Wednesday, December 3, 2014

4 years in Louisiana

I went to Starbucks today, the same Starbucks I sat in 4 years ago with a borrowed laptop filling out applications for anything and everything. 4 years ago, I had nothing but a part-time job waiting tables at night and on the weekends. After 5 years in Florida, a divorce, a bad economy and being blacklisted from ever working for Sprint again, I arrived on a Greyhound bus in Louisiana with a couple of quarters in my pocket and no other assets to my name.

It was in those hours waiting for a ride to work that the urge to write again came back for the first time since my creative writing class in college when I was told by a professor that I would never be worth anything as a writer. Perhaps he was right, but people still read what I put together. Too bad I can't remember his name so I could send him a "how do you like me now?" email.

I do miss Florida, especially in the spring and fall when the fish migrations happen. To watch a school of mullet get blown up by tarpon, jacks, snook and sharks in the waist deep water just off the beach is just one of the many wonderful memories I have of that state. Maybe I'll go back one day, perhaps once again I'll paddle my kayak into the sunset over Panama City Beach. One more cast, just one more fish.

Maybe one day I'll win the lottery, or perhaps this writing thing will really take off. Maybe I can buy that house 4 blocks off the beach, just out of the Spring Break traffic and just 5 minutes from the pier. But for now, I'm here in Louisiana and the wanderlust has begun to stir again.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The writers who cried "wolf" and the race card

Lennon Lacy
In the wake of the Ferguson grand jury's decision not to indict Ofc. Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown, the media has been scrambling to find a new story to tie into the problem America has with race. Not because they want to address race in America, but because they want it to be about race in America. Not because they want to fix the problem of race in America, but because they want to profit off of it.

Some people in the media do a very good job of determining which stories are about racial politics, and which ones are not - and don't try to make a story into something more than what it is. The problem is, too many people do try to insert politics and race into sad stories such as that of Lennon Lacy. Most of us haven't heard of Lennon Lacy, and since most of the media decided that the story was tragic but not about race, you probably wouldn't have unless you happened to read some of the independent websites who have the journalistic standards of a weasel on speed.

Case in point: this article from Daily Kos which went all out to the point where it seemed like they were totally disappointed that the death was ruled a suicide - and they weren't the only ones. A large portion of that blog was then copy and pasted into another one by Leslie Sazillo who writes for DailyKos as well as Liberals Unite, part of a network of pages and websites owned by or affiliated with a Samuel Warde. In her story, despite that fact that death was ruled a suicide by the coroner, she basically laments the fact that it wasn't a lynching and instead a self-hanging by a young man who was likely depressed after the death of his uncle.
"Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of Lennon Lacy, and we join them, and the NAACP, in demanding answers. This was clearly not a suicide, and hopefully the story will be picked up by other media and shared widely. More information will  be revealed, and we will keep you posted."
Sometimes bad, tragic events happen and they have nothing to do with racism. Yet, like the famous story of the little boy who cried "wolf" over and over again until nobody believed him, people in liberal media insist on jumping to the conclusion that racism was a factor before all the facts come out - or even after official reports. No wonder conservatives claim (with some validity) that liberals play the race card too much.