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Scoot's Blog

Tune in to "The Scoot Show" for lively, candid discussions about news, politics and culture with WWL's "Radical Moderate!"

Weekdays 1pm-4pm

Twitter: @scootwwl
Email: scoot@wwl.com
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Scoot: Can we admit we have a gun problem?

Can we admit we have a gun problem in America without freaking people out? Admitting we have a gun problem in America in no way threatens the 2nd Amendment.

One of the most respected men in Louisiana, and arguably the country, retired U.S. Army Gen. Russel Honore, says, "As a country we're in a state of denial because we've confused the right to bear arms with the right to carry arms all the time anywhere or anyplace you want."

Responding to recent mass murders, including the tragic movie theater shooting in Lafayette, Gen. Honore is trying to inspire a conversation that may be politically unacceptable, especially among gun rights advocates. "We've got a problem in this country, and at some point the politicians have to get down into the community and find some answers to this problem," Honore told Gannett Louisiana.

Recognizing that America has a gun problem is not an attack on the 2nd Amendment - and the fear of a government gun grab has turned any conversation about America's gun problem into a direct assault on the right to bear arms.

With every right comes responsibility, and with the rights guaranteed under the 2nd Amendment there is great responsibility. If police officers are held to a higher standard because they are armed, then the same can be said of the general public. It's never the gun – it's what someone does with the gun.

Obviously, many Americans have never been taught proper use and respect for guns. Guns are guaranteed under the 2nd Amendment as protection of life and property, but have been used too often to settle insignificant arguments or to simply vent frustration. Often we hear stories in the news about gun violence that resulted because someone felt disrespected or disagreed with another person. That is not my impression of the guaranteed right to bear arms in America.

Gen. Honore also raises the issue of people being armed anytime and everywhere. The thought process leading to this idea is frightening and simplistic. On paper and maybe in theory, it sounds logical to argue that if everyone were armed then there would be less gun violence. I do agree that criminals with guns attack in places where they are confident no one else has a gun, but the idea that a shooter in a dark movie theater, for example, would be quickly identified by a mass armed movie audience that would precisely take out the shooter is complete fantasy.

In spite of the paranoia that the government is planning to take your guns away, missing is the specific research and information supporting that assumption. And this is NOT a debate that began when President Obama took office. As a radio talk show host, I have entertained countless conversations over the years about a government conspiracy to confiscate Americans' guns. Where is the evidence that this is happening? Where is the evidence that the Supreme Court is on the threshold of denying 2nd Amendment rights?

As a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and gun rights in America, I can confidently admit that America has a gun problem. But let's be clear, the "gun problem" is really a "people problem." We have plenty of gun laws on the books that are not effectively enforced. We have a judicial system that has failed. The idea of passing new gun laws is empty rhetoric from politicians and leaders who create an illusion of solving the real problem.

The problem with guns in America is the lack of personal accountability when it comes to gun. Parents, adults, law enforcement and the courts are collectively responsible for teaching responsible gun use and enforcing severe consequences for any failure to use a gun responsibly.

Admitting we have a "gun" or "people with guns" problem in America is the first step toward reducing gun violence.
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Topics : Politics
Locations : Louisiana
People : ObamaRussel Honore


Scoot: Are you concerned about gay Scout leaders?

Some Americans applaud and some are appalled at the decision by the Boy Scouts of America to lift the ban on scout leaders who are gay. There was also a recent controversy when the Boy Scouts ruled that gay scouts were welcome. The hysteria over this controversy is rooted in simplistic thinking. The temptation to condemn gay scouts and gay scout leaders results from a failure to consider reality over popular rhetoric.

The debate over same-sex marriage taught us that many Americans resist change. So much in our lives changes so rapidly - clinging to the status quo is an attempt to secure comfort zones in our lives.

The concern that gay scouts and gay scout leaders will turn children gay is irrational. Those who fear that straight children will be converted into the lifestyle of homosexuality is not linked to credible social or scientific evidence.

Over the years of discussing this topic on my talk radio show, I have challenged callers to explain how they, or someone they know, was brainwashed into turning gay. Since there is no personal reference with such a phenomenon, the fear is based on what people "think" and not what they "know."

In elementary, middle and junior high, I had teachers that we all knew were gay, but they had no impact on my sexual orientation or anyone I knew in school over the years. You and I have all been in showers and locker rooms, in school and health clubs, with homosexuals - and I do not know of any mainstream efforts that led to men or women being sexually attacked in those situations. And I certainly see no trending evidence that gays and lesbians in showers and locker rooms use those opportunities to convert unsuspecting heterosexuals.

Of course, there will be exceptions to any situation, but missing is any research indicating that gay men and women, who we have unknowingly been in situations with where we might feel vulnerable, treat locker room settings the way the NFL treats draft day!

Straight men and women who are afraid that gay scout leaders will convert their children are using their life perspective as heterosexuals to judge a situation they have never experienced. The flaw is assuming that if you, as a straight person, were gay or lesbian and in a shower or locker room with the gender you are attracted to, then you would act a certain way. Considering the societal conditioning that gays and lesbians go through their entire lives to socially share private facilities with the gender they are attracted to – it is not rational to predict how gays and lesbians would treat those situations.

Comedy Central's "South Park" may be crude and distasteful to many, but the show has a history of presenting opinions on many of the hotly debated topics in America. In one episode, the mothers and fathers of the children in South Park are outraged that a gay man is the scout leader. Their hysteria leads to the gay scout leader being removed from that position and replaced with a macho, straight male that is perceived to be a great role model for the young scouts. The new scout leader was straight and looked like the perfect person to lead the young boys, but he was into child pornography and used the scout gatherings as opportunities to take nude or compromising pictures of the boys for distribution.

Recently, we have all seen news stories about men busted in child porn investigations and they don't look "gay" – they don't look like they would be a threat to children, but in fact, they are. This reality demonstrates the flaw in judging someone based on appearance or based on their sexual orientation.

To say that gay men cannot be scout leaders is to say that ALL heterosexual males should not be allowed to coach or lead any group of young females. If straight, married men can be trusted as coaches, then gay men should not be automatically feared as scout leaders.

There is always the possibility that a gay scout leader may have malicious intent by seeking the position as scout leader, but there is no evidence that it would be disproportionate to the malicious intent of many heterosexual males who fly under the radar and gain approval to have access to our children.
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Scoot: Let the new adventure begin!

And so a new chapter begins in what has been an incredible radio career!

One of the great blessings in life is the rekindling of spirit as life goes on. I really haven't done the math, but I think my radio career started about 40 years ago and against great odds I have some measure of success.

The fact that I, once again, have the opportunity to begin a new chapter in my radio career is exciting. New beginnings are often a reward for success, but they also present the sensation of a fresh new start.

Though I have never become jaded over the years of doing music and talk radio, I have always met new challenges with positive anticipation.

We are all a product of the lives we have led, but that does not always mean we controlled the decisions that changed our lives. The only thing we really control is how we deal with life's challenges.

As most of you probably know, I dealt with a major derailment in my career a few years ago that happened when I put personal matters above my career. In retrospect, that proved to be a major mistake. But without bitterness for the past I was determined to get back to doing what I know best in life – radio.

It was a blessing when Diane Newman, Operations & Program Director of WWL, learned of my return home to New Orleans and asked me to fill in for various hosts. Diane and I worked together when I was on WWL in the early 90s and it was wonderful to see how she applied her knowledge and work ethic to rise to her current position. We have great mutual respect and appreciation for each other and she is a meaningful person in my life beyond being the head coach of WWL.

After a year or so of filling in for various hosts on WWL, the opportunity to host the night show was presented and I was thrilled to see my career come back full circle to WWL.

My first part-time job was at WWL-AM at the age of 17. I got a job as the guy who answers phones and clips newspaper articles for The Bob Ruby Show many years ago. I instantly fell in love with the business and knew that is what I wanted to do with my life.

When I returned to New Orleans in the early 90s, I moved from music radio to talk radio and hosted the midday show on WWL. I remember the feeling I had looking at the microphone with the WWL logo and realizing that I had returned to my radio birthplace. I also felt that I was doing what God wanted me to do with the life He blessed me with. And now, today, after returning to New Orleans again, I have the great pleasure of hosting the afternoon talk show on WWL!

I LOVE what I do and look forward to waking up every morning. A Chinese philosopher said that a truly happy person is a person who has difficulty distinguishing between work and play. My radio career has also been my hobby!

I did not realize what I had accomplished on the air in New Orleans until I returned recently from a great odyssey in great cities across the country. The constant stream of comments from people who would say, "Scoot, I remember listening to you when I was going to school" and many in their 30s said they knew me because they were kids in the car and their parents listened every day. I was surprised and humbled by the amazing, heartfelt reaction.

However, I have been in the business a long time and I am realistic enough to understand that not everyone likes what I do, but in this business, or any business, it's not important to make everyone "like you," because attempts to please everyone yield a product that has no distinction. And that goes for every product on the market – not just talk show hosts.

Contrary to the convenient temptation to label talk show hosts, I am not a conservative or a liberal and I am very proud of that. This country is dominated by common sense, moderate-thinking Americans and not the extremists on both sides who seem to attract a disproportionate amount of media coverage.

The term "moderate" has been given a negative connotation. "Moderate" is the way we describe Americans who do not view every issue through the myopic political perspective of the right or the left. It is much easier to define oneself by using the convenient label of left or right than it is to think about what different issues really mean to you and your family.

For lack of a more descriptive term, I refer to myself as a "radical moderate." I am opinionated, but my opinions of the top issues of every day are not beholden to conservative or liberal ideology. That seems to reflect a growing majority in America. Few are those who claim to be conservative or liberal who are not hypocrites at heart.

We should all challenge ourselves to be independent thinkers and that may be the best way to discourage the poisonous political climate of today's two-party system.

I cannot express how much I appreciate those of you who have been loyal listeners of "Scoot in the Morning" and now, "Scoot," host of The Scoot Show on WWL. Please know that it is because of you and those who I hope to attract as faithful listeners that inspire me to do the best job I can every time I am on the air.

I'm not perfect and like everyone, I make mistakes. My goal is not to change the world or to make everyone think the way I think. My goal is to be informative and entertaining. My background in music radio is still very much a part of Scoot, the talk show host, and the "bumper music" I use going in and out of breaks is part of the show!

I have enjoyed every moment of working with the legendary Angela Hill and I am a better person from that experience. She is one of the kindest and most sincere individuals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and I happy that she will always be part of New Orleans!

As part of discussing the top issues on each show, I do reserve the right to be sarcastic and have fun. Life is too serious for too many people.

When I was going through a change from one city to another, the words of the 1998 hit "Closing Time" by Semisonic explained what I was going through. The line, "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end" was, and still is, profound.

We may not always agree, but that's something we should celebrate rather than condemn in America.

I invite you to join me now every afternoon 1:00 – 4:00 pm on 105.3 WWL-FM and the Big 870 WWL-AM! Let the adventure begin!
 (8) Comments
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Topics : Entertainment_CultureHuman Interest
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Locations : New Orleans
People : Angela Hill


Scoot: Donald Trump, money and political hypocrisy

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump continues to brag about his vast wealth as he filed financial documents setting his fortune at $10 billion! Many question if he is actually worth $10 billion, but it's clear that Trump is promoting his wealth as an important quality to a presidential candidate. Has political hypocrisy, once again, risen to the surface of the turbulent political waters?

The wealth of rich Democrats often becomes part of the political debate. When Hillary Clinton lamented that when she and Bill left the White House after his second term, they were broke, there was an immediate and understandable backlash.

Claiming to be broke as Bill and Hillary entered private life was extremely insensitive considering the guaranteed annual salary of over $400,000 and all of the benefits for every ex-president. It is also understood that every ex-president will earn millions and millions of dollars from speaking engagements, books and other opportunities offered to the exclusive club of ex-presidents. And yet, in the face of that, Hillary Clinton said they were broke! Clinton has tried to step back from that comment, but her image as a politician who cares about average Americans was tarnished.

Since announcing that he is a candidate for President of the United States, Donald Trump has used his wealth as an attribute, and in many ways, it is. Trump can argue that he has the money to finance his own campaign and wouldn't be beholden to big donors. But it is the absence of criticism that Trump is so rich that he could not possibly understand middle class America – one group that will get a lot of attention in the 2016 campaign cycle – that should stand out to everyone.

My goal in bringing this up is not to criticize Donald Trump's wealth, which he gained through smart and diligent work. This is just another opportunity to point out the incredible hypocrisy that has become too common in political discourse today.

It is the collective hypocrisy of American voters that weakens nearly every political discussion. If grand wealth is a negative for a Democratic candidate, then it must be a negative for a Republican candidate, as well. And yet, Clinton's wealth will be criticized by many who will applaud Trump's wealth. Credible candidates, voters and anyone who engages in political debate cannot have it both ways.

We have reached a point where hypocrisy is fair game in any efforts to protect party image and it exposes an uninformed American electorate.

Hypocrisy mutes intelligent political debate.
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Topics : Politics
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People : BillDonald TrumpHillary Clinton


Scoot: What does the Confederate flag removal mean to you?

The heated debate over the meaning of the Confederate flag is actually a debate about America. Not who we were - but who we are today.

Many have wondered why now? The meaning of the Confederate flag has been a lingering debate in America for many years, but the shooting in South Carolina was such a definite act of blatant racism that the Confederate battle flag, which has been flying daily on the statehouse grounds in Columbia, SC since 1961, became a symbol of hate to many who had not perceived its presence as a powerful message of hate in America.

Over the past year, America has witnessed racial tension that led to violence over how some white police officers treat some black suspects. But in all of those controversies there was some room for argument over whether the police were simply doing their job. As we learned with some of the incidents, the police did act according to protocol.

In the case of the shooting in Charleston, there was no doubt that Dylann Roof's actions were racially motivated, and that opened the door to bringing the debate over what the Confederate flag really stands for to a new level.

The South Carolina legislature voted to remove the flag and it is scheduled to be taken down Friday, July 10, 2015. That action will be controversial and some will be there to applaud the removal of the flag and others will be there to protest it coming down. But in the end – the Confederate battle flag will no longer fly at the statehouse in Columbia.

We can wonder if the controversy over the flag would have reached this tipping point had the tragic shooting not occurred in a state that still flies the flag on state property. There is little doubt that had it not been the events in South Carolina that sparked new interest in the debate, it would have been another incident that soon would have ignited the debate to the point where the negative view of the flag dominated the positive view.

The removal of the Confederate flag in South Carolina is not just a local event – it represents a change in opinions in America. As a nation, we have been divided and the daily news focuses on the things that divide us. The new crusade to take down the Confederate flag in one Southern city is symbolic of what we all hope is a new gesture toward uniting as Americans.

Those who argue that the Confederate flag should not be hidden because it represents their Southern heritage point out that the flag is just a symbol and no one should be offended by what it means to them. But many Americans are offended by the display of that symbol and should we not equally consider those feelings as well?

Why is it so important to flaunt a flag that no longer represents the mentality and direction of America? Why is it so objectionable to remove a flag that offends a group of Americans that were gravely mistreated? Is this not the time to conclude that if that flag is offensive to many Americans that it should come down? It seems the calls to take down the Confederate flag are the voice of Americans who understand we have been too divided and we need to act in ways that more accurately reflect what this nation stands for.

If the Confederate flag is only a symbol and no one should be offended, then it could be argued that the flag is only a symbol and its absence should not be offensive.

No flag or statue should define who or what we are as individuals. Removing the Confederate flag will not end racism any more putting up the flag will inspire racism. By removing the flag, we do move past a time when Americans were divided.

Recognizing the Confederate flag as a symbol of hate to many Americans and the support from both black and white Americans demonstrates a sense of coming together as Americans. And isn't that what we all are?
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Topics : Social Issues
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Locations : South Carolina


Scoot: Is Donald Trump a contender or a clown?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been attracting arguably more media attention than any other candidate, including Hillary Clinton.

In announcing that he is a candidate for the presidential nomination, Trump made comments about illegal Mexican immigrants that drew praise from some, but condemnation from others. NBC and other networks have severed ties with any Trump productions and the backlash from the Hispanic community is growing.

Trump has turned the debate over immigration in America into one of the hottest issues of the 2016 campaign at this early point. And Trump is not apologizing. He used the tragic shooting of a young tourist in San Francisco by a Mexican national who had been deported 5 times to prove his point that Mexico is sending us their criminals. But many Republicans love Trump because he speaks his mind with little regard for the consequences and in today's world of politically correct politicians, his style is appealing.

Recent polls show Donald Trump in 2nd place in New Hampshire and tied with Ben Carson for 2nd place in Iowa. But averaging several recent polls in New Hampshire, Trump is in 3rd place with 10%. Jeb Bush leads with 15.2% and Scott Walker is 2nd with 10.2%. In the average of polls in Iowa, Trump is 7th at 6.3%. In an average of national polls, Bush leads with 16.3% and Trump is again 7th with 6.5%.

Why is Trump getting so much hype in the media? Donald Trump, the man, is an entertainer. Even though his first role was that of a real estate business mogul, Trump parlayed that stage into the world of entertainment.
With great instincts to get attention through being entertaining, Trump is getting what many believe is a disproportionate amount of media coverage. The "entertainer" in Trump has also guided him into the spotlight by making himself very accessible to the media and they have taken advantage of the opportunities to put his visually-compelling antics on their networks.

The attention the outlandish Donald Trump is attracting over the more tacit Ben Carson explains the motives of the media. The media's job is to get your attention and the more extreme or bizarre members of any group will always attract the most TV cameras. That is the nature of news.

Ben Carson tied Donald Trump in one poll and is just behind him in another. In the national poll, Carson sits in 3rd place with 9.8% and Trump is 7th with 6.5%, yet Trump appears to be much more visible in the media. If media coverage were driven more by standings in the polls than stage presence, then Ben Carson would at least be attracting the same amount of attention as Trump.

In the end, the national media does not see Donald Trump as a serious contender, but for now, Trump is giving the media everything it needs to attract an audience – showmanship!

For those who are quick to blame the media, consider that the media delivers what an audience responds to and Trump is not only a great entertainer, but he is also doing well enough in the polls for the media to justify the attention it is giving him.

Do you blame the media or ultimately the audience and those responding to the polls for the attention now focused on Donald Trump?
 (4) Comments


Scoot: Hillary says voters trust her - do you?

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has granted her first national TV interview with CNN senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar, which aired late this afternoon on CNN. After weeks of criticism by the news media for refusing to make herself available for questions and interviews, Clinton promises to open relations with the media.

The criticism from the news media to Hillary's reluctant to meet the press reached a peak over the Fourth of July weekend when the media covering her walking in a parade in New Hampshire were literally roped off from the candidate.

Hillary Clinton's adversarial attitude toward the press goes back years and there were questions about her willingness to be open with press when she unsuccessfully ran for president in 2008.

When asked about polls showing that a majority Americans think she is not honest or trustworthy, Clinton immediately played the "victim card" and blamed the Republicans for that perception. Clinton said, "People should and do trust me." The insistence that voters trust her seemed like a denial that there are voters that do have deep mistrust in her, most recently from the email and Clinton Foundation controversies.

Throughout the CNN interview, Hillary Clinton kept repeating calculated phrases she hopes will shape the thinking of voters. She repeated that voters trust her and anyone who doesn't is being brainwashed by right-wing slander. Clinton also repeated several times that when it comes to the controversies that Republicans are stirring up about her, she says she trusts the American people to sort it all out and said "I trust the American voter 100%!" That's a challenge to voters to interpret any of the negatives raised by Republicans as attempts to damage her image and they – the voters – need to resist the temptation to believe that any of the negatives are true.

On the subject of her email account as Secretary of State, Clinton repeated that she did not have to turn anything over for public view and everything she did was permitted by law and regulations. But in applying that strategy, Clinton seemed to dismiss the controversies surrounding her as myths created by the right and she said that the media have always targeted "us" – meaning her and her husband former President Bill Clinton.

There should be no doubt that Republicans will take advantage of any opportunity to expose controversies as she and Democrats will look for opportunities to discredit Republican candidates. That's called politics! But some of the lack of trust in the Clintons has been earned. It may be considered a peripheral issue to many, but President Clinton lying about having sexual relations with intern Monica Lewinsky raised the question of honesty. And I don't think anyone really believed that he smoked pot, but "didn't inhale!" Those may be less significant issues than other examples of political wrongdoing, but there is a reason for a lack of trust and it may not be simply part of the Republicans' attempt to discredit the Clinton's.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll a few weeks ago showed that only 38% of Americans believe Hillary is honest and trustworthy. Whether Republican rhetoric, or her actions, are to blame for the lack of trust most Americans have in her is a reality that she must confront if she expects to win the White House in 2016.

At times, Hillary Clinton was pressed with tough questions from CNN's Brianna Keilar, but Clinton managed to move through questions about opponent Bernie Sanders and a possible head-to-head campaign against Jeb Bush she did not want to directly address.

Hillary Clinton's first national TV interview on CNN did not reveal a new, more open candidate. The interview reinforced an ambience suggesting entitlement to the presidency and with that comes an arrogance that will be less tolerated by American voters in 2016.

Hillary's success will have a lot to do with how the Republicans position their party during a crowded campaign and ultimately who the party nominates.

As the voices of new generations are being heard, both parties will have to address issues, both left and right, from a different and more pragmatic position.

Polls show that overwhelmingly Americans are fed up with the political establishment in Washington, but Americans are also fed up with those politicians who present themselves as the moral police for America.

There are many factors that will make this presidential campaign exciting to watch! And the outcome will yield a new definition of America.
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Scoot: Black lives matter, all the time

After a Fourth of July weekend that was preceded by government warnings of possible terrorist attacks by ISIS or lone wolf ISIS sympathizers, we are talking about the number of Americans killed by Americans, and the greatest threat to the lives of Americans comes from Americans.

In Chicago, a city plagued by gun violence, 54 people were injured and 10 people were killed, including 7-year-old Amari Brown. Amari was enjoying fireworks with his father, who police say was the target of a gang-related shooting.

In New Orleans, we have had our share of dealing with innocent children being injured or killed because of their parents' decision to be involved in illegal activities. Who speaks for the innocent children who become the victims in gun wars between adults?

If "Black Lives Matter" - then they matter ALL the time and not just when a black American is killed by a white police officer.

On this Monday following the Fourth of July weekend in New Orleans, there are two cases that raise serious questions about the full commitment to doing something other than blaming in efforts to reduce violence.

NOPD arrested 20-year-old Will Reed in the shooting death of 20-year-old Milan Arriola, niece of jazz musician Kermit Ruffins and daughter of and NOPD officers and a NOFD captain. Milan was in a car when Reed allegedly opened fire on the vehicle. Reed has a violent past. He faced 8 counts of attempted first-degree murder. Police found 14 shell casings at the scene. Of the 8 people Reed shot at, not one came forward as a witness.

It would also be very helpful to know the background of who Milan Arriola was in the car with.

Today was the day that 33-year-old Travis Boys pleaded not guilty to the shooting death of NOPD Officer Daryle Holloway on June 20. The New Orleans District Attorney is seeking the death penalty, but legal analyst Tim Meche told WWL, "It is rare, particularly in Orleans Parish, to actually get a death penalty." Is seeking the death penalty rare in Orleans Parish because first-degree murder in the context of this city is not as horrific as it is elsewhere?

Murder is up about 35% for the first half of 2015. Reasons for the increase in murders range from a lack of NOPD manpower to the failure of programs in place to help at-risk youths to the revolving door of the judicial system.

Lack of parenting is rarely addressed by politicians and leaders and that could be the most significant reason for crime in general. It is always easier to blame anything other than individuals because they are the voters. It is also much more difficult to change the generations of young Americans who have come into this world by a male and a female that had no intent on accepting the responsibility that goes along with the children that result from casual sex.

It appears that the quickest way to have an impact on the murder rate in New Orleans or any other city, is for those in the communities where guns and criminally-minded individuals are plentiful to come forward and turn over those who threaten their lives daily.

It is understandable that witnesses to crimes are concerned about turning in their neighbors, friends or even relatives, but they posses the greatest power to change their communities. If those who witness crimes fail to come forward with vital information, then it's not fair to look outside of the community for blame.

We have recently witnessed our country reaching the flashpoint in time when Americans, white and black, said "enough" – it's time to take down the Confederate flag.

The question now is when will we reach that flashpoint when we all say "enough" and all individuals - criminals and victims - are held accountable by their communities and the law for their actions – or lack thereof.

Yes, "Black Lives Matter" – but ALL the time!
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Scoot: Are sharks targeting humans at the beach?

Another shark attack reported along the Carolina beaches!

Yesterday, a 68-year-old man was seriously injured and almost died after being attacked by a shark off the North Carolina coast. It was the 7th shark attack in the past three weeks. Two teens lost limbs in two of the attacks.

It is now being reported that a 12-year-old boy was attacked by a shark off the coast of South Carolina Tuesday. The youngster was swimming with a cousin about 15 feet off the beach when he was bitten by a shark. His wound required eight stitches. That brings the total of shark attacks off the Carolina beaches to 8 in 3 weeks.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory says safety officials are still trying to figure out if there is a pattern in the series of attacks against humans frolicking in the surf, but so far, no specific pattern or reason has been discovered. This leaves officials still figuring out how to keep all those who will be heading to the Carolina beaches this Fourth of July weekend safe. It appears there are no plans to close the beaches.

This real-life drama along the beaches of Carolina parallels the story line in the movie "Jaws," when the police chief of Amity Island tried desparately to convince the mayor of to close the beaches for the July 4th weekend following a shark attack. The mayor initially refused to close the beaches because of the economic impact of the holiday weekend on the businesses of Amity Island. Eventually, the mayor regretted not closing the beaches!

The series of 8 shark attacks includes two teenagers attacked at Oak Island, NC just 90 minutes apart. That has led to many asking - why are the sharks attacking?

There may be several reasons. People are flocking to the beaches in great numbers, but the warmer water and drought conditions may also be to blame. During a drought, the amount of freshwater flowing into the Atlantic is reduced and that creates higher salt levels, which attracts sharks closer to shore.

George H. Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research told CNN's Anderson Cooper, "This is a situation that we can't ignore, as we've had a number of attacks that are serious within a short period of time." Burgess also warned, "There's something going on there, there's no doubt about that. It's a perfect storm of environmental and biological variables as well as human activity."

This week, James Patterson's adaptation of "Zoo" premiered. The series explores what would happen if animals communicated with each other and decided to rebel against humans. Could the sharks be retaliating against humans?

Would you swim in the ocean off the Carolina beaches this weekend? If the beaches are not officially closed and someone ventures into the waters and is attacked by a shark – are they to blame?

The main premise of the movie "Jaws," was a shark that has the emotion to target humans. That was also highly criticized because that is not considered reality. But with the current series of shark attacks off the coast of the Carolinas – one can only wonder!
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Scoot: "Dukes of Hazzard" latest casualty in flag crusade

The latest casualty in the controversy over the Confederate flag is the 1980s TV series "The Dukes of Hazzard." TV Land announced that reruns of the popular series have been pulled from the network's line up, but declined to confirm that their decision was based on the Confederate flag emblazoned on the hood of the 1969 orange Dodge Charger driven by cousins Bo and Luke.

And last week, Warner Bros., which owns "The Dukes of Hazzard," stopped production on toy replicas of the signature car known as "General Lee."

Has the crusade against the Confederate flag gone too far?

As a white guy who grew up in the suburbs of New Orleans, but has lived in other major cities around the country, I understand that the Confederate flag is a symbol of heritage to some and certainly a symbol of hate to others. I also recognize that, in recent times, the flag has been hijacked by those who wish to express their support of white supremacy by displaying the flag.

Regardless of what the Confederate flag means to those who view it as a symbol of Southern pride, the flag is more widely interpreted today as a symbol of hate and should no longer fly on government flagpoles. Anyone who currently displays the Confederate flag knowing the fact that it is seen as a symbol of hate, must assume that they will be labeled as racists. Whether that's fair or not is inconsequential to the reality that many people see it has a flag of hate.

When I heard that Walmart and many other retailers were removing all Confederate flags and other Confederate merchandise from their shelves, I supported that as a good business move in 2015.

The issue of a Walmart bakery refusing a customer's request to bake a cake with a Confederate flag on it is a bit more complicated. Since I support the idea that businesses serve customers without discriminating, I have argued that if a bakery makes wedding cakes and a gay couple requests a wedding cake, then the bakery should be obligated to bake the wedding cake for the gay couple. I feet that the Walmart bakery should have prepared the cake with the Confederate flag on it, but I also understand that if the company policy is to refuse to sell any Confederate flag merchandise, then maybe the cake falls under that policy.

Discrimination is not always clearly defined. Walmart would be guilty of discrimination if it only baked Confederate flag cakes for some people and not others, but the company ban on Confederate flag items complicates that debate.

I have to admit that I have never watched an entire episode of "The Dukes of Hazzard," in reruns or when it aired originally on CBS between 1979 and 1985. I wasn't boycotting the show – it was simply a comedy that never attracted my attention. But when I read that TV Land had suddenly pulled all reruns of the show, I thought that maybe this crusade against the Confederate flag had gone too far.

Unlike a flag flying on government property, which greets all citizens, the Confederate flag on the hood of the car "General Lee" in a comedy is not something that will be viewed by anyone other than those who choose to tune into the TV show.

Furthermore, the parts I have seen from "The Dukes of Hazzard" define the show as a comedy about two bumbling cousins and the unruly cast of characters that accompany them through each episode. If it is a comedy about stereotypical Southern characters, then wouldn't imagery of the Confederate flag be appropriate?

If "The Dukes of Hazzard" portrayed Southern pride and heritage as something to be emulated in society today, then Confederate references would be inappropriate. But it's a comedy about wacky Southern characters that are not presented as role models in the real world.

It is easy for individuals and the media to form opinions that are definite. It takes an effort to look beyond blanket judgment and consider that decisions need not always be black and white. Not that everyone will agree, but I don't think there is anything hypocritical about supporting taking down the Confederate flag from government flagpoles, but not condemning a Confederate flag on the hood of a car that is a character in a comedy about Southern hicks.

The problem with debates today is that to many people are quick to judge everything on an all-or-nothing basis. We should challenge ourselves to think before judging everything as bad or good.

But the one that about "The Dukes of Hazzard" that transcended race was the ultra short cutoff blue jeans worn by Daisy Mae Duke! That character, played by Katherine Bach, inspired others to wear "Daisy Dukes."

And no one complained about that!
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