Text Us: 870870
Studio: (504)260.1870
Toll Free: (866)889.0870
| More

Scoot's Blog

"The Scoot Show" Host
Weeknights 8pm-Midnight

Twitter: @scootwwl
Email: scoot@wwl.com
Facebook: Scoot on the Air
Posts from July 2013


Scoot Blog: Louisiana’s sodomy law -- unconstitutional but enforced
There has been outrage in Louisiana and across the country over the government collecting phone numbers and tracking some online activity in an on-going effort to fight terrorism.  Where is the outrage over police in Louisiana for arresting individuals on charges based on an unconstitutional law?

The Advocate newspaper reported over the weekend that a unit in the East Baton Rouge sheriff’s office has been arresting men for violating Louisiana’s anti-sodomy law.  The arrests of at least 12 men go back to 2011 and some are as recent as last month.
According to the report in The Advocate, the East Baton Rouge sheriff’s office set up sting operations to enforce the state’s anti-sodomy laws.  The officers arrested men who discussed or agreed to meet to have consensual sex in private with undercover officers.

What we have here and in 12 other states is police enforcing morality and blatantly invading the privacy of individual Americans.  Lets’ define ‘sodomy’ according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: noun: anal or oral copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex.  Louisiana’s law making sodomy illegal refers to “unnatural carnal copulation.”

Sheriff’s deputies in East Baton Rouge parish, which is essentially the Baton Rouge area, have been allowed to arrest citizens based on their specific moral and religious beliefs.  Law enforcement should NEVER allow their religious beliefs to guide the arrests of individuals.

East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux III, who permitted these unconstitutional arrests, has now apologized “to anyone that was unintentionally harmed or offended by the actions of our investigation.”  He said he has now instructed his officers to stop enforcing the unconstitutional anti-sodomy law on the books in Louisiana.  Sheriff Gautreaux has also asked for better training and supervision of his officers.

Would Sheriff Gautreaux have apologized and stopped the practice of arresting individuals based on an unconstitutional law if this practice was not brought to light by a reporter?  I doubt it.  Though Louisiana is among some of the backwards-thinking states that still have anti-sodomy laws on the books does not make the laws enforceable.  In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Lawrence v. Texas that laws banning sodomy are an unconstitutional invasion of privacy.

Hillar C. Moore III, the district attorney for East Baton Rouge parish told the New York Times that he was not aware of the arrests until he was informed by a newspaper reporter last week.  He discovered that his office had been referred up to 10 cases over the past two and a half years, but dropped the cases because no evidence linked money to the allegations.

The public should know that East Baton Rouge Sheriff Gautreaux wasted taxpayers’ money in his attempt to use his police force to inflict specific moral and religious beliefs that have been declared unconstitutional.  But this ‘red-neck’ mentality is not confined to East Baton Rouge parish.

Republican lawmakers in Texas have killed legislative efforts to remove the anti-sodomy laws from their books.  Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback did not allow attempts to remove the anti-sodomy laws from the books in his state last year. Earlier this month, Virginia gubernatorial candidate and state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli launched a website promoting his efforts to enforce Virginia’s law banning sodomy.

Since 2003, laws banning sodomy have been unconstitutional. Period!  Any and all attempts to enforce these antiquated anti-sodomy laws in Louisiana or other states should be considered an invasion of privacy by government forces.

And for those who are quick to side with the enforcement of anti-sodomy laws – I ask how many of you have and continue to engage in the exact physical sexual activity you want banned?  You can’t have it both ways.  If it is illegal for some – it is illegal for you, too.
The indisputable truth is that some Americans continue to desperately cling to the outdated anti-sodomy laws as weapons to use in their religious crusade.  If this crusade is exposed during the upcoming elections and if the Republican Party fails to exorcize itself from it – Democrats could seem more gains as the GOP continues to lose support from younger voters, women and ALL rational-thinking Americans!

 (13) Comments




 
Scoot Blog: Do 'Stand Your Ground' Laws Promote Gun Violence?
There are new questions about ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws that are now on the books in over 20 states.  Laws already allow citizens to use deadly force against intruders and to protect life and property, but ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws have eliminated the need to retreat if possible. Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder said, that ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws may encourage violence and “undermine public safety.”  Sunday on CNN, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said he wants Arizona to review its ‘stand your ground’ law.  

In a recent high-profile case in Texas, a retired Houston firefighter, Raul Rodriquez, killed a neighbor during an argument about a noisy party at the neighbor’s house.  Rodriquez went to Kelly Danaher’s home to confront her and during the argument, which was videotaped by Rodriquez, he is heard saying at one point, “My life is in danger now” and “these people are going to go try to kill me.” He also said, “I’m standing my ground here.”

Rodriquez shot and killed his neighbor and injured two of her male friends.  In his defense he claimed that one of the males made a move that he felt was threatening.  But on the video, Rodriquez was obviously setting up his own defense by claiming his life was in danger and he was standing his ground.  The state of Texas has a ‘Castle Doctrine’ law, which is similar to ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws on the books in other states.  Rodriquez was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Since the ‘Castle Doctrine’ law went into effect in Texas in 2007, the state has seen an increase of 16 fatal shootings over a 4 year period.  However, that doesn’t mean that lives may not have been saved because citizens acted.

While the Zimmerman defense team did not use Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law in its defense, the law has attracted national attention.  From the first reporting of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, I have questioned whether George Zimmerman would have gotten out of his vehicle if he had not been armed.  If there are laws that give citizens the right to defend themselves, then the question is whether ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws protect citizens who go beyond protecting themselves.

Violent crime, even murder, among America’s youth has actually declined and is now at the lowest point since 1993, but the perception is that crime is up and many argue that we should all be armed to defend ourselves against the criminal element.  ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws have appeased those Americans who believe that citizens should have more legal protection in situations where guns are arguably used proactively.  But it’s fair to question whether these laws have also contributed to a ‘gun-happy’ America.

With complete respect for the Second Amendment and gun ownership in America and with respect for EVERY American’s right to defend themselves, ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws seem to feed a growing sense that citizens must become more aggressive in fighting crime.  Being more aggressive against crime can be a positive thing, but not if it encourages some ‘gun-happy’ citizens to aggressively take the law into their own hands or protect themselves when settling a confrontation that might otherwise have been averted by retreat.  

Laws should encourage, not discourage, any opportunity to avoid the use of a gun.  Additional legal protection for citizens, who shoot to kill, rather than remove themselves from a confrontation, may do more to feed a macho attitude than protect the public from crime.  I understand and accept the jury’s verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, but Zimmerman must live with killing a young man when he knows that there were things he could have done to prevent the shooting death.  And yes, there were things that Trayvon Martin could have done as well, but it is reasonable to assume that the concept of a ‘Stand Your Ground’ law gave George Zimmerman the courage to place himself in a situation that he might not have been in without a gun.

Anyone who is too quick to stand behind a ‘Stand Your Ground’ law may be using the law to support a predisposed mentality that essentially supports gun violence and the use of guns as the only answer.
 (4) Comments




 
Scoot: What the life, and death, of Kidd Kraddick tells us about radio
The sudden death of radio personality Kidd Kraddick is a reminder that life is fragile and never guaranteed.

'Kidd Kraddick' in the Morning was a syndicated radio show from Dallas that is the morning show on our sister station B-97.  I didn’t know Kidd Kraddick, but since I did that same morning show slot in the 80’s on B, I felt an instant bond with Kidd when I got an alert from WWL's text alert Saturday night that he had died.

When he died, Kidd Kraddick was hosting the Kidd’s Kids Golf Tournament at Timberlane Golf Club on the Westbank.  His charity was dedicated to bringing joy to thousands of chronically ill and terminally ill children.  The network that syndicated his show said, “He died doing what he loved, and his final day was spent selflessly focused on those special children that meant the world to him.”

I talked to some of the B-97 staff about him and everyone paints a picture of an outstanding human being who gave his time unselfishly, in an industry where that is sometimes hard to find. “Working with Kidd for the past 5 years – he was phenomenal and he became a staple in the New Orleans area post-Katrina,” said B-97 Program Director Jammer. “Who he was on the air was who he was off the air. Total great guy – loved his work family, his daughter and his listeners. What more can you ask for?” continued Jammer.

“People would be truly surprised at how many people he touched – not only through his charity, but also with the way he invited listeners into his life every morning,” was the first comment from Johnny Palumbo, Promotions and Marketing Director for B-97.  “On a personal note,” Johnny said, “he was the kindest person – willing to share his radio experience and wisdom with others.” And I can tell you what a wonderful characteristic that is in a world where talent can be very territorial.  That attitude of sharing with those around him is certainly consistent with his on-air and off-air persona.

Kidd Kraddick was only 53 years old – about to turn 54 in August.  That’s too young to die.  While his family and the on-air staff he was so close to grieve the loss of their dear friend and leader, and while listeners will feel a void in their morning routine, right now I think most about his daughter, who lost her father at an early age and at the height of his career.

It is not always easy to celebrate a person’s life immediately following their death, but isn’t that the best way to honor their contributions to those they touched and the world that knew them?

The heartfelt and overwhelming response to Kidd Kraddick’s death speaks volumes about the power of radio.  I know from personal experience that if you share your life on the air, listeners consider you a friend and someone they know and trust.  Kidd obviously made his listeners feel that way and that is a true gift in this business.

Throughout history, people have predicted the demise of radio.  When television added pictures to sound, there were predictions that radio would become insignificant.  When MTV hit the air with music videos on August 1, 1981, there were predictions that radio would die.  In fact, the first music video that aired on MTV was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles.  Radio inspires imagination and thought that video often discourages.

With today’s new technology that has added so much competition, radio continues to thrive.  Radio is a unique medium that provides entertainment and information during times when no other link to the outside world is possible.  America is obsessed with cars, and while video is now a part of the auto experience for the passengers, the driver (often the only person in the car) still has an intimate relationship with the radio.

During disasters, radio is often the only source of information for a community, quite literally a lifeline.  It's a responsibility we take seriously every day on the job. 

Traditional radio continues to face competition from a variety of areas, but there is something very special about the interaction between a radio host and his/her audience, and the idea that what we hear on broadcast radio is shared with more of a mass audience.  Broadcast radio still provides a greater sense of a bond with community and as humans we still crave that sense of community that has been eroding through technology.

As we mourn and celebrate the life of radio personality Kidd Kraddick, let us also notice that the reaction to his death shows us just how personal and how important radio is to all of us.  Throughout its history and even today, radio will always be an integral part of the human appetite for information and entertainment, as well as have the power to be a part of a collective effort to help others. 

Kraddick showed the best of what radio, and radio hosts, can be:  He did not have to use his star status to help the lives of countless children...He did it because he wanted to, and because he thought it was the right thing to do.  He lived like a man who knows, as we all should, that our time on this Earth is limited, indeed.

R.I.P. Kidd Kraddick – we don’t know why God needed you right now...but thanks for making the lives of countless listeners and children, as well as the world of radio broadcasting, a better place during your time with us.
 (3) Comments




 
SCOOT: Zimmerman “got away with murder'' - What This Tells Us About Our Justi
Scoot@wwl.com  - What is your reaction to a juror in the George Zimmerman trial now saying Zimmerman “got away with murder” in the killing of Trayvon Martin and that she feels she owes an apology to Martin’s parents?

On ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Juror B29 said, “You can’t put a man in jail even though in your hearts we felt he was guilty.”  But isn’t it the responsibility of the jury in a trial to convict those who are guilty?  So, if George Zimmerman committed murder – why wasn’t he convicted? 

This is not the first time we’ve heard this kind of reaction from a juror.  In the Casey Anthony trial we heard jurors say they thought she was guilty, but the state did not prove its case – so the only verdict was “not guilty.”  

Though many people are confused following this juror’s surprising revelation that she believes George Zimmerman “got away with murder,” this demonstrates that one fundamental American right that was believed to be lost is still truly intact in our system of justice – you ARE innocent until PROVEN guilty!

“We had to grab our hearts and put it aside and look at the evidence,” admitted Juror B29.  In all the talk in the media before and during the Zimmerman trial, I joined those voices in warning that the jury may reach a verdict that many will disagree with and that happens because of how a jury accepts the responsibility of applying the law, technically, to a case.  That happened in the trial of the four L.A. police officers, who were found “not guilty” in the beating of Rodney King and in the case against Casey Anthony – and arguably in the murder trial of O.J. Simpson.  It should be reassuring to know that jurors do take their incredible responsibility of sitting in judgment seriously and that juries can judge cases on facts and evidence –  not emotions. That’s our system.

To act on emotion would be equivalent to hearing about a crime that was committed and then an angry mob runs and grabs the suspect and immediately lynches him at the town square.  Our system is designed to prevent the human instinct of revenge from controlling our actions.
There is no question that our system of justice in America is not perfect and justice is not always blind, but our system is admired around the world.  While we scratch our heads and question those verdicts that so contradict the emotional verdicts we have reached in the “court of public opinion,” we should appreciate the moments that show us that defendants, even in high-profile cases, will get a fair trial.

There will be outrage throughout America and in the media about the admission from a juror that she believes George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin, but was found “not guilty” of the crime, because the prosecution did not prove its case…because of “reasonable doubt.”

We, as a nation, also learn that contrary to the widely-held belief that people in highly-publicized cases are unfairly tried and convicted in the media – defendants can receive a fair trial that seems shrouded in public bias.  

In the cases of O.J. Simpson, the 4 L.A. police officers, Casey Anthony and now George Zimmerman, the media was accused of condemning people. who should’ve been perceived as innocent until proven guilty.  But the truth is – the aforementioned did receive that precious American right of a fair trial.  

Fair trials are not determined by the public consensus of “guilt” or “innocence” – rather by an objective jury.  The landscape of justice in America is littered with innocent men and women who have been convicted – and in some cases executed – for crimes they did not commit.  
And if our system is flawed – isn’t it better if a guilty man goes free – than an innocent man convicted?


 (8) Comments




 
Scoot: A Hostile Witness to the Baby Boomer Generation
The Establishment is justified in their criticism of the music and styles of a young generation.  There is criticism of offensive song lyrics, outrageous hairstyles and sexually-provocative clothing that reflects a disturbing new trend in sexual promiscuity.
I have just described today’s new Establishment, which once was arguably the most rebellious, sex-driven young generation in modern history.  However, it is today’s new Establishment that is often making the same judgments about today’s young generations that were made of them in the past.  This is why I describe myself as a “hostile witness to the Baby Boomer generation!”

While I admire many characteristics and the personality of my generation, I have not turned a blind eye to what I see as a hypocritical view of younger generations. Let us remember that the Establishment collectively described the youth of the 60’s as a generation that would “never amount to anything” and a generation that promoted open sexuality.
The idea of hippie “love communes” were only part of an extreme fringe group, but the acceptance of the provocative mini-skirt, the micro mini-skirt and ‘hot pants,’ which left nothing to the sexual imagination, became the statement of a young generation that was projecting a new openness toward sexuality.

During the early-60’s, many conservatives promoted a ban on birth control pills fearing that legalizing birth control pills would encourage casual sex, since it removed the possibility of pregnancy.  The idea of having “sex for fun” was seen as a negative trend that would destroy the morals of America.  In 1965, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution protected married couples’ use of birth control pills as a “right to privacy.”  I find haunting similarities between that debate from our past and today’s debate over same-sex marriage.

Today, there is subtle, but obvious criticism of young stars, like Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez, for wearing extremely tight and very short shorts as an overt display of sexuality designed to inspire sexual thoughts in young males.  Selena Gomez was on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” Tuesday night wearing leather shorts that, according to an article on the Huffington Post website, “could not possibly get any shorter.”  Those shorts were no tighter and no shorter than the “hot pants” girls I dated wore in the late 60’s!

I hear the constant voices that predict a moral decline in young America that will destroy our nation, and yet, those cries come from the very generation that was once criticized for its promotion of moral depravity.
The new Establishment has condemned the sex and violence in movies and entertainment for inspiring sex and violence in the real world.  Actor Nicolas Cage recently said there would be gun violence in America even if there was no gun violence in movies.  And he’s right.  Relative to the world in the 60’s and 70’s, there was plenty of sex and violence in movies.  The James Bond movies with Agent 007 frequently jumping in bed with the hottest bodies in movies and with characters, like “Pussy Galore,” planted blatant thoughts of casual sex in the impressionable minds of a young generation.  Movies like “Bonnie and Clyde” and “A Clockwork Orange” were relatively as violent as any movies today.

I can hear the response, “Yea, but it’s different today!”  Yes, there are differences, but what is not different is that sex and violence in movies and music and provocative fashion then must be remembered in the context of the times and not relative to the world today.  A perfect example of this is the rating of movies.  R-rated movies then would receive a PG or maybe a PG-13 rating today, which demonstrates that “pop culture” is judged by the standards of the times.

It was 20 years ago when I first noticed the hypocrisy of my generation.  Twenty years ago bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden introduced a new sound that was a significant departure from the music that had been evolving from The Beatles and the 60’s British Invasion.  It was new and different and it inspired an anti-Establishment look that was known as “grunge.”  I heard my generation saying the same things my parents said about The Beatles – “That’s not music!  That’s not singing!” Look at their hair and look at their clothes! What are those young people doing?”  Yet, the young new Establishment 20 years ago did not even notice the parallels of their condemnation with the past.

The Baby Boomer generation fueled a young liberal movement in the 60’s and 70’s with its promotion of equal rights for minorities and women and the acceptance of sex for enjoyment and not just procreation.  But these attitudes were rejected by the then-Establishment.  In the 80’s, the Boomers were getting better jobs, the economy was exploding and there was a mass exodus to the suburbs of America.  That led to a changing view of life and inspired a conservative trend that has been advanced by that generation as today’s Establishment.

I am not suggesting that we should not learn from our past and our mistakes, but I describe myself as a “hostile witness to the Baby Boomer generation” because as a generation, we have failed to understand our condemnation of today’s pop culture is comparable to the condemnation of our generation years ago.

We look at ourselves today and think  we are right and righteous and today’s young generation will amount to nothing when they get older.  The tattoos and piercings adorned by today’s youth cause many adults today to ponder what they will do when they become the Establishment.  The answer is – they will define their era in the same way that we defined our era.
Jeans are now acceptable everywhere – even in the finest restaurants in New Orleans and that more casual look was something Boomers ushered into today’s world of the Establishment.  In the late 70’s, there’s a story about Led Zeppelin being denied entrance into the popular nightclub 4141 on St. Charles because they were dressed in blue jeans!  They were not part of the Establishment then and didn’t make the rules.  What was once unacceptable is now acceptable and when today’s young generation with tattoos and piercings become the Establishment, they too, will define what is acceptable. Every young generation rebels – some more than others.  There are new trends beginning now that will define today’s young generation.

From music to sexuality, there are certainly significant differences between today’s Establishment and the new young generations, but only in technical and physical terms.  The “spirit” of young generations now reminds me of things I most admired about my generation when we were making our statement.  The question is – can we be honest enough to admit that?

I’m Scoot – and I remain a “hostile witness to the Baby Boomer generation!” 
 (2) Comments




 
Scoot Blog: Anthony Weiner – 'living up to his name?'
What kind of person gets in trouble for doing something, and then continues to do it? Answer: a disgraced former Congressman who is running for mayor of New York City. There is something so perfect for the media about a guy named 'Weiner,' who loves sexting younger women!

Anthony Weiner says he is not dropping out of the mayor's race in New York City,even after new lewd correspondence with a young woman has emerged. In 2011, then-Congressman Weiner was embroiled in scandal when it was revealed that he has been sexting – texting explicit photos of himself – to a number of young females. Weiner resigned from Congress. 

A brazen Weiner has since announced he is running for mayor of New York City, and in the wake of new sexting with a young woman, he continues his campaign.  His wife, Huma Abedin, has now come out in his defense and is standing by him.  She said that she forgives him and believes in him, and that the sexting of young women is between them - as a married couple.

As much as we want to judge this guy, is she right? Is this a family matter and not a concern for the public? It is true that his wife would have to be the first one to forgive him for sexting, which according to surveys most Americans consider 'cheating.' But we also know that many couples stay together for convenience, money or the children... even in the wake of dishonest behavior.  There are women who 'stand by their man' no matter how humiliating the circumstances.

I can only speculate, but it always seemed to me that being the strong woman she is, Hillary Clinton would never have stayed with Bill after the Monica Lewinsky scandal; if she wasn't going to reap the benefits of being married to a president.  I can only image the conversations that went on behind closed doors between Bill and Hillary! Public opinion polls showed that most Americans did not approve of what Bill Clinton did, but still approved of the job he was doing as President.  So, does sexual indiscretion really matter to America?

We have to admit that we are a society that likes to peek into the personal lives of politicians and celebrities, but is our criticism of Anthony Weiner's serial sexting based on a real concern about his ability to govern; or is it more about our fascination with 'private' sexual matters? Even though private sexual matters may come into public view because the media feeds our innate curiosity, we are quick to denounce the inappropriate behavior as a way of proclaiming our own moral standards.

Should we even be concerned about what goes on in the personal sex lives of our politicians? YES! There is nothing wrong with asking and expecting a man or woman to be honest, even if their dishonesty is accepted and forgiven by their spouse or partner. Their sexual dishonesty touches other people in society and is not simply a marital issue. As long as the public can be impacted by the personal behavior of politicians, or anyone for that matter, then the public has a right to be critical.
While I understand that we are supposed to live by the Biblical premise – 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone' – and while we can admit we are all sinners, can't we judge the actions of sexting as an indication of dishonesty? And when any person fails to learn from their mistakes and continues the very actions that landed them in trouble in the first place, I think it's fair to judge the basic integrity of that person.

We still do have moral standards in America, and we do hold some people in our society to a high standard.  Politicians are among that group. Sexting is not only 'dishonest,' but it's also 'sleazy.' But aren't those two words that describe many politicians?

The ultimate question is – who does this?  Who is so proud of themselves that they send lewd pictures to another person?  I find nothing wrong with questioning the mentality of such a person.  Should his name have been a clue all along?
 (2) Comments




 
Scoot : Are we ready to have an ‘honest’ conversation about race in America
Reaction to the ‘not guilty’ verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman has become a flashpoint in the national conversation about race relations in America.  It may prove to be the ‘tipping point,’ if an ‘honest’ conversation about race relations actually begins.  We must first be honest with ourselves and admit we don’t like to talk about things that make us feel uncomfortable – and honesty about race relations makes America feel uncomfortable.    

Many have been critical of President Obama for addressing the Zimmerman verdict and the ‘Justice for Trayvon’ rallies over the weekend, but shouldn’t it be the responsibility of ANY president to make an effort to bring Americans together at a time when an event divides our country?  The very fact that this president has been so criticized every time he speaks is another example of why it’s time to have an honest conversation about race.  For those who argue that Obama is not ‘black’ – he is only half ‘black’ – is unfair because as Americans, WE have labeled people who are half ‘black,’ like Barak Obama, as ‘black,’ not half ‘black.’   Throughout our history, this country has placed anyone like Barak Obama in the black category, so it is wrong to discredit him when he speaks from a black perspective.

There is nothing unfair about criticizing Obama’s policies, but to deny him a black perspective because he is only half black, when our world has traditionally seen people like him as black, only emphasizes how quickly white America plays the race card, too.

The response from Americans since the Zimmerman verdict should be convincing evidence that it is time to have that honest conversation about race relations in America.  As a nation, we have said that it’s time to do that before – after the O.J. trial and after the trial of the 4 L.A. police officers accused of beating Rodney King, but that conversation never continued long enough to bring people together. Talking about having an honest conversation about race in America is a legitimate thing to bring up, but when are we actually going to have that conversation?

If something positive can come out of the emotional turmoil of the trial of George Zimmerman, it should be that we finally do have an honest conversation about race relations in America.  It’s true that much has changed in America since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, but the fallout from the Zimmerman trial proves that we still have a long way to go.  Admittedly, the tension between the races has progressed beyond the physical segregation of the races and the more blatant discrimination that was part of American society.  Today, racism has taken a more emotional form.

Whites and blacks (remember, I’m NOT referring to everyone) have become territorial and there is a tendency to keep score.  Consider things like, “If ‘they’ can say the N-word – then why can’t ‘we’?  If a disproportionate number of young black males commit crimes – then it’s a ‘black problem’.  If ‘whites’ get preferential treatment in the justice system or if unemployment is more of a problem for ‘blacks’ than ‘whites’ – then ‘blacks’ are not getting a fair chance in life.

We can never undo our past.  Slavery will forever be a scar on America’s face.  But since none of us today caused that scar or have been directly scarred – then isn’t it time we stop staring at the scar and look at the face?

For any real progress to be realized in this conversation, we ALL have to admit is that we don’t really understand how each other feels because the origin and history of previous generations of ‘whites’ and ‘blacks’ were so different.  If ‘whites’ continue to hold a grudge because of things like affirmative action and if ‘blacks’ continue to blame ‘whites’ for slavery – we will never make progress toward living as Americans.  Those who complain about the “Miss Black America” beauty pageant cannot explain how the existence of the pageant adversely affects their lives.  So what does it matter if there is a “Miss Black America” pageant?  And those are just a few examples of how ‘blacks’ and ‘whites’ are quick to express resentment toward each other.

The media, driven by the motive to attract audience, will always look for the news stories that quickly capture and hold the attention of the biggest audience.  And the shooting of Trayvon Martin contained some of the important elements of any good drama.  The story also reached back into a hurtful part of our past.  The media will also find ways to enhance certain aspects of hot-button news stories – even to the point of exposing complete bias on their part.

But as an audience – as Americans – we have to admit that we have allowed the media to manipulate us.  Those with a conservative ideology generally seek those media outlets and sources that fit their opinions and the same can be said of those with a liberal ideology.  Many Americans are unwilling to recognize that they are not open-minded and if ‘so-and-so’ said something, then it must be true.  Or, “I read it online – so it must be true.”  We all must recognize that the media, as well as many social and political leaders, have built reputations on advancing racial tension and will lose their status and money if and when race relations improve.

We have to ask ourselves if we are ready to have an honest conversation about race relations in America.  And if we are - then where does that conversation begin?  I would like to think that we have evolved as a country and a society of individuals to the point where we can start to be honest with each other and that means we all accept blame.

Any honest conversation about race relations must begin with the simple premise – we are ALL part of the human race first – then we are Americans and then we can subdivide into any number of groups.  But acknowledging and understanding that we are ALL part of the human race is the first and only place to begin the conversation.

Now – are you ready to have that honest conversation about race relations in America?
 (4) Comments




 
Scoot Blog: Obama, Trayvon and Black America - should we listen?
Today, President Obama talked about America’s reaction to the shooting of Trayvon Martin and the trial of George Zimmerman.  The President, again, made a personal reference by saying that “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”     

President Obama said that “there are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.”   He also spoke about African-American men who have experienced hearing the click of locking doors as they walked across a street or seen women clutching their purses tighter when they approach.   

“The African-American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws,” Obama said at the White House today.  The President acknowledged that the African-American community is not “naïve about the fact the African-American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system, that they are disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence.”

For the past few days on the air, I have focused on the idea of having an honest conversation about race relations in America and, specifically, where does that conversation begin.    

As a nation, we have yet to let our guards down and forget about the past and the present and make a true effort to understand each other’s perspective of life. That doesn’t mean we must truly understand each other – but we do need to understand each other’s view of life in America.

I have to admit that I can’t imagine what it’s like to be followed or looked at suspiciously because of my skin color.  Throughout my life I have been labeled and profiled to a degree in different ways, but I never felt that it was the result of something as natural and basic as skin color.  As white males and females, we should listen with an open mind when blacks say they feel persecuted because of their color.  There is too much evidence to support this reality.

Following the ‘not guilty’ verdict in the Zimmerman trial, I constantly heard black callers say that the verdict shows that their “life is worth nothing.”  It’s easy for me to dismiss that, but perception is reality and if that is a perception that I may not see because of my skin color, then recognizing the validity of such a perception becomes my responsibility.

On the other hand, as a white male, it is my perception that blacks initially judge me by the voices of white racists in America.  While the difficult roads I have traveled in my life differ from being judged by skin color, I have faced countless challenges where I had to fight for opportunities and then had to prove my worthiness.  I feel as if many blacks do not instinctively consider the challenges in life that go beyond skin color.

Rather than ‘stand your ground’ with preconceived feelings about whites or blacks, we all must open our ears and our hearts and do a better job of actually ‘listening’ to each other before we quickly dismiss the other side as lacking validity in what they are saying.

Here is an interesting assignment for white America: Watch the TV sitcom, “My Wife & Kids” starring Damon Wayans.  Wayans plays Michael Kyle, a trucking company executive who lives in a Connecticut suburb with his wife and three kids. “My Wife & Kids” is a sitcom featuring a black family – but it’s not about a black family.  The show is about a family!

Michael Kyle fits the mold of a typical suburban father who leans toward a conservative approach to raising his family and keeping his two teenagers on a straight and narrow path and all the challenges that go along with that.  It is one of the funniest sitcoms about family and I’m sure there are many white Americas who have dismissed this show simply because it features a black family.  “My Wife & Kids” demonstrates that, as Americans, we all share the same basic concerns about our jobs, our kids, our marriages and our society.  The show reaches across racial boundaries. (“My Wife & Kids” is on Nickelodeon at 2:00 am and 2:30 am and on BET at 9:00 am and 9:30 am.)

I am not suggesting that watching a TV sitcom is going to improve race relations in America, but it does give white America an opportunity to understand that the comedy is based on everyday challenges void of race.  I admit that I’m not sure what black America can do to feel a similar experience.

What I heard loud and clear from President Obama today was that there are things we don’t understand about how blacks feel they are perceived by the country and that black America has many of the same concerns as white America.  When are we going to try to honestly listen to each other?

Here’s a question to consider:  “If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it – does it make a sound?”

There are reasonable voices talking about race relations in America, but if no one is listening – will it ever make a difference?
 (2) Comments




 
Scoot Blog: Boycott the Olympics - Political Stupidity!
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says the United States should consider boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia - if Russia grants political asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
 
The suggestion to boycott the Olympics in Russia is the epitome of political stupidity! Senator Graham made the comment out of his frustration that Russia is now bullying the United States with its support of Iran and the Assad regime in Syria.
 
Graham is one of the more frequent political oppositions to President Obama and sometimes opposition for the sake of opposition leads to absurdity.  It is true that relations between the United States and Russia have grown tense and this should be of particular concern to America because Russia still has the nuclear weapons that were a daily threat to the United States during the Cold War Era. Russia has bonded with Iran and Syria and the possibility of granting asylum to Edward Snowden has deepened concerns that the United States and Russia are drifting further apart. But a boycott of the Olympics would punish the U.S. athletes and have no lasting impact on curbing the current direction of Russia under President Vladimir Putin.
 
House Speaker John Boehner rejected Graham’s call for a boycott of the Olympics by saying that Graham was “dead wrong.” It may seem strange, but when Republicans disagree with Republicans or Democrats disagree with Democrats we almost get the sense that bipartisanship is not completely dead!
 
In March of 1980, President Jimmy Carter called for a U.S. boycott of the Summer Olympics in Moscow. Both Houses of Congress passed resolutions supporting the boycott and some U.S. allies joined the boycott. Carter called for the boycott of the Olympics in Moscow after Russia invaded Afghanistan. The boycott upset many Americans and had no lasting negative impact on the then-Soviet Union. And imagine the impact the boycott had on the athletes who had dedicated their lives to training.  There is no reason to call for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Russia in early 2014. The only thing the idea accomplishes is criticism of the Obama Administration.  Suggesting something that is inherently flawed for the purpose of criticizing a president can only lead to discrediting the source – Senator Lindsey Graham.
 
Graham said the loves the Olympics, but hates what Russia is doing around the world. He said that U.S. and world participation in the Olympics in Russia would be similar to the world’s participation in the Olympics in Germany under Hitler in 1936. Graham is implying that Nazi Germany’s propaganda machine took advantage of being on the world stage just prior to the outbreak of World War II and that Russia would reap the same benefits. Graham’s concern is that the Winter Olympics in Russia will give that nation a chance to advance its position in the world - therefore we should not participate.
 
While Graham acknowledges that a boycott of the Olympics would unfairly punish the athletes, he stands by his call for a boycott unless anyone has a better idea of how to punish Russia. The United States is fully aware of our cooling relationship with Russia, but the question is what do we do? President Obama recently said that he would not “scramble jets” over Russia, which is a prudent strategy.
 
When the criticism of any president encourages proposals that endanger the United States, or in the case of an Olympic boycott unfairly punishes athletes, then it’s time to stop and realize that politicians do not care about what’s in the best interest of America – they care only about advancing the party.
 
Technically, the U.S. government does not have the authority to boycott the Games. That final decision is left up to the U.S. Olympic Committee.
 
The Olympic Games offer an opportunity for the world to unite – regardless of political disagreements. The United States has and will continue to host Olympic Games. We welcome the world to our country in the spirit of sportsmanship void of politics. A boycott of the Olympics over politics defies the spirit of the Games and makes the U.S. appear to be a bully.
 (1) Comments




 
Scoot Blog: Are 'Stand Your Ground' Laws Good or Bad for America?
There are new questions about ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws that are now on the books in over 20 states.  Laws already allow citizens to use deadly force against intruders and to protect life and property, but ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws have eliminated the need to retreat if possible. Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws may encourage violence and “undermine public safety.”  

In a recent high-profile case in Texas, a retired Houston firefighter, Raul Rodriquez, killed a neighbor during an argument about a noisy party at the neighbor’s house.  Rodriquez went to Kelly Danaher’s home to confront her and during the argument, which was videotaped by Rodriquez, he is heard saying at one point, “My life is in danger now” and “these people are going to go try to kill me.” He also said, “I’m standing my ground here.”  

Rodriquez shot and killed his neighbor and injured two of her male friends.  In his defense he claimed that one of the males made a move that he felt was threatening.  But on the video, Rodriquez was obviously setting up his own defense by claiming his life was in danger and he was standing his ground.  The state of Texas has a ‘Castle Doctrine’ law, which is similar to ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws on the books in other states.  The judge, and the jury, did not buy his defense - Rodriquez was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Since the ‘Castle Doctrine’ law went into effect in Texas in 2007, the state has seen an increase of 16 fatal shootings over a 4 year period.  However, that doesn’t mean that other lives may not have been saved because citizens acted.

While the Zimmerman defense team did not use Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law in its defense, the law has attracted national attention.  From the first reporting of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, I have questioned whether George Zimmerman would have gotten out of his vehicle if he had not been armed.  If there are laws that give citizens the right to defend themselves, then the question is whether ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws protect citizens who go beyond protecting themselves.

Violent crime, even murder, among America’s youth has actually declined and is now at the lowest point since 1993, but the perception is that crime is up and many argue that we should all be armed to defend ourselves against the criminal element.  ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws have appeased those Americans who believe that citizens should have more legal protection in situations where guns are arguably used proactively.  But it’s fair to question whether these laws have also contributed to a ‘gun-happy’ America.

George Zimmerman was found ‘not guilty’ because the jury considered the case after Zimmerman got out of his vehicle, therefore his motive and past behavior were not part of their deliberations.

With complete respect for the Second Amendment and gun ownership in America and with respect for EVERY American’s right to defend themselves, ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws seem to feed a growing sense that citizens must become more aggressive in fighting crime.  Being more aggressive against crime can be a positive thing, but not if it encourages some ‘gun-happy’ citizens to aggressively take the law into their own hands or protect themselves when settling a confrontation that might otherwise have been averted by retreat.

Anyone who is too quick to stand behind a ‘Stand Your Ground’ law may be using the law to support a predisposed mentality that essentially supports gun violence and the use of guns as the only answer.
 (2) Comments




 
Scoot: Are we ready to have an honest conversation about race in America?
Reaction to the trial of George Zimmerman and the ‘not guilty’ verdict forces us to realize the ease with which ‘race’ becomes part of so many issues in America.  Both sides played the ‘race card.’  When I refer to ‘whites’ and ‘blacks’ in this blog – I am not referring to ALL ‘whites’ and ALL ‘blacks,’ so if you are not among those I’m referring to – don’t take it personally.

Going into Saturday evening, as the jury in the Zimmerman trial was deliberating I hosted a special Saturday edition of “The Scoot Show” to talk about the trial and the anticipation of the verdict.  Later that evening, I was at the House of Blues just before a concert when I got word that the jury verdict had come in.   In the four hours that followed, it was an interesting night, to say the least.

One thing that stood out to me as the calls came in was the recurring statement: “It’s time we had an honest conversation about race in this country.”  What I found so interesting about that was the fact that, as a nation, we have said that before – after the O.J. trial and after the trial of the 4 L.A. police officers accused of beating Rodney King.  Talking about having an honest conversation about race in America is a legitimate thing to bring up, but when are we actually going to have that conversation?

If something positive can come out of the emotional turmoil of the trial of George Zimmerman, it should be that we finally do have an honest conversation about race relations in America.  It’s true that much has changed in America since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, but the fallout from the Zimmerman trial proves that we still have a long way to go.  Admittedly, the tension between the races has progressed beyond the physical segregation of the races and the more blatant discrimination that was part of American society.  Today, racism has taken a more emotional form.

Whites and blacks (remember, I’m NOT referring to everyone) have become territorial and there is a tendency to keep score.  Consider things like, “If ‘they’ can say the N-word – then why can’t ‘we’?  If a disproportionate number of young black males commit crimes – then it’s a ‘black problem’.  If ‘whites’ get preferential treatment in the justice system or if unemployment is more of a problem for ‘blacks’ than ‘whites’ – then ‘blacks’ are not getting a fair chance in life.

We can never undo our past.  Slavery will forever be a scar on America’s face.  But since none of us today caused that scar or have been directly scarred – then isn’t it time we stop staring at the scar and look at the face?

The first thing we ALL have to admit is that we don’t really understand how each other feels because the origin and history of previous generations of ‘whites’ and ‘blacks’ were so different.  If ‘whites’ continue to hold a grudge because of things like affirmative action and if ‘blacks’ continue to blame ‘whites’ for slavery – we will never make progress toward living as Americans.  Those who complain about the “Miss Black America” beauty pageant cannot explain how the existence of the pageant adversely affects their lives.  So what does it matter if there is a “Miss Black America” pageant?  And those are just a few examples of how ‘blacks’ and ‘whites’ are quick to express resentment toward each other.

The media, driven by the motive to attract audience, will always look for the news stories that quickly capture and hold the attention of the biggest audience.  And the shooting of Trayvon Martin contained some of the important elements of any good drama.  The story also reached back into a hurtful part of our past.  The media will also find ways to enhance certain aspects of hot-button news stories – even to the point of exposing complete bias on their part.

But as an audience – as Americans – we have to admit that we have allowed the media to manipulate us.  Those with a conservative ideology generally seek those media outlets and sources that fit their opinions and the same can be said of those with a liberal ideology.  Many Americans are unwilling to recognize that they are not open-minded and if ‘so-and-so’ said something, then it must be true.  Or, “I read it online – so it must be true.”  We all must recognize that the media, as well as many social and political leaders, have built reputations on advancing racial tension and will lose their status and money if and when race relations improve.

We have to ask ourselves if we are ready to have an honest conversation about race relations in America.  And if we are - then where does that conversation begin?  I would like to think that we have evolved as a country and a society of individuals to the point where we can start to be honest with each other and that means we all accept blame.

Any honest conversation about race relations must begin with the simple premise – we are ALL part of the human race first – then we are Americans and then we can subdivide into any number of groups.  But acknowledging and understanding that we are ALL part of the human race is the first and only place to begin the conversation.

Now – are you ready to have that honest conversation about race relations in America?
 (14) Comments
Tags :  
Topics: Social Issues
Social:
People: George ZimmermanRodney King




 
Scoot Blog: What Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman can teach us
It shouldn’t take a tragedy to teach us things we should already know, but the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and the trial of George Zimmerman offer many great lessons in life.   

Here’s what we have learned or will learn from this tragedy: 

•    If you are part of a neighborhood watch group – then ‘watch’ – don’t shoot.

•    If a 911 dispatcher recommends that you stay in your vehicle – then stay in your vehicle.

•    Do not own a gun so you have confidence to be in situations you might not be in without a gun.

•    Do not judge young, black teens wearing hoodies just because they fit a stereotype.

•    If you wannabe a cop but can’t – do not try to become on in real life.

•    If someone appears to be following you at night – keep walking and do not approach the person.

•    Do not brag about fighting on social media.

•    If you feel as if someone is a threat to you because they are following you – do not confront them – call the police.

•    If you are walking home from the store – then walk home from the store.

Regardless of the verdict in the Zimmerman trial, there are things both Zimmerman and Martin could have done to prevent a death and a second-degree murder trial.  The instinct to confront another person can easily lead to a tragedy.  Sometimes the right thing, walking away, is the hardest thing to do.

A lesson I hope and pray we learn from this trial is that we can disagree with the outcome of a verdict in a passion-filled trial, but we can accept the verdict without resorting to a violent protest.  I applaud Trayvon Martin’s parents who asked for the man who killed their 17-year-old son to stand trial.  They did not demand a verdict, but wanted justice rendered by a jury.  And that is exactly what has happened.

I also applaud Al Sharpton, who has built a career on racial tension, for saying on his MSNBC show, “No matter what their (the jury’s) decision, there’ll be no winners in this case.  If the defense wins, Mr. Zimmerman will have to still bear the burden of the accusations and will be known for this throughout his life.  If the prosecution wins, the family of Trayvon Martin will not get their child back, their brother back.”  Sharpton went on to say, “So therefore, whatever the outcome there should be no gloating and should be no violence.”

Some of those who are predicting violence if George Zimmerman is found ‘not guilty’ almost seem to want that to happen so they can say, “See, ‘those people’ are racists and never wanted justice – they wanted Zimmerman to be found guilty.”  It’s as if some actually want a violent reaction to support their preconceived opinions of blacks in America.  The voices calling for calm are there to be heard – but only by those who are willing to listen.

The sad thing about violence and riots as a form of protesting is that a spark becomes a wildfire because many people join in with no understanding of what is being protested.  During the riots following the ‘not guilty’ verdict in the Rodney King trial, a teen participating in the rioting was asked by a reporter about Rodney King – the teen responded that he didn’t really follow sports! That teen represented those who simply joined the violence to vent their rage against the world.

It’s wrong to assume there will be violence if George Zimmerman is found ‘not guilty.’  If there is any violence to protest of the verdict, let’s judge that because it happened – not because we ‘think’ it will happen or because it may have happened in the past.

To predict, or expect, rioting after a ‘not guilty’ verdict in the Zimmerman trial is profiling – and isn’t that something that George Zimmerman may have done the night he killed an unarmed 17-year-old?  

George Zimmerman has said that he wouldn’t do anything differently that night, but that’s what he has to say for the sake of his defense.  As I see him sitting in court every day, all day, I can’t help but think that George Zimmerman would do everything differently that night.

There are important lessons to be learned from that night in Sanford, Florida – shame on those who ignore those lessons!

 (22) Comments
Tags :  
Locations: FloridaSanford
People: Al SharptonRodney KingTrayvon MartinZimmerman




 
Scoot Blog: CNN host an embarrassment in Zimmerman trial coverage!
As the defense rested in the trial of George Zimmerman, we all find ourselves analyzing which side presented the best case.  Did the prosecution establish that George Zimmerman was a wannabe cop who profiled Trayvon Martin as a young thug?  Or, did the defense successfully paint a picture of a man who wanted to protect a neighborhood and shot and killed Trayvon Martin as he was being beaten by Martin?  The burden is on the prosecution to present a case that would lead the jury to find Zimmerman guilty ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’

We have yet to hear rebuttals and closing arguments, which often decide cases.  I’ve talked about how difficult it is for many people to view this trial objectively and how they are allowing their preconceived ideas about life, crime, guns, teenagers and race to guide their path to a ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ verdict.  We should all hope the jury will not allow any preconceived notions to determine the fate of George Zimmerman.

With every high-profile trial there is sharp criticism of how the media is covering the event.  Is the media being fair and objective - or is the media obviously promoting a certain verdict?  Criticism of the media is fair, but has anyone in the media swayed your opinion of what you think happened that night between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman?  And if you have not been influenced by the media, then why are you concerned that many members of the media may have an agenda in covering this case? Remember, the jury is sequestered.

There seems to be a reluctance to accept the reality the news is designed to get your attention for the purpose of building audience, therefore news broadcasts and news networks act like other forms of entertainment.  This is more an observation than it is criticism.  We all have our favorite news anchors and news show hosts that we trust more than others.  Often those we trust the most are those who share our political opinions and not necessarily those who most accurately present the truth.

We should all accept those who present the news and host new-oriented TV shows for what they are – individuals on TV with the goal of getting your attention through their personalities. But once in awhile there is an anchor or a host that distinguishes themselves from most others.

In the coverage of the George Zimmerman trial, there is an anchor/host that has far exceeded the expectations of anyone covering a serious news story.  It’s CNN anchor/host Ashley Banfield.  She is a very attractive female with a compelling on-camera persona, highlighted hair and distinguishing glasses.  Ashley Banfield’s daily ‘performance’ from Sanford, Florida has been so inappropriate that she is an embarrassment in a field where embarrassment is the norm.

Banfield is on CNN during the day and her bias has led to a confrontational demeanor with guests and co-hosts, but it is her excitement in reporting this story that is nauseating!  She goes to commercial breaks with excitement in her voice and mannerisms that are more appropriate for someone hosting the red carpet at the Grammy’s than a host on a major news network who is covering the murder trial of a man accused of killing an unarmed 17-year-old teen.

Ashley Banfield has changed, but so has CNN.  The network was taken over by Jeff Zucker, who was put in charge of lifting CNN out of the basement of the ratings.  Zucker has a lot of experience with morning TV news shows that are as entertaining as newsworthy.  The new direction of CNN is noticeably more sensational and it seems to be working.  CNN has risen in the ratings since Zucker took over.  If a news network strives to be more sensational and the ratings go up, do you blame the network or the audience that’s watching?  I blame the audience.

The trial of George Zimmerman provides compelling storylines that perfectly fit the kind of drama that captures a television audience.  It’s a ‘story’ about race, crime, guns, pot, a man who may have a vigilante attitude and a dead teenager.  Though it has the type of elements that are important in any drama, this is a tragic story and the way that CNN’s Ashley Banfield and a few others have approached this story is reprehensible.

Those who program and guide a news network, like CNN, are smart enough to know what they are doing with the coverage of this murder trial, which leaves only one possibility – they believe that America responds more to sensational accounts of the news than to more sensitive accounts.

You can catch Ashley Banfield’s performance at the murder trial of George Zimmerman every day on CNN – and the word ‘performance’ accurately describes her reporting!
 (19) Comments




 
Scoot Blog: The Zimmerman trial is not a sporting event!
No one should be cheering ‘for’ or ‘against’ George Zimmerman – this is a trial and not a sporting event.  Most people seem to have ideas about what they ‘think’ happened, but they were not there and what we ‘think’ happened may be quite different from what really happened.

High-profile trials, like the trial of George Zimmerman, leads to people taking sides and when stereotypes are involved the passion on both sides grows immensely.  Even though race is an easy way for many to pick a side, this is also a trial about gun rights and responsibilities.  The trial of George Zimmerman is a trial about profiling a young, black male wearing a hoodie.  It’s about a man who appears to have aspired to be a police officer much of his life, but failed to reach that goal and proclaimed himself a neighborhood watch volunteer, which gave him an excuse to patrol a neighborhood, while legally carrying a gun.

There is plenty of information to support either the prosecution or the defense in this case. Every night during the trial I am talking about the testimony from that day and giving listeners an opportunity to react to what they have seen, heard or read about the trial.  I have been accused of everything from ‘being afraid’ to be honest about blacks to being liberal and therefore supportive of the prosecution.  As I talk about the daily developments in the trial, I admit I wasn’t there, but that does not stop me, or any of us, from having opinions about the two people who were involved in that tragic situation.

Having an opinion about George Zimmerman’s behavior and possible motives that night or Trayvon Martin’s alleged aggressive behavior and attitude is quite different from saying you know what happened and therefore you think Zimmerman SHOULD be found guilty or not guilty.  From the time this tragedy was reported, I have questioned the mentality of an individual who becomes the self-appointed armed patrol of a neighborhood, however, that doesn’t mean I think George Zimmerman should be found guilty. 

Zimmerman’s decision to get out of his truck seems to have been inspired by the fact that he possessed a gun.  That doesn’t make him guilty, but it does emphasize the responsibilities that go along with gun ownership. Zimmerman did not break the law by getting out of his vehicle that night, but if he had not made that decision, Trayvon Martin would not have been shot by George Zimmerman and Zimmerman would not be on trial.  If Zimmerman had that decision to make again – what do you think he would do?

On the other hand, Trayvon Martin is seen by many as a typical young ‘thug’ wearing a hoodie and staring a fight with a guy who was just trying to protect his neighborhood. Since George Zimmerman had a permit to carry a gun, then he did nothing wrong in trying to defend himself against a strong teenager with an attitude, but if it wasn’t self-defense, then it was murder.

It may be human nature, but it’s wrong to seek the information that supports our preconceived ideas, rather than seek the truth with an open mind.  Since I am not on the jury and neither are any of those calling into the show to comment on the trial, there is nothing wrong with discussing what we know about the trial.  What does bother me is the obvious prejudice many people seem to have concerning the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman.  No one who is judging was there and the variety of impressions about what happened that night is astounding.

It’s understandable to talk about a high-profile trial that’s ongoing and we have all learned from the trials of O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony that we cannot predict a jury’s verdict.  Some people do get away with murder and some innocent people are in jail.  Our jury system is far from perfect because it is made up of human beings, but, overall, it’s the best system we know of and one that is admired around the world.
As you continue to react to the testimony and the evidence in the George Zimmerman trial, remember that the way juries are instructed to apply the technical aspect of the law is very different from the casual conversation we have in public.  We have heard jurors say after high-profile trials that they felt a defendant was guilty, but according to the law and the case presented they could not find the defendant guilty.

No one wins in this case. Travyon Martin is dead and George Zimmerman’s life willnever be the same.  Rather than cheering for one side or the other, we should all hope and pray that justice is served.

Though many have accused me of taking a side in this case, which I have a right to do, I am only hoping that justice is served and I do not ‘hope’ that Zimmerman is guilty or not guilty.  This is not a sporting event where we pick a team and hope they win – this is a trial and we should hope that through all of the media coverage that in the end, there is justice.  Only three people really know what happened that night – Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman and God.

So as we continue to talk about the latest developments in the trial, try to recognize those times when you find yourself taking sides rather than hoping for justice.



 (35) Comments
Tags :  
Topics: Law_Crime
Social:
People: Casey AnthonyGeorge ZimmermanO.J. Simpson




 
Scoot Blog: What my first cruise meant to me!
My first cruise was amazing!  If you have been on a cruise, you know what I have now experienced – if you have never been on a cruise - make it a priority when selecting your next vacation destination!      

Click HERE to view my gallery of photos from the cruise...

I live downtown, so the idea of being at sea with no land or other ships in sight inspired the perfect mental and emotional escape from reality.  Even though I shared the ship with hundreds of people, I was struck by the feeling of isolation, especially at night on the top deck of the ship’s bow with the sensation of a 40 knot wind along with the backdrop of the darkness of the sea and the sky at night. As often as we deal with our hectic world, there were moments on the cruise that reminded me that we share a big and beautiful planet.  

As a talk show host, I pay attention to the news every day and all day and I research topics I’m talking about on the show.  But with very limited TV and Internet service, and with no cellphone service on the cruise, I actually allowed myself to not focus on the many controversial issues I deal with on a daily basis.  Taking a break from our routines gives us a mental and spiritual break that allows us to step back and consider if our patterns prevent us from seeing the ‘big picture’ in life.

The staff on the ship, the Carnival Elation, was excellent and many went to the extent of remembering your name, which made their service seem very personal.  But it was the people on the ship that made this a most memorable experience.

First of all, I got to know the members of the band Groovy 7.  I have seen them perform at weddings, in clubs and at festival event and I have always considered them to be a fun and talented band.  But getting to know them on the cruise showed me the wonderful people and professionals they are.  Their dedication to details, like their harmonies, is impressive and they did have our group and the ship rockin’ and dancin’!

Secondly, I really enjoyed meeting the people who went on our cruise – those who were part of our group and those who were from the New Orleans – Gulf Coast region.  Listeners often tell me when they meet me that they can now ‘put a face with the voice.’  Well, it works that way for me, too.  When I meet you, I get to put a face, personality and life stories with the people who listen to the show.  When discussing topics that involve the human factor, I never feel like I am alone in the studio – I always envision the people I meet.

On this brief cruise, I heard many wonderful stories about people’s lives and I also heard of great struggles.  I will mentally reference all of those people and their stories when I talk about related issues on the air.  So, when you hear me say something like, “I met this couple (or this mother or father)” who was going through ‘whatever’ I’m talking about on the air – those are my sources when talking about issues and topics – real people and real stories about real life! And that goes not just for those I met on the cruise – that happens whenever I meet those who listen to the show.

When G7 would play a slow song and I would watch couples dance and it was heart-warming to recognize those couples that had been together for years and knew each other’s moves on the dance floor – and I’m sure in life as well.  With so many failed marriages around us, it’s comforting to appreciate and give great credit to those couples that are still together and loving each other and life – and that goes for the couples that are younger, but appear to have solid marriages based on love and respect for each other.

My first cruise was more than an escape from the stress of doing a talk show every day – meeting the people I met and hearing the stories about listening to me now on WWL and over the years made me so grateful that what I have done through my career has really touched people.  There were no political discussions – only shared experiences and I shared aspects of my personal life that I don’t always share on the air.

I often hear people say they saw me somewhere, but didn’t want to bother me so they didn’t talk to me – if you ever see me and want to say something – please do – it is an honor for me to meet you!

In many ways this cruise was a working vacation, but I was reminded that for me there is no difference between work and play. I am honored to be in the position I’m in and never take it for grant it.

As I say at the end of every show – “Love you, New Orleans (and surrounding areas)!”



 (2) Comments




 
Scoot Blog: Freedom of Speech: the Misunderstood Freedom!
Every 4th of July we should think about our freedoms and all of the things that make America a nation to be admired.  But this 4th of July, I find myself reflecting on how we seem to have lost respect for our most cherished freedom – freedom of speech.
The hateful tone that has invaded political debate suggests that many Americans no longer have a true understanding of our freedom of speech.  I hear from callers and I read in texts and emails, a vengeful attitude towards those with opposing opinions. There may be times when I have been so passionate about my point-of-view that I appeared to be less respectful of those with a differing opinion, but on “The Scoot Show,” my agenda is not to a political group – it is only to what I honestly believe. 

When those few listeners who so vehemently disagree with my opinion on hot-button issues, like same-sex marriage or the trial of George Zimmerman, suggest I should not be on the air because of my opinion, I realize that some Americans do not understand our right to free speech.  The First Amendment guarantees our right to ‘freedom’ of speech – not the freedom to say only what you agree with. The very idea that a talk show host should not be on the air because of certain opinions expressed is the attitude of an individual who is not patriotic.  Yet, many of those who want to suppress the speech they disagree with would proclaim themselves to be the ultimate patriots – wrong!

America was built on the right to have certain freedoms and with the freedom to express ideas comes the freedom to say things that not everyone agrees with and that is something that should be celebrated.

Many Americans do not have an open mind when it comes to freedom of speech and they are more interested in selecting a news source or a talk show that fits into their political ideological thinking than they are in considering both sides of an issue.  This leads to an epidemic of political hypocrisy.

For years I have heard criticism of the ‘liberal media’ that borders of grave fear that Americans are being controlled by puppet masters that have strings attached to every aspect of the media.  I have been on talk radio in New Orleans and in many great cities around this country and I have worked in a TV newsroom, where I expressed my opinions in many feature stories, but I have never, never been told what opinion I should have by anyone who was linked to top management.  The fear that the media are trying to control America is an irrational fear with no foundation other than ridiculous rumors now spread like a disease on the Internet and in mass emails.

Today, the idea of a controlling ‘liberal media’ has been countered with national and local radio talk show hosts and the FOX News Channel that are dedicated to the ideology of the ‘right.’  There is bias in the media and, though more pronounced today, it has always been part of the equation when humans collect facts and tell a story.

This 4th of July, as you think about the great freedoms we have in America, search your soul and ask yourself if you really understand what freedom of speech means.  It gives everyone the right to express an opinion that you may not always disagree with and the contempt many seem to have for those who express strong opposing views defies what it means to truly be an American.

Happy Birthday, America!


 (6) Comments




 
Scoot Blog: Zimmerman & Martin: Who was the aggressor?
As testimony continues in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, one thing has become obvious – this is a trial about whether or not George Zimmerman was the aggressor.

It is difficult for an ‘aggressor’ to claim self-defense.  The jury will decide: Was Zimmerman was the aggressor as soon as he got out of his vehicle?  No matter what side of this argument you take in this debate, one thing remains clear: Had Zimmerman remained in his vehicle as the police dispatcher recommended, Trayvon Martin would not be dead, and Zimmerman would not be in court facing second-degree murder charges.

There is a growing feeling among many Americans that the best way to fight crime is for everyone to be armed.  However, the case of George Zimmerman should prove that being armed is not always the right answer.  I am not convicting George Zimmerman, and I respect that the jury is in a better position than I am to render a verdict in this case since they are in the courtroom and will be given instructions as to how to apply the law.  But the burning question is: Did George Zimmerman possess the mentality of an armed vigilante who aggressively approached Trayvon Martin that night?

There are aspects of this trial that anger me.  Today, there was testimony about Trayvon Martin’s size – his height and weight – as if that matters.  There was surveillance video showing Trayvon Martin at a nearby 7-11 and questions about whether he looked the same in the video as he did when he was shot by Zimmerman  - as if that matters.  The prosecutor even asked one witness if it was illegal to wear a hoodie at night – as if that matters.  Much of the trial is mundane, but it’s a trial and not a made-for-TV movie (which, I am certain will follow.)

This trial should not be about race – it’s a trial about the motives of those individuals who may own guns for the purpose of acting as law enforcement. Years ago, the Guardian Angels patrolled streets in some American cities as visual vigilantes.  They were not armed and they were on a mission to report, not act on, suspicious behavior.  George Zimmerman proclaimed himself a neighborhood ‘watch’ volunteer, but he did more than ‘watch’ and that’s what this trial is really about.

I support the Second Amendment and gun ownership.  The right to protect yourself and your family is one of the foundations of our society, and our Constitution.  However, I do not support owning guns if the motivation is to pump up misplaced confidence that allows an individual to place himself, or herself, in a situation that is not defined as a direct threat to one’s own life and property.  Remember, it’s difficult for an aggressor to claim self-defense.

Many have already decided whether George Zimmerman is guilty or innocent, but that’s up to the jury to decide.  For those who have concluded that Zimmerman is innocent, or even a hero, I ask you to close your eyes and image that it was your 17-year-old son, and not a young black male wearing a hoodie at night, who went to a convenience store near your home and was shot and killed by a citizen with a gun.

And if you were going to buy a gun for the purpose of patrolling – not just watching – your neighborhood, what advice do you think George Zimmerman would give you right now?


 
 (17) Comments
Tags :  
Topics: Law_Crime
Social:
People: George Zimmerman




 
Scoot Blog: Cyndi Lauper Still Just Wants to Have Fun!
Watching Cyndi Lauper on stage at the House of Blues Sunday night did more than bring back memories – it was another vivid example of never getting old even as you mature.

When I was doing the morning show on B-97 and playing her early hits in the mid-80s, it was arranged through the promoter for me to get Cyndi Lauper on the air and invite her to do a concert on The President – a riverboat that for years was a great concert venue that rolled up and down the river!  Well, she agreed and that was her first big show in New Orleans.  Last night, I saw essentially the same Cyndi Lauper on stage!  And more than bring back memories, it made the audience that grew up with her feel good about their age and themselves.

I met Cyndi again years later when I was on the air in Denver.  We had a great conversation on the air before her concert in Denver and she invited me backstage after the show.  She is as spunky and friendly off stage as she is on stage, and that’s not something I can say about everyone I’ve met over the years! Cyndi invited me to share a bottle of wine with her, which I did, and I saved the empty bottle and placed it next to a framed picture of the two of us that I kept on a table in my apartment.  One night during a party, someone saw the empty bottle and thinking it was an ‘empty bottle’ from the party – threw it away!  I lost the souvenir that night, but I still have the pic of us on my desk at WWL.

Last night’s audience at the House of Blues was demographically diverse, but the majority of those at the House of Blues appeared to be that audience that fell in love with her in the 80s - and the love affair continues!

With red dreads and wearing a Goth-inspired outfit, Cyndi Lauper pranced and danced like she did when I first saw her on The President.  After opening the show with a string of mega hits, like “Money Changes Everything” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” Cyndi took time in-between some of the songs to share stories with the audience, which personalized the songs that followed.  Cyndi went into detail about the recording the adult-oriented song, “She Bop!”
The House of Blues audience acted like Cyndi’s background singers through most of the show.  There are those stars that seem to be above performing many of their hits, but Cyndi Lauper satisfied the crowd with her hits and closed the show with a heartfelt performance of “True Colors” - accompanied only by keyboards.

Cyndi has always promoted tolerance and understanding and I felt that her selection of the song, “True Colors,” and the passionate way she sang it, was her way of telling the audience to do more than just enjoy one of her biggest hits – Cyndi wanted us to hear the words and live by them:

“But I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful
Like a rainbow.”

And even though the ‘rainbow’ has become the symbol for the gay community, which has always strongly supported Cyndi Lauper, I think Cyndi intended for the words of that song to apply to everyone!
 
 (0) Comments




 
Recent Posts
Categories
Tag Cloud
No Tags Found !
Archives