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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: Raising minimum age for strippers won't fight sex trafficking

Raising the minimum age for strippers in Louisiana from 18 to 21 has been promoted by the state legislature as a battle in the war on the sex trafficking of underage girls. But will increasing the age to 21 successfully curtail sex trafficking? History has taught us that we, as a society, cannot legislate morality. If it were only that easy!

Too often politicians propose, support and pass legislation as a way of showing voters that they are actually working to solve problems. Legislation, on the state and national level, is a process by which politicians justify their existence and often can best be described as "feel-good legislation." In other words, it's legislation that makes the politicians and the public "feel good" but does not actually address or solve a problem.

Sadly, enough of the voting public is willing to accept "feel-good legislation" as a solution to problems so ultimately politicians are rewarded for passing legislation that fails to solve problems.

A few facts about sex trafficking:
• $32 billion business worldwide
• Average age: 12 – 14
• 1 out of every 3 teens on the street in the U.S. will be lured into prostitution within the first 48 hours
(Statistics from trafficking.org website and gathered from Departments of Justice and State.)

If the average age of those who become part of the sex trafficking trade is 12 – 14, then raising the minimum age for strippers from 18 – 21 only pretends to have an impact on trafficking. If clubs were hiring strippers at 14 years old, then I can understand how raising the age of strippers from 14 to 21 might be a legitimate cause.

My opinion that raising the minimum age of strippers will not be valid in the fight against sex trafficking is in no way an attempt to promote younger strippers. Rather it is an honest assessment that the legislation will not be an effective weapon in the war against sex traffickers.

If an 18-year-old female is considered mature enough to join the military, then why is she not mature enough to be a stripper? Society can't have it both ways. An individual is either mature enough to make certain decisions at 18 or 21, but there seems to be an inconsistent application of age limits in America.

One of the arguments I've heard used in support of raising the minimum age of strippers to 21 is that "no one would want their daughter stripping at 18." I understand that no one may want their daughter to strip at 18, but I seriously doubt that a father's attitude would be much different when his daughter turned 21.

I have thought about the possibility that a politician had a personal experience with a family member becoming a stripper at 18 or was pressured by a voter who had that experience. Rather than blame the decision to become a stripper at a young age on the girl or the family for lack of proper guidance, it may be easier to blame the current law that allows 18-year-olds to become strippers.

There are a lot of trashy, low class strippers who do drugs and may offer sex for money outside of the duties at the club, but there are also strippers who are intelligent. Some are college students and many are mothers and stripping is a legal, even if not moral for many, way to earn money. There are exceptions, but a great number of strippers have only one goal in mind and that is to extract as much money as they can from every customer. And the best strippers in the best clubs earn staggering amounts of money!

I find it interesting that in strip clubs there are men who actually believe the girl they are tipping or paying for a lap dance is actually thinking the same thoughts as the customer. In reality, many of the strippers are putting on an act and while they are "working" they are actually thinking about what they need to pick up at the store on the way home!

Another argument against 18-year-olds being allowed to strip is expressed in the question, "Would you want your 18-year-old daughter giving a lap dance to a 50-year-old man?" I can only image how many 50-year-old fathers thought it was acceptable to get a lap dance from someone else's 18-year-old daughter. Remember, every stripper, every girl who poses nude for a magazine or a website video is someone's daughter!

It is fair to blame the sex traffickers for taking advantage of young teen girls on the street with no means of support. Out of desperation, young teens are willing to trade sex for the shelter and food needed to survive. But the most tragic aspect of sex trafficking is the fact that there is a market for sex with teenage girls. And who creates the market – older men who are willing to pay to satisfy their desire to have sex with an underage girl – a girl that is someone's daughter.

There is a lot of blame to go around for the sex trafficking trade, but I rarely hear blame placed on the men who create the market through depraved and perverted desires.

The problem with raising the minimum age for strippers in the state is that it will provide a sense of satisfaction in advancing the fight to stop sex trafficking and that satisfaction may prevent others from finding a real solution to the horrific trade.

The danger in "feel-good legislation" is that it provides a sense of satisfaction that something has been done to solve a problem and that may cause enough complacency to avoid the challenge of really working to solve the problem.
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Scoot: What does my viral NOPD photo say about America?

As I was walking into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Saturday morning to interview Harry Connick, Jr., who was the commencement speaker for the Loyola University graduation, I captured a moment when a New Orleans Police Officer was helping a Loyola grad fix his tie as the grad headed into the graduation.

With all the negative stories about police officers in the news recently, this moment stood out to me as a special moment. I captured it on my cellphone and later posted it on my Facebook page. The post instantly went viral and as of this morning has received over 350,000 hits – by far the most hits of any post on my page.

When I saw the police officer helping the young grad, I knew this was something that was such a part of the everyday actions of many of our law enforcement officers, but not often exposed, so I felt a civic duty to share it. As a representative of the media, I wanted to play a part in exposing a very touching and caring moment between a police officer and a young man. I wanted to show something positive.

What I found so encouraging about the photo going viral was that it represents the audience overwhelmingly responding to a very positive encounter between a police officer and a citizen. While I don't think race had anything to do with the officer's decision to help or the student's decision to ask for help, the fact that the NOPD officer was black and the graduate was white touched an incredible number of people in a special way. And I am certain the reaction would have been the same had the races been reversed.

"Race" always seems to be the "elephant in the room," and not mentioning race in this case avoids the reality of why this photo touched so many people and generated so many positive posts.

I plan to talk about this on my radio show this afternoon, but based on experience, I have to wonder how much reaction a very positive encounter between a police officer and a young citizen will generate? I can accurately predict what the reaction would be if I took a picture of a negative encounter between a police officer and a young citizen, but I honestly cannot predict the reaction to a positive moment.

Even if the topic generates a few calls, that should not diminish the significance of the incredible reaction to the Facebook post.

The numerous hits and the comments posted tells me that people will respond to positive news. When you blame the media for focusing too much on negative news, you are actually blaming yourself for responding more to the negative than the positive.

Maybe the incredible response to this simple picture of an instinctive human moment between a police officer and a young graduate is a sign that in the midst of all the negative news – we are craving news that makes us feel good and hopeful about our future as a nation.
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Scoot: Hysteria over transgender bathroom controversy

The fear of men suddenly starting to venture into women's public bathrooms to take pictures of, molest or rape young girls and women as a result of respecting transgender individuals has officially reached the level of hysteria!

I am receiving stories being circulated about men suddenly going into women's bathrooms with evil intent. In some cases, the stories are not even true. And in other cases, the incidents are sadly part of behavior that has always existed.

Some people who are adamant about their argument that allowing transgender individuals to use the bathroom of the gender to which they most relate will turn every public bathroom into some kind of sexual fantasy land are searching for even the slightest bit of information that they believe supports their dire predictions.

Social media is seen as a legitimate news source, even though many of the sites and individuals that guide the storylines are irresponsible and beholden to no legitimate criteria for determining what is and what is not "factual news."

In 2014, the fear of the Ebola virus sweeping across America quickly reached hysterical proportions, in spite of countless medical experts confirming that the spread of the deadly virus was not reality.

Many Americans accepted the doomsday scenario that everyone was at risk over the conventional wisdom of the medical community that the Ebola virus would be strategically contained. America seems to love to panic!

In 1976, there was widespread concern that a virus that became known as the "swine flu" was going to spread across the country killing a large number of Americans. The Carter Administration developed and even encouraged everyone in America to get the swine flu vaccination. The swine flu only killed one person in this country – the vaccine killed 25!

There was also hysteria over the AIDS virus. At one point the fear of AIDS spreading through the air was so great that a young student who became HIV+ from a blood transfusion was banned from his school over fear that students passing Ryan White in the hallways at school would suddenly become HIV+. Young Ryan White was banned from his school as a result of the hysteria.

These are just a few examples of the type of fear and hysteria that have captured the attention of many Americans. When one fear fades – another soon appears and the role of social media in our lives has turned fear into a spectator's sport. Yet, those who jump from one fear to another never seem to recognize their own pattern of buying into fear that never proves to be an actual problem.

Hysteria is the product of human nature. Perhaps it's natural for humans to focus more on the negative than the positive. And it is that aspect of human nature that drives the news every day.

Which story will attract more attention – a headline that reads, "Ebola reaches America – all Americans are now at risk of contracting deadly virus," or "There are isolated cases of Ebola that are expected to be fully contained posing no threat the general population."

And with the current controversy, which headline gets more attention, "The door is open for men to enter women's bathrooms to sexually molest your daughters!" – or – "The transgender bathroom policy will not lead to an increase in child molestation."

Only time will tell which headline is more accurate, but based on past hysteria history – the latter headline should prove to be the accurate headline.

After the hysteria over the transgender bathroom policy fades as a result of the reality that the fear was unfounded – it will be time for the next wave of hysteria!

As a radio talk show host – I should love this great American tendency!
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Scoot: Violence erupts at Democratic Convention in Nevada

Obscenities were shouted, vulgar references to the female anatomy were screamed out at female speaker and chairs were thrown by the angry supporters of a candidate during a recent political party convention. No, it wasn't Donald Trump supporters at a Republican state convention – it was Bernie Sanders supporters at the Nevada State Democratic Convention Saturday night.

Much of the reaction to violence at Trump rallies came from people who were quick to blame the mentality of conservatives for violent confrontations the erupted. The unrest that occurred when Democrats gathered for their state convention in Nevada demonstrates that the tendency for violence is bipartisan.

In these times of the great political divide in America, frustration runs deep on both sides, but this is not actually new. Many Democrats are quick to judge Republicans as mean and hateful with a tendency toward violence. The disruption at the recent state Democratic convention in Nevada makes hypocrites of those who point the finger at Republicans for their unruly behavior.

In theory, as society evolves it should become more civil, but it appears that our society is becoming less civil. Passion + frustration = unrest.

Society has a short fuse and that may be the result of our expectations of instant gratification. Trump and Sanders supporters share the frustration that their candidates are not being treated fairly by the establishment leaders of both parties. Human nature invites extreme measures in an attempt to find the justice we sense if missing, but it is our responsibility to suppress any instinct to be violent.

When the topic of crime in New Orleans or around the country comes up the discussion about the contributing factors always includes the idea that violence stems from the frustration of no jobs and no money. If the answer is to just deal with frustration and not act violently in the case of inner city youth, then that must also be the prescription for dealing with frustration over America's political system.

The violence exhibited by some Sanders supporters at the Nevada state Democratic convention last Saturday is proof that there is little difference between the extremes on the right and the extremes on the left.

Photo via USA Today
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Scoot: The new political correctness movement is scary

Is political correctness out of control in America? There's a strong argument that it is, and many believe that strict adherence to the idea of being politically correct contributed to the phenomenon of Donald Trump as a leading presidential candidate.

Political correctness can be defined as "conforming to the belief that language which could be offensive to others be eliminated." The idea of not saying things that purposely offend an individual or a group is noble, but that has led to the idea that no one should ever say anything that might offend another individual or group.

I have noticed recently on my radio show that there is a new kind of political correctness taking over and it is being practiced by many of those who condemn the very idea of political correctness. If being politically correct is the avoidance of saying anything that might be offensive, then a new form of political correctness is spreading.

After a listener complained about the police manpower that was being used to operate a brake tag checkpoint at a time when the city of New Orleans is facing a significant police shortage, I suggested that perhaps those officers could be better used elsewhere.

In the past year, NOPD Chief Michael Harrison has taken police officers off their desk jobs and put them on the street replacing them with civilians at the desks. Perhaps it's not as simple as taking police officers off a brake tag inspection checkpoint and putting them on the street in communities, but it seemed to be a legitimate question, especially in light of the Police Chief's recent action of replacing some officers with civilians.

I immediately received a few text messages criticizing me for once again, "bashing the police." The more I thought about that criticism - the more I realized that a new sensitivity has given birth to a new form of political correctness that is being practiced by many of those who actively condemn the idea of political correctness, in general.

I support law enforcement and demonstrate that regularly on the show and anyone who actually listens to what is said would quickly come to that conclusion. But I also talk honestly about what I see, read and hear and when I think a police officer is wrong I'm not afraid to speak out.

However, for some people, saying anything negative about anyone in law enforcement is equivalent to bashing the police. I have been criticized for bringing up aspects of a police officer shooting a suspect that side with the officer and if the officer is white and the suspect is black I'm presumed to be a racist, which is absurd.

When Officer Michael T. Slager, a white police officer in North Charleston, SC, shot a suspect, Walter Scott, in the back, I questioned how a police officer could claim his life was threatened if the suspect was running away. Officer Slager was charged with murder in the shooting and I agree with that. But that led to some criticism that I was anti-cop and in no position to judge the officer.

It's wrong to label someone "anti-cop" because of questions about a police officer shooting a suspect in the back or mentioning the idea that in New Orleans police officers might be better used on the streets in neighborhoods than on brake tag checkpoints. This new idea that if you criticize one thing about one member of any group then you are "anti-group" is a new form of political correctness. No one should fear that expressing a negative thought about a police officer is equal to being "anti-police."

These new standards are making people afraid to be honest and that's the general criticism about political correctness.

It happens in politics, too. Ultra conservative author and pundit, Ann Coulter said that anyone who disagreed with Senator Ted Cruz's crusade to shut down the government in 2013 was not a Republican and should join the Democratic Party. Countless conservatives did not back shutting down the government. Are they no longer allowed to be Republicans?

If I say something positive about Donald Trump - I am criticized by some for being a "Trump lover" and if I say something negative about the candidate - then I am labeled "Trump hater" in the minds of some. Is this not a new form of political correctness? When those in the media are afraid to speak out for fear of being instantly labeled by a myopic interpretation of a comment – then we have truly lost the spirit of the First Amendment.

The premise that if you don't accept everyone in every group then you are bashing that group robs individuals of the freedom of express their opinions and that is part of an even bigger problem in America today.

The rush to define individuals based on the singular comments made about police officers, political candidates or sports teams reflects the newly accepted norm that you are either for or against an individual or a group. That suggests that everyone in any group is either all good or all bad and since humans make up groups that is an inane premise.

If we are afraid of being judged because we criticize a police officer, a presidential candidate or a professional athlete, then that new form of political correctness is protecting those who are guilty of unacceptable behavior. This trend exposes the great hypocrisy in America today.

No one should blindly defend a group they support by not allowing criticism of certain members of a group.
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Scoot: The Cure open North America tour in New Orleans

The Cure opened their North American tour in New Orleans with shows Tuesday and Wednesday nights at the UNO Lakefront Arena. At the concert last night, there were Baby Boomers and young males and females that had no reference to the band when they were reaching a peak in the late-80s, passionately singing every word to The Cure's iconic hits. Even the mature adults were reduced to less than mature behavior when they heard their favorite songs from The Cure!

The Cure is a band formed on the cusp of the punk rock explosion in England in the late 1970s but reached a peak in the latter part of the 1980s. The Cure is best described as "goth rock" and Robert Smith and other band members continue to portray the goth persona. It's fair to say that The Cure were on the darker side of mass appeal music and even today, Smith and the band maintain that image.

The Cure played a couple of songs from their new album, "4:13 Dreams," but it was their memorable hits that inspired the sold-out crowd to show their appreciation.

Robert Smith, the lead singer of The Cure, has a very distinctive voice and sounds very much like he sounded when the band was hitting the top of the charts. He looks good and still wears the pale face, lipstick and guy-liner. It's nice that some things don't change!

Having seen the new British band, The 1975, Sunday at Champions Square, at The Cure concert last night I sensed the collision of several generations and cultures. The crowd at The 1975 concert was much younger, but their reaction to the music was almost identical to the reaction of the crowd watching The Cure last night. While The Cure may be on the darker side of popular music, they still sing about love and pleasant themes. At both shows I witnessed two audiences, diverse in age, feeling a happiness about life.

I have often talked on my radio show about the similarities between much of the new music out today and the sound from 80s music. The new and the 80s music reflect an audience that wants to be happy and enjoy life, realizing that problems don't go away.

What I saw at The Cure concert last night and at The 1975 concert Sunday night was a growing popularity in music that makes you feel good and audiences that want to feel good.

When I see a band, like The Cure, I love remembering the past, but I also celebrate who I am and were I am today.

Do you?
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Scoot: Trump's success was predictable!

Donald Trump is now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and many political experts, as well as many Republicans, are in shock! How did this happen? A candidate that defied almost every rule of politics appears to have won the game.

As Trump's popularity grew, I continued to talk about and write about the phenomenon that surrounded his campaign. The same reasons so many political experts used to dismiss Trump are the very reasons for Trump's success.

Ohio Governor John Kasich was one of the most qualified presidential candidates to run for the White House, and Kasich projected a more moderate image which would be important in the general election. But Kasich, and many others with a wealth of political experience, like Jeb Bush, went essentially unnoticed during the 2016 primary/caucus season. Today, Kasich is ending his campaign.

The success of Donald Trump should have been predictable. At a time when Americans are totally disgusted with the political establishments on both sides and with the self-centered motivation of politicians once elected to office, Donald Trump was the perfect political storm.

Candidates are like any medium – they reflect their audience. Trump reflects a huge swath of America that for the first time feels disenfranchised. In many ways, Donald Trump was the subconscious fantasy of Americans who felt the government was no longer representing their needs and their understanding of America.

Ironically, Trump was a non-politician that played the game of politics better than the experienced politicians. Trump talked to people and gave the impression that he understands their fears and concerns, even though he lives a lifestyle that elevates him far above average Americans.

Blessed with a flamboyant style of charisma, Donald Trump appealed to people who didn't agree with, or even like, much of what he was saying, but they liked Trump. Trump benefits from his status as a non-politician with no political record of failure. Trump says he will "build a wall," and people believe him because he has built buildings and an empire and they believe that if he says he will build something then he will build it.

Trump will not be able to fulfill his campaign rhetoric with the ease he seems to suggest, but traditional politicians have done no better at fulfilling their campaign promises over the years.

Another advantage Trump has as a Republican candidate is his ability to attract voters outside of the tightly knit clique of conservative Republicans. The most obvious lesson to be learned from Trump becoming the presumptive nominee is that the conservative right movement within the Republican Party does not control the direction of the Party and the essential head-to-head match-up with Ted Cruz proved that beyond a doubt.

One of the recent controversies that separated Trump and Cruz was the reaction to the "bathroom bills" that were passed or considered. The bills opened the door for transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender they most identify with. Ted Cruz proclaimed that these bills were an assault on America's religious freedom – Donald Trump said he didn't care which public bathroom a transgender person uses. Cruz used that to question Trump's Christian beliefs.
Donald Trump has been able to attract a broad coalition of voters. Ronald Reagan attracted a wide range of voters and Reagan had so much support from Democrats that those voters were named "Reagan Democrats." Reagan was a populist and Trump is a populist. This is not to compare Trump, the man, to Reagan, the man, but there are similarities to how both men fit into the context of politics at the time of their campaigns.

Trump is not president – yet. But to downplay his significance at this point in American history is ignorant.

All along, I have written and talked about Trump because he is absolute political phenomenon to be studied for decades. The amount of time I have spent on Trump is not from the standpoint of a Trump supporter, but from the standpoint of a political junkie. I have never said and have no plans to change my personal policy of not endorsing or even saying for whom I vote on the air.

Love him or hate him – Donald Trump has shaken the political structure in America and what he represents must be recognized by every candidate running for office.

A female caller to my radio show about six months ago summed up Donald Trump. She said, "Scoot, Trump scares the hell out of me – but I'm more scared of no change."
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Scoot: Trump's message to the political world is only getting louder

The message that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is sending to the political world and the Republican Party is reaching a deafening level.

On the day before the crucial Indiana primary, a new poll shows Donald Trump leading Ted Cruz by 15 points - in a state Cruz has been using as another turning point in his campaign.

The demographics and the percentage of evangelical voters make Indiana a state where Cruz could stop the recent Trump sweep of New York and the Northeast, but it now appears that Cruz will need a miraculous outcome to fulfill his prophecy of turning his campaign around – again.

Ted Cruz and many Republicans who align themselves with conservative right movement within the Republican Party are in total disbelief that their movement is failing to attract more attention than a populist candidate like Trump. So strong are the beliefs of both the more extreme right and extreme left that believers on both sides are shocked that everyone does not see the world as they do.

This country is dominated by moderate-thinking voters. Many are registered Republicans and registered Democrats, but disagree with the extreme leanings of their parties. Over the years, conservative talk show hosts have given credence to the idea that moderates are weak and have no backbone of conviction and they are easily swayed. The idea was to imply that only the conservative right had strength and conviction to guide America at a time when this country was weak and without strong direction. But that was - and still is - a flawed assumption.

Modern political history shows us that the more moderate candidates win general elections. Barack Obama and Bill Clinton appeared as more moderate Democrats when they ran for office and George W. Bush's proclamation that he was a "compassionate conservative" were acknowledgements that the right- or left-leaning candidates don't win the general election. Once in office, candidates are free to resort to their innate political ideology, but extreme candidates do not win national elections. Yet, Cruz continues to position himself on the conservative right of his party.

Everything that Ted Cruz is saying about Donald Trump is only promoting Trump as the dominant leader. Cruz is saying that he is the only "true conservative" and that Trump is not really a "conservative." In the face of these criticisms, Trump's popularity has grown. And then Cruz and the Republican Party quote the surveys showing that Trump is not the most popular candidate among Republican voters. Again, this only further positions Trump as the Republican candidate that will do better in the general election.

For those who will be quick to criticize me for being a "Trump supporter" because I point out the reasons Trump is the leading Republican candidate, I am simply observing the political phenomenon of Trump's candidacy, which will be studied for decades!

At a time when Americans are overwhelmingly disgusted with the political status quo, Donald Trump has risen as a savior of sorts, and is attracting the attention of Republicans, Democrats and Independents - and that is the recipe for winning the White House.

Even though polls expose the high negatives surrounding Trump in a national face off with Hillary Clinton, don't rule Trump out if the choice is between Trump and Clinton. Clinton represents the political status quo that so many Americans are opposing.

Trump does not yet have the nomination wrapped up and the development of the news daily can shift a campaign, but at this point, Trump is where few expected him to be and the reasons seem obvious to anyone with an open mind.

Cruz's strategy of winning over delegates in hopes of a contested convention only feeds the Trump appeal. Cruz is playing the game of courting delegates in the absence of the popular vote, but this only serves to remind everyone that politics is a game and the individual votes of Americans are essentially inconsequential. And that adds to the Trump appeal.

Trump may be attracting so much attention in this presidential cycle of 2016 because he gives the impression that what he doesn't know about being president he can be taught – but what he does know can't be taught.

There's a clear suggestion that Donald Trump's inexperience in office is his greatest asset.

Photo via USA Today
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Scoot: Don't point a gun at police - even if its a toy gun

Another news story about police shooting another teenager had various headlines, but an accurate headline might have read: “Teen shot by cops due to lack of parental involvement.”
Yesterday, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis defended the action of his police officers who shot and wounded a 13-year-old boy with a toy gun.  The idea of police shooting a kid with a toy gun sounds appalling until it’s put into context.
Two plainclothes detectives, one male and one female, saw a teenager with what appeared to be a Beretta semiautomatic pistol.  The detectives identified themselves and ordered the teen to drop the gun.  Instead of complying, the teen ran off and the officers pursued.
According to a witness, the teenage boy turned around with the gun in his hand and yelled, “It’s not real!”  The witness said the teen said it twice.  The male officer shot the teen twice – once in the leg and once in the shoulder.  The teen is expected to fully recover.  If the teen was aware enough to yell “it’s not real,” why was he not aware enough to simply drop the gun?
The teen’s gun turned out to be a Daisy BB gun, but the officers said it was an accurate replica of a Beretta semiautomatic pistol.  The Baltimore Police Commissioner said that his officers cannot afford to do nothing when someone is walking down a street in Baltimore in the middle of the day with what appears to be a gun.
The shooting occurred on the first anniversary of the violent protests that erupted over the death of Freddie Grey while in the custody of Baltimore police and it occurred only two days after the city of Cleveland agreed to a $6 million settlement over police shooting and killing 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was brandishing a toy gun at a Cleveland playground in 2014.
With the multitude of incidents involving police officers shooting unarmed suspects or young suspects with what prove to be toy guns, it’s easy to make a blanket judgment condemning police officers – but that is unfair to law enforcement.
No one should defend the police officers that have been quick to pull the trigger in situations where there were options, but no one should be quick to blame police officers for taking action when a teenager – or anyone - is seen walking around with a gun in their hand and refuses to comply with police.
It is understandable and prudent for every police officer to assume that every gun is a real gun.  Every police officer has a duty to protect the community and a right to protect themselves.  Toy guns are made to look real to give the person the sense that they have a real gun.  Police officers, and average citizens, should take action with the assumption that any gun that resembles a real gun is, indeed, real.
Imagine the consequences the Baltimore detectives would have faced if that teenager had a real gun and used it to kill someone because police assumed it might be a toy gun?
Supporting and understanding the situations our police officers face every minute of every day in no way supports the officers that have taken a life in the presence of other options. Yes, there are bad officers, but there are more great officers on our streets.
No one should be quick to label anyone “pro-cop” or “anti-cop” based on their assessment of different situations involving police shootings.  The fact that I support the actions of the Baltimore police officers does not mean I blindly support unnecessarily aggressive police action or racist-motivated responses.
A 13-year-old is a teenager, but I have as much experience being 13 as anyone else and at 13 I would have known to comply with the request of police.  Even though I grew up in a different neighborhood with different ideas about the police, there should be no justification for a teenager or anyone pointing a gun or a replica of a real gun toward police.  ANY individual that points a gun toward police officers when told to drop the gun is the direct product of failed parenting and an apathetic community.
In the face of injustices in the past and today, the message is clear and simple – DO NOT point a gun at police.  If you do they have no choice but to shoot you.
That simple message will save lives!
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Scoot: Mourning the death of personal accountability

Beyond both political parties and changes, like the removal of prayer from public schools, any downturn in American society is the direct result of the growing lack of respect for the simple, but significant role that personality accountability plays in society.
A new lawsuit should cause Americans to mourn the death of personal accountability.  A man seriously injured in a car crash is suing an 18-year-old driver and Snapchat for causing the accident.
Wentworth Maynard suffered permanent brain damage and needs a wheelchair or a walker to get around.  Maynard is suing Christal McGee, 18, and Snapchat, because McGee was using a new Snapchat function known as a “speed filter,” which attaches the speed of the vehicle to a photo that is snapped.  The 18-year-old admits that she was trying to get her Mercedes-Benz to hit 100 mph when she snapped a photo to send to friends.  She hit 107 in a 55 mph speed zone when the collision occurred.
Snapchat is a mobile messaging application used to share photos, videos, drawings and texts with friends through social media.  Snapchat introduced a “speed filter,” which automatically attaches the speed of the vehicle with the photo snapped at the moment.  Snapchat awards special attention for those who post how fast they were traveling when they snapped the photo.
The lawsuit contends that, both Christal McGee and Snapchat are responsible for the accident that permanently injured Wentworth Maynard.  Is Snapchat to blame for offering technology that allows an individual to record their vehicle’s speed when a photo snapped?
In a society that continues to blame anything other than an individual for negative actions, the trend of blaming technology only further diminishes the respect we all must have for the concept of personal accountability.
In particular, it seems more tempting to blame new technology for the bad decisions made by individuals. 
Regardless of Snapchat’s application that attaches vehicle speed to a photo, it was the decision of the 18-year-old driver to use that application.  To blame Snapchat and technology would be the same as blaming the car manufacturer for building a car that goes over 100 mph.
When do we stop allowing the blame for personal decisions to be placed on the availability of technology rather than the individual that made a bad decision? 
Lawyers may contribute to the “blame game” getting out of control, but individuals making decisions and individuals that make up juries are also to blame for accepting the notion that technology or an object are really at fault rather than an individual’s ability to apply common sense.
All that is wrong with America can be solved by returning to the expectation that individuals be held accountable for the decisions they make.  Sometimes something or someone else is to blame, but too often, the propensity to excuse the blatant lack of common sense in society is contributing to what’s wrong with America.
Christal McGee was obviously intrigued with her ability to share moments in her life with friends because she took a Snapchat photo of her on the gurney with a bloody head. If you just caused an accident because of your stupidity, would you be quick to share the injuries that resulted with your friends?
The fact that something is available does not excuse the failure to apply basic common sense to decision-making.
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