they try to hide on the steps of the small pentecostal church at the end of our street. Here’s where insolence rises to new heights! What the hell is wrong with people!? Seriously! Have some f*king self respect!
I grew up in an Italian household. Wine was served with every meal. It was a normal part of life. As children, we were never made to feel left out. Our wine glasses were somewhat watered down, but we each had one. If we wanted to taste any of the “adult” beverages, all we had to do was ask. My family knew that the way to make something more desirable is to ban it, so nothing was forbidden. As a result, the mystery was taken out of alcohol. If there’s no mystery, it’s no longer special. We were free to pursue more important things.
Any child psychologist will tell you, the quickest way to get a child to do something it to tell him he’s not allowed to do it. When you remove the restrictions you take away it’s importance. I’m a firm believer in the legalization of marijuana to abate it’s importance. Decriminalization will help reduce drug related crime. Taxing it will help add much needed money to our treasury.
But when I see these kids hiding in doorways or shuffling down the street like zombies, I have to wonder if maybe I have it all wrong.
Originally posted Thursday August 15, 2013 on ADignorantium.Wordpress
…but the subject irks me enough to post it again.
On June 24, 1973, a flash fire tore through a gay bar in New Orleans’ French Quarter. In less than 20 minutes, 32 people were killed, dozens more critically injured and the ones who managed to escape watched helplessly as friends and lovers burned to death before their eyes. It is believed to be the largest killing of gay people in U.S. history. Yet politicians and religious leaders were relatively silent. The powerful Catholic Archbishop of New Orleans at the time, Phillip Hannan, did not offer his support or sympathy to victims. And while all signs pointed to arson, the police investigation ran cold. No one has ever been prosecuted.
In this week’s magazine, TIME tells the story of the Upstairs Lounge Fire, which remains little known and even less understood despite the epic scale of the tragedy. Events like Stonewall have entered the canon of GLBT history, while other, equally significant moments have lingered in the background. But the movement is still relatively young in the arc of American history and as Harvey Milk once said, “A reading of the Declaration of Independence on the steps of a building is widely covered. The events that started the American Revolution were the meetings in homes, pubs, on street corners.”
As the stories of a survivor who remembers that tragic night, the founder of the church whose local congregation held services in the bar and the lead police investigator on the case show, the Upstairs fire was one such event.
Forty years later, the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans apologized for its silence in a statement to TIME: “In retrospect, if we did not release a statement we should have to be in solidarity with the victims and their families,” Archbishop Gregory Aymond said via email on June 17. “The church does not condone violence and hatred. If we did not extend our care and condolences, I deeply apologize.” In a month that anticipates a potentially landmark Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, the apology is another sign that times are changing.
File this under #DiggyRant
Can you imagine waiting for The Supreme Court of the United States of America to decide whether or not you are Created Equal & endowed by your creator to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness? Can you imagine waiting for a group of nine judges to determine your worthiness as a human being?
Fifteen years ago, when the idea of Same-Sex Marriage was in it’s infancy, I may have settled for Civil Unions, but the negative outcry from conservatives and religious zealots has made me dig in my heals.
So now I will settle for nothing less than equal treatment under the law.
At the height of the AIDS crisis I lost many close friends, the majority of whom were in long term relationships. In each case, the surviving partner had a negative experience with the parents or family of the deceased. All but one surviving partner were forced out of their homes as family members of the deceased claimed property. He was spared because he and his partner were rather wealthy and had hired lawyers to draw up contracts that specifically defined ownership rights. It cost then thousands of dollars for the very same protections that every heterosexual couple is afforded with a $50 marriage license.
In one particularly ugly case, the surviving partner challenged his deceased partner’s family. The father had disowned his gay son and then completely cut off all communication when he discovered his son had AIDS, but then decided he had rights to his dead son’s property. The father, who was a lawyer, told his son’s partner, “I have infinite resources. You will go bankrupt if you try to challenge me.” The surviving partner’s case never made it to court. He was forced to move less than a year later.
These are just two examples, but they illustrate the issue clearly. Our relationships deserve the same legal rights and responsibilities as all married couples.
Civil Unions are NOT Equal to Marriage. Married couples have 1,138 federal rights, protections and responsibilities. Civil Unions do not.