A Stones Throw 5-30-13

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Last week I had the honor of attending the fifth-grade graduation for my grandson – Logan. Like all other parents and grandparents I was both happy and proud to watch him walk across the auditorium stage to accept his certificate.

I may have the wrong attitude, but, I occasionally worry about all of the ceremonies that honor almost everyone and everything. While I am a very proud grandfather of six wonderful and talented grandchildren, I really don’t understand the concept of graduation ceremonies from second to third grade – or fifth to sixth grade – or pre-school for that matter.

I wonder if graduation will mean anything by the time they finish their senior year of high school.

I was proud to watch Logan’s parents, his sister, and his grandmother quietly watch as he received a hug from his teacher and then his certificate. With that silence, I know that Logan is getting the proper direction from his family.

I can’t say the same about some of the other fifth-graders.

Let me explain by telling you of an interchange I witnessed shortly after the graduation – certificate giving ceremonies were over.

As I stood near the back of the auditorium, a young girl came up the aisle and said – fairly loud – “Hey Sara – I’m going out front with my friends.”

“Sara” looked at the girl and said: “Don’t call me Sara – I am your Mother.”

The young girl said: “Okay Sara – see you later.”

“Sara,” the mother just glared at her daughter.

Meanwhile, I totally understood.

At the start of the ceremonies, the principal asked everyone to hold their applause and recognition until everyone in a class (there were six fifth-grade classes.) had received their certificates.

Most parents and families followed this simple rule.

Several didn’t – including “Sara.”

When her fifth-grade daughter walked onto the stage, “Sara” jumped up and yelled “Way to go Susie (not the actual name) – We are proud of you. Whoop – Whoop – Whoop.”

I had two thoughts.

First: did this woman realize that the name of the young boy walking behind her daughter was not heard by much of the audience due to her loud “Whoops?” The answer to that question is probably academic. After all, only her daughter was important to the ceremonies – apparently.

Second: I wondered how a parent should expect her children to obey simple rules when he/she cannot obey a rule as simple as “please hold your applause and recognition until a class is complete.”

I didn’t have long to wait for an answer. The interchange I saw between “Sara” and her daughter told me a lot – at least I interpreted a lot. I felt that “Sara” deserved the snub from her daughter.

“Sara” obviously felt the daughter deserved a stare for her disrespect.

I would have to agree with this – I know I stared at “Sara” and several other parents and family members who thought demonstrating their disregard for simple rules and the respect of others was okay.

I also know that those parents and families didn’t care.

And they wonder why their children do not respect them.

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Beyond this, I have a few quick random thoughts:

First, I recently wrote about the Jodie Arias trial. I intimated that there could easily be a juror or two who either could not convict a pretty 32 year-old woman of first-degree murder or if convicted, could not vote for the death penalty.

I have to admit – I was right.

While the jury did convict her of first degree murder, the jury could not decide on a penalty. After the jury was released, the jury foreman said that Jodie just did not look like a killer. Even though he agreed with the evidence that said she was a vicious, sadistic, killer, he still couldn’t separate his personal feelings about her from the evidence when determining her sentence.

I do know one thing. If instead of a pretty 32 year-old woman, the convicted killer was a poor, 32 year-old biker gang member; there would have been no question what the jury would have done. It would have taken that jury 20 minutes to vote for death and return to the courtroom.

And they would call this justice.

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Second, I think the collapse of the I-5 Bridge north of Seattle, Washington should be a wake-up call for those who are squabbling over the replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge that connects Cincinnati to Northern Kentucky. With the apparent condition of the bridge and the high volume of vehicles – including heavy trucks – that use it daily, is there a disaster waiting to happen?

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Third, like most, I was horrified to see the devastation suffered by the people of Moore, Oklahoma. At the same time, I think for someone – or many someones – there was more interest in the publicity value than in the suffering of the victims.

As a case in point, how could there be 51 deaths verified with hundreds more trapped in the rubble several hours after the tornado, and then have that number changed from 51 deaths to 24 the next morning?

I am not trying to negate the depth of the tragedy. I just think that when friends and relatives throughout the country are in shock and sick with worry, it would be better to make sure information is correct before putting it on the air.

Unfortunately, once again, being first was more important that being right.

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Speaking of the devastation caused by the EF5 tornado, (The most violent tornado with winds in excess of 200 miles per hour.) contributions are pouring in. And again – unfortunately, so are the always prevalent scams.

While there are many legitimate groups that are accepting donations and will make sure the people of Moore, Oklahoma receive those donations, one safe organization is the American Red Cross. Importantly, according to CNN the Red Cross distributes 91-percent of every dollar it receives to help victims of these disasters. And – you can designate that you want your contribution to go to those victims of the Moore tornado.

I am not advocating the Red Cross – as I noted, there are other reputable charities. I just don’t want anyone to become a victim while trying to help other victims.

– Mike Cooney