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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

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Email: scoot@wwl.com
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Scoot: There is NO justification for shooting police officers

The shooting of six police officers in Baton Rouge Sunday morning would have been horrific no matter when it happened, but in the wake of the police shootings of two suspects and the shooting of 12 police officers and two civilians in Dallas over the past two weeks, the shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge creates a disturbing trend in America.

Three of the police officers shot in Baton Rouge and five of the police officers in Dallas were killed. In both cases, the gunmen were black males and expressed motives to retaliate against law enforcement for the shooting deaths of two black suspects by non-black police officers.

These recent tragedies have only added more passion to the heated debate about race relations in America. As a talk show host, I hear from both sides of this debate. Many talk shows on black radio and conservative white radio take advantage of tragedies to incite and feed strong rhetoric to one side or the other.

Over time, I have established a tone of openness to both sides on a powerful radio station that is built on inviting all opinions. From my perspective on the air, I hear both the frustration over unfair treatment by police from black listeners and the anger and fear from many white listeners. Both sides have legitimate points, but neither side makes an effort to "hear" what the other side is saying with the hope of resolution.

On a special Sunday afternoon show on WWL just hours after six police officers were shot in Baton Rouge, LA, I heard from listeners on both sides, but lost in the deep passion of the two distinct sides were the voices representing those who make an effort to understand that there are two sides to the race debate in America.

Several callers into the show yesterday stand out as examples of both the hate and the attempt to understand on both sides of the debate. A female caller opened the conversation by saying that she had been listening and taking notes of what she wanted to say. In summary, the caller's calm tone explained that the shooting of police officers by a black gunman in Baton Rouge and Dallas demonstrates that for every action there is a reaction. She then went on to explain that the unfair treatment "we" (African-American community) have dealt with from police officers over the years has led to a desire to kill police officers. The caller again said that for every action there is a reaction. I asked her if she was justifying the shooting of police officers and she quickly said that is not what she said. I then pressed her on the fact that she pointed out that for every action there is a reaction and if the action is the mistreatment of African-Americans by police and she is saying the reaction is killing police officers, then she is implying that the shooting of police officers is justified. She refused to accept what I thought was a logical deduction from her argument. Our conversation ended calmly and I thanked her for calling.

Another caller that stands out was the black male that implied the police had what was coming to them for murdering black males. I pointed out that in some cases, white officers were not convicted because they acted appropriately in situations with suspects that threatened their lives during a confrontation. I mentioned that even the Obama Administration could find no evidence to support the indictment of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, to which the caller insisted that 18-year-old Michael Brown was "murdered." We all have to challenge ourselves to see and hear beyond only that which supports our preconceptions.

There were angry white callers expressing the simple idea that if you comply with police you will never have problems with the police. In theory, that's true, but we have all heard of enough cases where compliance did not necessarily protect one from aggressive police actions.

Some black callers admitted they are afraid every time they are pulled over by law enforcement, but said that they complied with police.

Every current debate over race relations now includes a debate about Black Lives Matter. The retort from people on both sides is that "all lives matter," but there seems to be a great misunderstanding about the people who are part of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Black Lives Matter seemed to begin on the idea that a disproportionate number of black males were being killed by white police officers, which fit a perception throughout much of black America. But it seems the movement has been hijacked by more militant individuals pushing an aggressive agenda against law enforcement across America.

The tendency to judge all members of Black Lives Matter may be convenient for those who wish to condemn the movement, but that is as wrong as judging all white police officers as "racists." And that's the problem on both sides.

Shooting and killing police officers to protest violence against black males being killed by police officers epitomizes hypocrisy.

Raising the issue of past injustices to explain the shooting of police officers is a subliminal justification for the action. As long as there is any acceptance of any excuse for shooting police officers we will not feel safe in what is supposed to be a civilized society.

People see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear, rather than hearing and trying to understand what both sides are saying. As this continues, we can never unite as a nation deserving of the name "The United States of America."
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Scoot: Racial tension - if you listen, do you actually hear what's being said?

As soon as I arrived at the fundraiser in memory of Taylor Friloux, the white 21-year-old female stabbed to death by a black male at Raising Canes in Kenner early June 29, I was led to the stage and asked to say something to the packed crowd at the Speakeasy on Williams Blvd. in Kenner. Totally unprepared, I spoke from my heart and what came out seemed to touch the many of the people gathered in honor of Taylor.

For nearly two weeks, tragic events in the New Orleans area, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, Minnesota and Dallas, Texas have dominated conversations in the media, on social media, in bars and family gatherings. These tragic events have also touched our hearts in such a way that reminds us that race is a divisive issue in America, even though we are all part of the human race.

My first thoughts as I stepped to the microphone on the stage at the fundraiser for young Taylor Friloux was how the unity of those who came together on a Sunday afternoon said a lot about who were are as people, but the recent events played out through mass media force too many Americans to take sides.

The "us against them" mentality exists on both sides. Both sides point fingers and defend their side with no regard for all we share in common. "If they would just do this" and "if they would just stop acting this way" are common threads that defend positions and suggest that everyone is talking but too few are listening.

There's a overwhelming amount of rhetoric on both sides and people are talking, but they are talking to each other. Many say they are listening, but there is a big difference between "listening" and "hearing" what is said. That's the problem. In passionate defense of their point-of-view, too many people hear words and before those words have ended the response has already been formulated. We can say we are "listening," but we refuse to "hear" what is being said.

An African-American caller to my show might say, "As a black male, I have been stopped by police and mistreated or arrested for doing nothing wrong." The immediate response in the minds of many whites and non-blacks is, "Just comply with police." That is important advice, but what is not being heard is the ongoing stereotyping of all black males as criminals. You may not want to hear that, but that is a reality.

A white or non-black caller to the show might say, "If you comply and don't have a confrontational attitude with police, then you have a better chance of not going to jail or not being shot." But the quick response from many African-Americans is, "We are being stopped and targeted because we are black." That has certainly been the case in countless situations, but there are also many times when a black male is stopped and treated a certain way because of their behavior and not their race.

Much is being said, but little is being heard. White Americans who fail to see the black perspective are as much a part of the problem as the black Americans that fail to recognize that often it is behavior – not race – that determines how a suspect is treated.

Each side of the debate over racial tension is using words and rhetoric to defend their turf. We somehow have come to believe that if we try to hear and appreciate the other side's point, we have lost the battle.

There are very nice apartment buildings throughout the downtown New Orleans area. Some of these buildings have been renovated or built from the ground up using federal funds. The stipulation is that these upscale apartment buildings must include adjusted income residents – essentially Section 8 housing.

The rent of apartments in many of these buildings ranges from about $1,000 a month to over $6,000 a month. These are nice apartments in very nice buildings. Some residents may be paying as little as $200 a month. Is it an elitist attitude to resent some paying so little for the same type apartments in the same buildings?

The problems arise, not from a disproportionate number of minority residents living in the same apartments and the same buildings, but from the attitude of many of those who get something for practically nothing. In fact, many could be paying rent with money given to them from the government. If you don't have to work hard for something, you are less likely to take pride in what you have. This is the type of opportunity that leads to resentment – not because of skin color – but because of behavior and attitude.

The resident who pays $2,000 a month in rent to live in a nice building downtown will likely be called a racist if he or she comments on the disparity of people living in the same apartments and the same building as someone paying $200 a month in rent. But the side that is quick to screams "racist" is the side that doesn't want to hear the human sense of inequality. And yes, a sense of inequality can be felt by white America, too.

There also seems to be a disproportionate number of low-income residents who do not share the same respect for the common grounds of the apartment buildings. It does not take a certain amount of money to clean up what you spill or the trash you drop. Again, comments about the basic respect for shared property instantly bring cries of "racism." It does not take money to have good manners and criticizing bad manners is fair – not racist.

Not everyone who has less and is given more is part of the problem, but it seems that we can't even have an honest conversation that focuses on behavior without race becoming an issue if the behavior of an African-American is discussed.
The other major issue is our past. America's past is scarred with slavery and blatant discrimination. Sadly, discrimination still exists today, but to blame the white America for the past is wrong. Any retaliation, physically or emotionally, against white America is unfairly labeling many white Americans as guilty of crimes they were never part of and have throughout their lives have rejected in the fight for equality for all.

As wrong as it is to assume that black Americans are criminals – it is equally wrong to assume that the majority of white Americans supported past injustices and continue to discriminate today. Both sides of racial tension are guilty of listening to things said, but failing to hear what is said.

Is it time to work harder at "hearing" and not just "listening?"
 (1) Comments
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Topics : Social Issues
Social :
Locations : DallasMinnesotaNew OrleansTexas
People : Taylor Friloux


Scoot: Two more shootings, two more dead black men; debate rages on

For the second night in a row, I have awakened at about 3 AM to breaking news about police officers shooting black males. And for the second straight day, America is reacting to two videos that fit an all too familiar storyline in the news.

Reaction to both of the videos ranges from 'the police officers were doing their jobs and protecting their lives' to 'police officers are too quick to pull the trigger when the suspect is a black male.' Complicating this debate is the reality that many police officers shoot suspects in a legitimate defense of their lives, but the other reality is that black males have been stereotyped by many Americans as criminals. Are some police officers guided by even a subconscious assumption that black males are criminals?

We don't know all the details and no one can form a definitive answer yet, but there are aspects of both videos that strongly support the idea that police officers overreacted. If they did overreact, was it because they are prejudiced or were they not properly trained to deal with the situations they faced?

African-Americans talk about being targeted by police, and unless you are an African-American you can only speculate. Sadly, some people who wear a badge allow their personal prejudice to guide their enforcement of the law.

Regardless of the perception of being targeted, or the sense of being caught in a system of justice that is not colorblind, the advice from numerous leaders and members of the black community is that everyone, even black males, should comply with police officers. Complying may not always work out, but failing to comply rarely works out.

Adding to the viciousness of the debate over police officers and black suspects is the tendency to label any criticism of police as being "anti-police" and any defense of police as being "anti-black." We must be free to assess situations without the fear of being labeled.

The labeling of being "anti-police" or "anti-black" strips us of our responsibility to be honest about situations. There are some bad police officers and there are some bad black males, but that should never mean that all police officers or all black males are to blame for a tragic situation.

The three police officers involved in the shooting deaths of two black males may have honestly made a mistake and deeply regret their decisions to shoot. Under the advice of lawyers, I doubt any of them would admit that, but they could have deep regrets.

We all make mistakes in our jobs, but in some professions mistakes are not allowed. That may not be fair, but it is not acceptable for police officers to shoot and kill innocent individuals. Airline pilots and doctors are not allowed to make mistakes because their mistakes can lead to deaths. The problem is that if police officers take too much time to assess a situation, they could easily be dead. But police officers that do make the mistake of shooting when they did not really have to shoot should face the dire consequences of taking a life.

In the case of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, there seemed to be more evidence from the beginning that the officer was doing his job and defending himself than there is early evidence that both of these recent shootings were self-defense.
We hope and pray for the families devastated by these two shootings and we also hope and pray for an honest and transparent investigation into what happened. If the police officers acted in accordance with their training and defended their lives, then they are not guilty. If the officers were quick to pull the trigger, then they must be held accountable for taking a human life.
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People : Darren Wilson


Scoot: Have Baby Boomers forgotten how wild they were?

Baby Boomers are now the Establishment, achieving a status never envisioned by the generation that was known as “anti-Establishment!” And looking back on how wild and rebellious our generation was – we should feel fortunate that so many of us made it to this point!
As a self-described “hostile witness to the Baby Boomer generation,” I often write about the hypocrisy and selective memory that is so prevalent today. When I talk about issues involving today’s young generation like the content of their music, the challenging fashion trends, and behavior that is deemed "anti-social," I am quickly reminded about what I witnessed with my generation.
If young people, today, were part of a rock music festival where widespread drug use and total nudity were flaunted and I talked about it on “The Scoot Show” on WWL, I would hear from callers denouncing the young people who were part of a music festival that blatantly included such debauchery. And yet, many of those who would be complaining would be part of the anti-Establishment generation that exhibited the exact behavior they would be condemning. 
The anti-social behavior of the young generation at Woodstock in 1969 is well-documented, and included drugs, drinking, nudity and even sex in public view. But the wild behavior of that young generation, which is now the Establishment, was close to home during the “Celebration of Life” music festival on the banks of the Atchafalaya River in Pointe Coupee Parish in 1971.
The scheduled 8-day music festival was shut down after 4 days. With temperatures in the 90's, a shortage of basic survival necessities, and behavior considered by law enforcement to be dangerous, the festival came to an early end. But it was actually shut down following a $700,000 Internal Revenue Service tax lien placed against the festival promoters, which prevented the festival from doing any business, including purchasing water for the hot, parched concert-goers.
To survive the scorching heat, many teenagers took off all of their clothes and frolicked in the Atchafalaya River and in the mud along the river’s banks. The heat may have been only one reason for the “freedom from clothes,” because this was a young generation that promoted freedom in every way possible. Young people naked in the river and covering themselves with mud became a public spectacle, with locals cruising the river in their boats to get a close up look at the nudity. A few seaplanes landed on the river, and there is a photo of an airline flying very low over the river, giving anyone on board a clear view of what this young generation naked in the river! Flight regulations for the airlines were a lot looser in 1971!
The governor of Louisiana, Governor John McKeithen, a Democrat, promised the citizens of Pointe Coupee Parish that he would personally throw out any “long-haired, dope-group anarchists” who attempted to put on a festival. Governor McKeithen represented the attitude of the Establishment about a young generation than many believed was completely “out-of-control.”
Contempt for a young generation that was part of the “Celebration of Life” festival, Woodstock or any of the events that attracted a young crowd in the late-60s and early-70s is no different from the contempt that young generation – now the Establishment – has for today’s young generation and the music, fashion, drug use, drinking and behavior that challenges what is considered socially acceptable now.
Beyond the hypocrisy and selective memory of the Baby Boomer generation, there should be the honest acknowledgement what we were really like as the original anti-Establishment generation.
The Baby Boomer generation proudly invented the phrase “sex, drugs and rock n roll!” and boldly lived accordingly.  But this is the same generation that as the new Establishment has condemned today’s young generation for its sexuality, drug use and rebellious music.
It is acceptable and expected for the Establishment in any era to set positive examples and teach younger generations from their mistakes, but the Baby Boomer Establishment’s condemnation of younger generations lacks any real admission of wrongdoing – and that is hypocritical.
The music that represented the young Baby Boomers was rebellions and filled with controversial lyrics, both sexually and politically. Fashion trends challenged the norms of “good taste” and sometimes even the law. And drug use and drinking were no different from what goes on at concerts today.  It was reported by a journalist for Rolling Stone magazine that there were areas at the “Celebration of Life” named Cocaine Row and Smack Street where 30 different mind-altering drugs were available for sale – only two of which could be smoked.  Plastic syringes were sold at $1 each.
One of the obvious differences today, is that guns are a problem, and that was never a concern in large crowds in the past. But other than guns, Baby Boomers forget how much they challenged society - and the law.
If you are a member of the Baby Boomer generation, challenge yourself to be honest about the wild, anti-social behavior from your youth, and don’t condemn today’s young generation as if they are the first to rebel against the Establishment! 
Many of those who were part of the drinking, drugs and nudity of the “Celebration of Life” are responsible businessmen and women. The lesson all this is that we think we became a responsible generation – and so will they!
Were you at the “Celebration of Life” or some other music festival where young people exhibited wild behavior?
What do you admit about your younger years?  Give us your comments!
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Scoot: A year after Charleston shooting, has America changed?

The debate has been so intense that it seems like it has been longer - but one year ago today, June 17, 2015, America reacted to the news that a young white male whose life was surrounded with imagery of racism murdered nine black Americans as they sat in a prayer meeting in a historic church in Charleston, South Carolina.  Dylann Roof was arrested the next morning.

America both bonded and broke apart over the controversy that ensured about the Confederate flag and symbols from a segregated America.  One year later we ask the question – has anything changed?  Is America more or less united one year after a tragedy sparked a debate about race relations?

The battle to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state capitol grounds was won, but not without great controversy.  During the debate, NASCAR announced it would not fly the Confederate flag and its race tracks and went so far as to ask fans to stop any display of the Confederate flag while attending NASCAR events.  Many fans rebelled and ridiculed NASCAR for bending to the recent controversy in the face of years of tradition.

One year after the young shooter acted on what appeared to be a racist motive, the debate over the Confederate flag and the debate over the removal of Confederate-era monuments rages on.  It is one of the most contentious talk radio topics, with lines lighting up every time the subject is mentioned. Yesterday on the show, one caller made mention of the Confederate flag while talking about the mass shooting at the gay club in Orlando and another listener held on for over 40 minutes to support flying the Confederate flag.

The Confederate flag may be down in Columbia, South Carolina, but I see no signs that the battle over the battle flag has eased.  It is almost as if the debate over what the Confederate flag stands for is another example of Americans “keeping score.”

There are two different views of the Confederate flag. One view holds that the old South’s history is represented by the Confederate flag, and the other view considers the flag a symbol of racism.  In the minds of those who hold those views, both feel justified and passionate about their positions.

Like any symbol, the meaning of the flag is interpreted by ideology and personal reference to life in America.  Both sides of the debate view the battle over the flag as a victory or a loss.  This is how it can be reduced to the idea of Americans “keeping score.”  One side believes that they are losing their heritage and displaying the Confederate flag is a victory in the fight to protect that heritage.  The other side sees the flag as a symbol of hate and wants their feelings to be honored by the general removal of the Confederate flag from public places.

The truth is that neither side should put so much importance on a symbol made out of material.  Flying the Confederate flag or taking down the Confederate flag has not and will not change what lives in the hearts and minds of individual Americans.

Out of respect for those Americans who are offended by the Confederate flag, I favor the removal of the flag.  We should have reached a point where we no longer have to flaunt something in the face of others and while many truly respect the history relevance of the flag, many display the flag to reflect their racist views and only hide behind the guise of history.

One year after a young white male entered the sanctity of a church for the purpose of killing black Americans the deep debate over race in America continues. It’s 2016 and we have been “keeping score” on who gets what and why. We should all be embarrassed that we have not done a better job of trying to understand each other and how to better get along.
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Scoot: Do American freedoms protect those who wish to harm us?

The worst mass shooting in American history over the weekend has ignited many aspects of national debates during this 2016 presidential campaign.

The mass shooting that left 50 dead and over 50 injured was a terrorist attack from an American citizen of Middle Eastern heritage, who professed allegiance to radical Islam during the attack. The terrorist chose to kill people at an LGBT dance club in downtown Orlando, Florida.  The gunman used an assault-type rifle to kill or injure over 100 people who were out having a good time at a gay dance club.  

Nearly every aspect of the terrorist attack at Pulse feeds the national debates about gun control, the failure to stop terrorism, singling out the LGBT community and the debate over national security. It is human nature to demand immediate answers to why a tragic shooting happens and what must be done to prevent future tragedies.  The demand for answers to why something happened and what can be done to stop it from happening implies that there is a definite answer – yet, there is not always a definite answer.  

As humans, we feel that if we can agree on the cause of the problem and the solution, then we will stop future mass shootings, but often the desire to find an immediate reason and solution only produces the sense that the problem has been solved.  We want simple, definite answers and we want to know that we can prevent tragedies from occurring.  

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, joined others who immediately raised the issue of stricter gun control.  The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, immediately addressed the issue of national security and the ease with which so many enter America.  Many in the LGBT community took the attack at the gay dance club as a personal attack on their lifestyles that many condemn.

The gunman, Omar Mateen, was a 29-year-old American citizen.  His parents were from Afghanistan.  Mateen had traveled to the Middle East on several occasions and appears to have purchased a “long gun” and a handgun within a week of the attack. Mateen was also questioned by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 about possible connections to Islamic terrorist and was cleared both times.  But should someone who is on the FBI’s radar for possible terrorist ties be allowed to purchase a gun?  If he was cleared – then it can be argued that Mateen had every legal right to purchase a gun.  Others wonder - have we reached a point where some exceptions be should made regarding Second Amendment rights?

The freedoms of our precious Constitution do protect those who wish to do us harm.  Can we respect the Constitution and keep America safe? If we make exceptions to the Constitution, do we fundamentally jeopardize everything that America stands for?  If we respect the Constitution to the fullest, do we live with the reality that our unique freedoms will always be an advantage for those who wish to terrorize America?

No one wants to live with the idea that we cannot prevent a mass shooting like the one that occurred over the weekend in Orlando and while some are quick to blurt out solutions - will those solutions realistically make us safer?

Politicians, especially during a presidential election cycle, cannot resist the temptation to use a tragedy to advance their chances of getting elected and many of those who support the politicians rally around the solution their candidate presents.  

In some ways, the Constitution sees everything in definite terms beyond emotion and common sense and those are some of its greatest attributes, but if emotion and common sense had been applied to Omar Mateen, he may have been stopped before committing his horrific act.

The reality that is hard for us to accept is that an individual who possesses the passionate desire to kill innocent people as a way of condemning America and praising his God and religion may not be stopped in a nation that prides itself on freedom.
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Scoot: Would you turn over your kid to NOPD?

Since it is the instinct of most parents to protect their children, it must be difficult when a mother or a father is faced with the question of whether or not to turn their child over to police.

One of the brazen crimes that occurred over the Memorial Day Weekend in New Orleans involved a young man robbing a convenience store and returning about two hours later to rob the same store again. During the robbery attempt, the employee behind the counter pulled out a gun and tried to shoot the suspect.  He missed the suspect, but shattered the front glass door of the store.

Surveillance video released from the store showed a tall young man as the suspect.  The suspect is Daniel Means, a 20-year-old janitor.  Daniel’s mother recognized her son from the video and worked with NOPD to have her son arrested. Since many parents protect their children, knowing they are responsible for violent crimes, it is worth noting when a parent defies their parental instinct to protect their child and acts on behalf of the community.

How difficult would it be to turn your child over to police?

Another recent senseless crime relates to this story.  Last Thursday at 11:30 am, a 14-year-old boy was shot in New Orleans East.  Apparently, two 14-year-old boys had gotten into an argument over one of their sisters.  Angry over the course of the argument, one of the teenagers pulled out a gun and shot the other 14-year-old, who said he considered the shooter to have been his “friend.”  The 14-year-old who was shot is recovering and the other 14-year-old is missing and is being sought by NOPD.

A photo of Tyrone Walton, 14, has been made public after he was identified as the suspect in the shooting last Thursday.  It’s true there is much we don’t know about this case, but it is possible that the mother, or family, of Tyrone Walton know exactly where he is and are protecting him from NOPD.  The other question is the possibility of parental involvement in the 14-year-old obtaining a gun.

It is natural for parents to see their children as a product of their parental skills.  Today, the trend of parents assuming their child could do no wrong appears to be growing.  So often on the news we see parents upset that their child has been killed in an encounter with police and they become instant character witnesses talking to the cameras and the microphones that their child was a good boy/girl and never got into trouble.  Too often, their child has a long criminal record.

Most of us can imagine how difficult it is to admit that your child is a criminal and how difficult it must be to turn your child over to law enforcement.  So, when someone, like the mother of 20-year-old Daniel Means, admits that her son is a suspect in a crime and works with police to have her son – her child – arrested - we should take note.

Acting on behalf of society over acting to protect your child is a struggle no parent should face – and it is selflessly courageous for any parent to put society’s well being ahead of protecting their child.
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Topics : Law_Crime
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Locations : New Orleans
People : Daniel MeansTyrone Walton


Scoot: Harambe the gorilla killed – should charges be filed?

The Cincinnati Zoo shot and killed, Harambe, their beloved gorilla, Saturday after a 3-year-old child fell into the gorilla enclosure.  The young boy slipped through the protective barricade and fell about 15 feet into the moat.  Video shows the gorilla corralling the boy and then suddenly taking him by the leg and dragging him like a rag doll through the shallow moat, then stopping and looking down at the boy.  At time, Harambe appears to be trying to hold the little boys hand and at one point seems to lift the boy up by the back of his pants.

Fearing that the 3-year-old could be seriously injured or killed by the 450 lb. gorilla, the order was given to kill Harambe.  There was immediate reaction and animal rights activists question the zoo’s decision to shoot and kill the gorilla.  

Some wondered why the gorilla wasn’t shot with a tranquillizer saying the 3-year-old could have been rescued when the gorilla was in a sedated state.  Zoo officials said the use of a tranquillizer gun was not an option because it could have irritated Harambe to the point where he might have become aggressive and killed the boy even if not intentionally.  They were also concerned that before the gorilla was sedated, he might react by dragging the boy further and if the boy could be seriously injured, or killed, if his head hit a rock in the enclosure.

Other animal experts confirmed the concern that using a tranquillizer could have enraged the gorilla further endangering the life of the 3-year-old and that shooting and killing Harambe was the only option.

But at least one gorilla expert said that if Harambe was going to kill the boy he would have done it immediately and he saw many signs that Harambe was trying to protect and help the child.

Two witnesses said the gorilla seemed to be trying to protect the little boy and that seems very likely from what I saw on the video.  At first, the gorilla stood over the boy as if to protect him.  Then the gorilla appeared to be trying to hold the boy’s hand and then seemed to lift him up by the back of his pants – another gesture supporting the possibility Harambe was instinctively protecting a vulnerable young species similar to his species.

Dozens of people gathered outside of the Cincinnati Zoo Monday afternoon with signs – on that read, “Rest In Peace Harambe.”  A vigil was scheduled in Harambe’s honor and the organizer said that the purpose of the vigil was not to lay blame on anyone, but it was just to honor Harambe.
A Facebook page called “Justice for Harambe” attracted an outpouring of social media attention.  

Condemnation of the killing of Harambe included demands that charges be filed against the mother of the little boy for not keeping a closer eye on her child.  Had she paid closer attention to her son he would not have fallen into the gorilla enclosure and Harambe would not have been killed.

Cincinnati police say they do not plan to file charges against the mother.  But the debate rages on.  Should charges be filed against the mother whose wandering child led to the killing of a 17-year-old western lowland silverback gorilla who the zoo hoped would father more offspring.
If human life is considered by most to be more precious than animal life, why is the question of shooting a gorilla to save the life of a 43-year-old boy so prevalent?  We see TV commercials about starving children and others about starving and abused dogs and cats and some are as distraught by the sight of the starving animals and the starving children.  Why?

Is it that the lives of animals are elevated to the lives of human beings, or is that so many people see humans as the guardians of animals?  

Sympathy for Harambe, the gorilla, may be inspired by the thought that it was the carelessness of a human being, the mother of the boy, that created a situation where the gorilla had to be shot and killed.  Even those who respect that human life is more valuable than the life of a gorilla sense that human error caused the gorilla’s death.

The mother should be charged with some legal form of child neglect or child endangerment.  Witnesses say the child told his mother he wanted to go in the moat with the gorilla.  His mother said “no” several times.  But the 4-year-old boy ended up in the moat, which led to the killing of the gorilla.  At some point, the child’s mother was not paying close attention to her son, even after he made known his desire to get in the moat with the gorilla.

If the 3-year-old boy had been killed, we might be having a conversation about whether the gorilla should have been destroyed and we would certainly have the conversation about the negligence of the mother.

Mistakes happen and a young child can suddenly get out of the sight of a parent, but when that happens why are we so reluctant to place responsibility on the parent?

Is it not child neglect or endangering the life of a child if a mother allows her child to get through a barricade at a zoo and her child ends up in the presence of an animal that could be dangerous?

If that isn’t child neglect or child endangerment – then what is?

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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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