Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I Love Memes

So when I discovered a meme generator it was a match made in Heaven.  Time is better served reading, or better yet, writing.  And I'm getting right back to that.  I just needed to create and post a few of these first.


I end this barrage of memes with one I did not create.  It was found on Pinterest and is being included because it sums this post up perfectly.

When all the involved calculations prove false, and the philosophers themselves have nothing more to tell us, it is excusable to turn to the random twitter of birds, or toward the distant mechanism of the stars.  - Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vick Still Slick?

Welcome to the Jets, Michael Vick.  I thought I was done writing in depth about you, but once again your polarizing self has entered my radar and set my words in motion.  Perhaps you will be a sideline mentor to young Geno Smith, or maybe you will end up as Gang Green's new leader and potential savior.  Many Jets fans are having a difficult time embracing you, and I can't say I blame them.  Dogs are man's best friends after all, so your actions are unforgivable to a wide range of people.  They don't care that you did your time, that you seem to be a rehabilitated man who handled your situation honorably in the city of brotherly love, or that they have looked the other way in rooting for other athletes who did harm to fellow human beings.  There are Jets fans willing to turn their backs on a team they've spent decades rooting for on account of your presence.  If you're in, they're out.  Or so they say for now. I won't try to convince them otherwise, especially those who have still not gotten over the sting of letting Darrelle Revis slip through our hands again.  If you end up playing a prominent role in New York that results in glorious victories for a team that has not had enough of them over the years, plenty are sure to come around and forgive you.  Those who won't, won't.  

I had some harsh words to say about you when I penned Man Bites Dog.  Yet when you were released from jail after missing two NFL seasons, I felt that the Philadelphia Eagles' decision to bring you in as a back-up to Donovan McNabb was a "no brainer".  Deja vu.

You ended up starting and playing well in Philadelphia.  All good things come to an end though, and just as you came to take over for McNabb, eventually you were supplanted by a younger quarterback.  Now you are in search of one more comeback, most likely the final one in your storied career, and that goal has brought you to the Big Apple.  Well, technically New Jersey, but who wants to bother with being technical?  

I have no idea what the future holds in store (hopefully no butt fumbles, speaking of which, Bon Voyage Mark Sanchez), but I do vividly recall the promise of the past.  Below is what I had to say the very first time I wrote about you in an article penned for  Standing between you and the chance to take a shot at your first Super Bowl appearance was the team that years later would give you an opportunity for redemption after your spectacular fall from grace.  How could I not write of your exploits on the field that season?  It was truly a thing of beauty to witness.  I was confident that with your never before seen level of athleticism, through the brilliant flair with which you played, you were changing the very nature of the game.  Considering your extraordinary potential, it's fair to say that you ultimately underachieved.  Getting in your own way is the surest way to guarantee coming up short.  Yet look around the National Football League today.  Look at the most recent Super Bowl featuring a dying breed quarterback from the old school versus one who was educated in the school of Vick, that is, a QB as dangerous with his legs as with his arm.   Scary in the pocket, terrifying on the move.  You may have failed to take over the league by earning multiple championships, but you sure as hell altered the game's landscape.  So basically my vision of the future was spot on.

People look forward to the Super Bowl for a variety of reasons. To football fans, at least in theory this game is an exhibition of the sport they love at its highest level. In reality, a high percentage of Super Bowls have been blow out snooze fests. If the team you root for happens to be one of the participants, the opportunity to see your team play for the league championship is certainly a thrill. The team I pull for hasn’t been to the big game since 1969, so I can only imagine feeling such excitement. 

Professional gamblers look forward to the Super Bowl for the obvious reason, and amateurs, many of whom don’t watch a single game of the NFL season except for the Super Bowl, put their dollars and hopes into office pools across the nation. Those who do not have a financial or sporting interest in the game still watch it for the theatrical elements of the televised broadcast. I think it’s safe to say that last year’s halftime show will never be topped. Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson are now as big a part of Super Bowl lore as Vince Lombardi, and no offense to Vince, but Janet looks far better topless. Last but not least, there are the highly anticipated, often amusing, increasingly clever commercial spots that negate ideal opportunities for bathroom breaks.

This year, there may be a different reason for people to watch the Super Bowl. It’s quite possible that we’ll be witnessing a changing of the guard in the NFL. In order for this to take place, the Atlanta Falcons must first get past the Philadelphia Eagles. This task has been made considerably easier due to the untimely injury of Philly’s top receiver, Terrell Owens. With TO in uniform this season, the Eagles have been considered favorites from day one to finally get over the NFC Championship hump and make it to the gala event. Without him, the Eagles-Falcons game is a toss up. Plus, it’s also doubtful that another receiver will step into Owens' shoes and attempt to top the horrifically controversial (in the opinion of various talking heads) or rather amusing (in my own personal opinion) act of pantomiming a moon of the crowd, as recently performed by Randy Moss.

Outplaying Rush Limbaugh's favorite player will certainly be no easy task. Donovan McNabb is about due to stake his own claim of greatness. But if Vick and the Falcons prevail, all that would remain for them to do is vanquish either the defending champion New England Patriots, or else the Steelers of Pittsburgh with their rookie phenomenon quarterback. With all due respect to Tom Brady and his two impressive Super Bowl rings, or to Ben Roethlisberger and his impressive winning streak, the man to whom most eyes would be glued is Michael Vick. Why is that? Well, he just happens to be the most athletically gifted highlight reel making player the NFL has ever seen. He plays the most analyzed and admired position on the field, and does so in an unconventional manner never before witnessed. 

Yesterday in the NFL belonged to the likes of Dan Marino and John Elway, and today belongs to Peyton Manning and his two consecutive league MVP awards. However, if you take Peyton out of his domed home stadium and place him outdoors to face wintry elements, his prowess can be tamed by an elite defense. On any given Sunday, a scheme can be concocted to thwart veteran pigskin slingers such as Brett Favre or emerging hot shots like Drew Brees. But just how does one prepare to face a player as talented and unpredictable as Michael Vick? He is two superstars merged into one, both a quarterback with a canon for an arm and a running back with lightning fast legs. Michael Vick may be providing a glimpse at tomorrow in the NFL. Football purists who believe the prototype of a quarterback is a white guy who stays in the pocket and throws perfect spirals right before getting hit in the chest by a charging linebacker probably do not fully appreciate Michael's gifts. Those who can take or leave aging aesthetic values and prefer to focus on the bottom line understand that Vick may beat you with his arm, or he may beat you with his feet, but the important thing is that he will beat you.

Every now and again, an athlete comes along and changes the way his or her sport is traditionally played. You think you’ve seen basketball played as well as it can be played, then along comes someone like Michael Jordan to surpass all expectations. Wayne Gretzky practically reinvented hockey with his ease and grace of movement on ice. Barry Bonds broke the mold and fashioned a brand new standard of the ultimate baseball player. (Okay, so perhaps he had some pharmaceutical assistance along the way.) The Williams sisters have illustrated that the power game need not be the exclusive domain of men on the tennis circuit. Muhammad Ali replaced the image of the powerful, plodding inarticulate heavyweight champion with that of a man who could float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, rhyme like a poet, fascinate with his rhetoric, stand up for his religious and political convictions at any cost, and manage to look pretty throughout the entire process. These athletes proved not only to be more talented than their opponents, but dominated their respective sports in unique ways. In pro football, such is now the case with Michael Vick.

The NFL is known as being a copycat league. If a particular game plan proves to be very successful for one team, it’s a brief matter of time before half the league has adopted it. Offensive and defensive fads come and go, and for each one, numerous variations are devised. If Michael Vick proceeds to lead the Atlanta Falcons to Super Bowl victory, talent scouts throughout the NFL will go in search of running backs with strong arms, or quarterbacks with fast feet. The hybrid QB will be much sought after while the conventional quarterback will become an endangered species. Professional football as we currently know it may be transformed into an entirely different game, sort of like how the NBA went from a league of spot on jump shooters to one of acrobatic dunkers, or how sluggers in baseball could once lead the league in homeruns with 30 in a season, but now hit that many by the All Star break.

On second thought, the more likely scenario is that after scouring the college and high school ranks, the search for Michael Vick clones will come up mostly empty. That’s the funny thing about athletes who play the game unlike it has ever been played before. They tend to be one of a kind.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Contemplation of Adultery - #ShortStorySunday

                    BY R0Y L. PICKERING JR.

     I am a happily married man.

     Oh sure, it's tempting.  I can't sit here and honestly say that if the situation were to arise, I wouldn't even consider it.  Take now for instance.  The woman seated across the bar from me is flat out gorgeous.  It's hard not to notice a thing like that.  And she's been checking me out.  It's hard not to notice a thing like that either.  Every twenty seconds or so she glances my way.  I could have this woman, I know I could.  I can feel it with every fiber of my being.  But like I said ...

     Where the hell is James?  He was supposed to meet me here at seven, and it's already a quarter after.  Big shocker.  In the eight years James and I have been best friends, not once has he been on time.  I usually show up about fifteen minutes early for appointments, even when they’re with James.  You'd think in eight years I would have learned my lesson, but I arrived here at exactly 6:45.  So now there is nothing for me to do but wait.

     Not that I've particularly minded today.  The bartender here makes a great margarita, the jukebox is the best in the city, and perhaps the most beautiful woman I have ever seen is shamelessly flirting with me.  A night with her would be incredible to say the least.

     But I have a devoted wife at home who I promised in church before several dozen friends and relatives to love, honor, and not screw around on.  Plus, we have a kid.  He'll be three years old in a couple of months.  It won't be too long before I can get Barry Jr. into little league.

     My life is what you would call comfortable.  Comfortable and normal.  Conventional, that's the word I'm looking for.  I have a nine to five white collar job which I hate, but it's too late to get out, so I'll just have to move up.  I live in a quiet suburban neighborhood in a pleasant looking little house, paying an astronomical mortgage for the privilege.  Unless I'm drafted by an NBA team in desperate need of a five foot nine point guard who can't dribble, or else I happen to pick the right six numbers on a lottery ticket, I'll be paying it off until I'm too old to chew my food.  Sharon and I haven't made definite plans for more children, but before her clock stops ticking we'll probably have 1.8 more.  We do after all have the proverbial Jones family to keep up with.

     My hair continues to be gray-less, ever so slightly receded, but bald patches have yet to appear.  No stationwagon or mini-van inhabits my garage, not that the vehicle I drive would ever be mistaken for a Ferrari.  I’m still most comfortable in jeans and a tee shirt, just like when I was a teenager.  I continue to play pick up basketball games in the park when time allows, no matter that these days I'm almost always the slowest player on the court.  Thanks to those games I'm relatively up to date in the slang terminology of the day, a source of pointless pride.  In short, I'm not a kid anymore, but nor have I quite turned into my parents.

     If only there was some way I could think of to quell this steadily increasing restlessness.  Maybe everybody my age feels like this.  No, James doesn't.  Maybe everyone my age with a wife, a kid, a mortgage, and a mind numbing job.  That must be it.  I'm carrying around all this adult baggage, but I don't' remember wanting, or planning, or asking to become a grown-up.  It seems like only months ago when I would have been proofed to get into this place.  But it was years ago.  My God, it was a decade ago.

     One thing I do know for certain is this. All the adventure can not already be gone from life. Maybe I'm a little too old for fraternity parties and spring break.  I could live without praying to the porcelain god every Friday night after chugging one too many plastic cups of beer.  I’ve been around the block enough times to recognize with minimal angst that my favorite dreams will not be coming to fruition.  I'm never going to win a Cy Young award, save the word in an action movie, or perform in front of my adoring fans at Madison Square Garden.  And I'm okay with that.  Still, there has to be more in my future than a few promotions, a few kids, retirement, grandkids, and death.  There just has to be.

     I should have been with more women.  Perhaps that's what it comes down to.  Too many wild oats burning a hole in my shorts because I didn't sow them when I had the chance.  I'm not a bad looking guy.  I had a few casual flings back in my college days.  But no more than can be counted on two hands with a few fingers left over.  If I had only been more aggressive, more confident, I'm sure I could have at least doubled the number.  But I wasn't, so I didn't, and that's that.  I met Sharon a couple years after graduation.  We immediately committed to a monogamous relationship, and within two years we were exchanging a matching set of "I do's". I don't remember the name of the last woman I was with pre-Sharon. I vaguely recall what she looked like, the fact that she was drunk as was I, and that a good time was had by all in the extra large closet sized space I called my bachelor pad.  The last fling I had, that I'll ever have. I was just shy of 25 years old.

     Maybe I'll flash a smile at this woman across the bar from me. I have been told that it's my best feature.  If she doesn't smile back, I won't give the matter another thought. There's no commandment against smiling.  A little flirting never harmed anyone.  Married or not, it's good to know that at least a few members of the opposite sex, spouse not included, find you attractive.  Mankind needs to feel validated every now and then.  Vanity is what separates us from the beasts.  Vanity and credit cards.

     Yep, I was right.  She's definitely into to me.  She returned my serve of a coy grin with a hard volley of pearly whites.  I'm at a precipice.  I can do nothing but sip my drink, shoot the breeze for a couple of hours once James shows up, and then go home to my wife and child.  Or I can take a step forward, a step towards this woman, knowing that once I do, there's no turning back.

     My body is serving as a battleground for the war being fought between my hormones and Catholic guilt.  This woman is devastating, and growing more so with every sip I take.  Her form fitting dress is accentuating in remarkable detail every curve God blessed her with.  She doesn't have an ounce of fat on her.  I could have almost said that about Sharon at one time, but her body never did bounce fully back after having Derrick.  Not that she's overweight or out of shape.  She just doesn't look like quite like this Barbie proportioned she-devil.

     I love Sharon dearly.  That love has taken sides with the guilt complex.  The last thing I want to do is betray her trust.  I couldn't bear knowing how hurt she would be if I were to have an affair.  She would be destroyed, and she would never forgive me, and the comfort, and warmth, and safety of my present existence would be annihilated.

     Nevertheless, I find myself feeling sometimes that when I committed myself to Sharon, I gave up other things that life may have been planning to offer.  And I wonder if those things would have turned out to be better than what I settled for.

     No, that's the wrong choice of word.  Sharon is a wonderful woman.  I consider myself lucky, blessed to have a woman like her by my side.  A woman who swept an insecure young man off his feet and subsequently produced a son I adore.  I certainly did not settle.  But still, I can't help wondering, and longing.  I know they say the grass is always greener.  James for example, with his various girlfriends and casual liaisons, still envies me, or claims to anyway.  All in all I have a damn good life, one which it would be very foolish of me to jeopardize.  At this moment though, these potent facts are being overwhelmed by a single primeval urge.  I want to climb that mythical fence and mow that sumptuous grass.

     My mind is made up.  I'm going to talk to her.  My ability to speak comfortably to attractive women has improved vastly from my stumbling, bumbling college days. But I've had woefully few opportunities to display this hard earned talent, and only in practice drills, no real emergencies.  When I'm done with the smooth talk we'll go to her place, or any place with a mattress, and proceed to turn a fantasy into reality.  I will live one last adventure, make the final addition to my erotic memoir.  It will be just this one time, but oh what a time it shall be.

     As for Sharon, I'll have to rely on the old adage.  What she doesn't know can't and won't hurt her.  If the woman before me were any less than an absolute goddess, I would certainly refrain.  But her exquisite perfection has flipped the switch on my self-control.  I have become a temporary slave to my desire.  Starting from tomorrow I will be the model husband for the rest of my days.  As for tonight ...

     Man, I really thought I was bluffing myself.  As much as I had worked myself up, I was in fact convinced that this woman would become nothing more than who I visualize when I make love to my wife on the nights we manage to put aside for extracurricular activity. But I am off the barstool and on my feet.  I am walking towards her. I am taking action, commanding my destiny, seizing the day, and all that other good stuff.  Hey!  Some guy has cut in front of me.  He has gone right up to my woman as if I don’t even exist.

     "Hey, stranger," he says.

     "Hi, lover," she responds.  I shake my head to unscramble the words I’m hearing so they might make sense.

     "Sorry it took me so long," the man says smugly.  When your girlfriend looks like his does, everything out of your mouth is smug.

     "Better late than never."

     "You ready to go?" he asks.  Despite the completeness of my heterosexual nature, I cannot help but notice how annoyingly handsome the guy is.  I truly hate him.

     "Almost.  Just let me finish my drink."

     "I will if you give me some sugar first."

     I can't believe my eyes.  After all this mental masturbation, I find myself standing idly by as some GQ cover photo come to life rams his tongue down my dream girl's throat.  Ain't life something?

     "Hey Barry, what's up?  Sorry I'm late."

     "Like hell you are, James."  I return to my seat and down my drink in one swig.  "This round is on you.  I'll have a margarita with a shot of tequila on the side.  Make that two shots."

     "Sounds like you've had a rough day."

     "The roughest."

     In the end I'm sure I would have walked right past her, gone to the bathroom or thrown some money into the jukebox.  It's nice to daydream from time to time, but priority number one is the reality of my life, not saloon inspired wet dreams.  A beautiful wife, a great kid, a job with some potential if I work my ass off, which I'll have to if I intend to ever pay off my mortgage.  What I have is the envy of many.  Don't I know it.

     Had things worked out the way I was fantasizing, it would have been the biggest mistake I ever made.  All that guilt consuming me. I never would have been able to hide it from Sharon.  I don't have the constitution to keep so big a secret from showing in my eyes.  That's why I'm positive I would have just walked on by.  Well maybe not 100% positive, but pretty sure.

     After all, I am a happily married man. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Racial Penalty Flag

Someone in my Twitter timeline who doesn't follow me back asked in reference to the latest news break out of the NFL 
"Why isn’t the NFL trying to ban all curse words and slurs? Why only ‘nigga’ or ‘nigger’?"

I'll assume it wasn't a rhetorical question and will answer him and anybody else who may be wondering the same thing here.

The #NFL has no problem with profanity so long as microphones fail to pick it up. They get that grown men hitting each other will often curse while doing so.

The #NFL is strictly addressing racism with this move. You recall being mad at Riley Cooper, right? If ugly remarks like his infamous ones are said in a game rather than a rodeo or wherever the heck he was, that's now a penalty. Simple enough.

Think of it this way. Murder is a crime. But lawmakers also saw fit to make an extra category of racial based murder called a hate crime.

Murder is murder.  Dead is dead. But there is a greater penalty to pay for a hate crime killing than a “standard, garden variety” killing, just as killing a cop is treated harsher than civilian murder.

Just as there's murder & then there's hate crime murder, you can say (the NFL certainly is) that there's profanity and then there's hate crime level profanity.  We all know the words that are meant to insult someone’s race.  The n-word gets the most attention these days, even has TV specials dedicated to it.  Frankly, I think I said all that needs to be said on the subject here 

But the n-word slur certainly doesn’t stand alone.  If you think it does, ask someone who is Hispanic or Jewish or Asian or Native American or pretty much anything.  We don’t even bother being discreet when it comes to Native Americans.  We use ethnic slurs against them as team names!!!  That’s why I wrote this 

The NFL is trying to bear down on "hate crime" variety profanity. Hence, the n-word is being treated harsher than the f-word, b-word, c-word, etc.  It isn’t a generic insult.  It is specifically based on race and many laws have had to be passed in this country to reinforce that racial discrimination/abuse is a no-no.

That's the answer to the question. But the extra wrinkle is that most n-word usage in NFL (per my guess) is not "White on Black" but “Black on Black”.  The majority of n-word use in #NFL isn't said by the Riley Coopers or our society. It's being said by one black guy to another.

Therefore you can say that the NFL isn't so much trying to curb racial hate as putting a pause on racial self hate.

You can reasonably see this as condescending IF you view the NFL as a white institution primarily policing their black employees in this matter.  After all, 70% of the players are black and 100% of the owners (or if not, then damn close to it) are white. So a rule change primarily targeting African Americans is targeting the majority of the league. I wonder what percentage of the other 30% is Samoan.  But I digress.

The #NFL can rightfully reply that they are a private organization. Nobody has to work for them. Be a garbage man and say the n-word all day long if you wish.  No slight intended to sanitation workers, by the way.  It’s simply the first profession that sprang to mind to use as an example.

The #NFL is stepping into some choppy waters here. Some have been angered, some nod in agreement, all should agree it's a bold statement.

I will repeat that I believe most use of the n-word on #NFL fields, even when used angrily, is said without offensive intent. Racism is society's problem, not necessarily the NFL's.  So why should the #NFL bother to play with this landmine?

Societal change often starts in sports. That's one of the coolest things about sports, why I've so often written about the far reaching impact of games we watch grown men play.

Branch Rickey once insisted that his Dodgers be better than baseball so Major League Baseball would be better than society so society would become better.  Even if his true motivation was considerably more selfish ("bringing in some black guys will get us to the World Series and make me more money"), the end result still turned out to be a better world.

Blacks parrot white racism against selves with n-word usage. No getting around this no matter what spin you put on it.  It does not matter if a foul mouthed parrot does not mean anything mean spirited by the words it learned from the pirate who owns him. It’s still cussing.

Would significantly reducing black on black simulated verbal abuse improve society? The debate rages on. Positions remain entrenched.

Even if non bigoted n-word usage isn't harmful, it also isn't beneficial to anybody other than guy in need of a word rhyming with trigger.

Or malt liquor. Not the most compelling reasons so perhaps it’s worth at least considering letting the n-word go quietly into the night.

The other day my 7 year old daughter told me her white classmate said there is a bad word in a Jay Z song that starts with N. His dad told him it's bad.

I'm guessing it came up because the kid was rapping along with the song so his dad had to say "hold up there, sonny, not cool to say that".

My daughter wanted to know if I knew what the word was, and if so, could I tell her. She's real interested these days in curse words.

Topic of bigotry hasn't even entered picture on anyone's end at this point. My daughter just wants to learn a new cuss word for her collection.  I'm sloppy with Spotify and YouTube. Every so often I'll let a song with curses play and when she catches one my daughter acts like it’s a prize.

I tell her that I do know what n-word is in the song, that I won't be telling her what it is, and that her friend's dad is right.

I also tell her that she will eventually find out what the word is, at which point we'll have the discussion on why I feel it's a bad word to say.

She's no doubt heard the n-word several times, pretty much exclusively by blacks, but she doesn't know to have an opinion on it yet.

Even if you're cool with n-word usage (by African Americans) perhaps you at least agree that it shouldn't come from the mouths of babes. But what we say, they will surely repeat.  Kids are able to repeat many more words than a parrot can.  Eventually they learn all of the meanings, come to understand all of the outward hate intended by them, and have to decide for themselves if some of it is being directed inward.

“It was just a word. It took nothing from him. It made him feel only as low as he allowed himself to feel. His own brother used it in conversation habitually. But not in the same way - filled with malice, overflowing with insult. He couldn't tear his eyes away, shook with lust for retribution. Six little letters making one huge statement. NIGGER.” - From PATCHES OF GREY

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Response to the death of Jordan Davis & resulting trial of Michael Dunn

I had plenty to say on Twitter about the trial of Michael Dunn for killing Jordan Davis.  Many others were vocal on the topic as well.  Below is a series of tweets, most but not all by me, written as the verdict drew near and then after Dunn was found guilty on 4 of the 5 charges levied against him.  As we all know now, there was a hung jury on the 5th and most damning of the charges.  No verdict was rendered for the murder of Jordan Davis.  Nine jurors voted GUILTY but three felt there was reasonable room for doubt, or rather, for belief that Michael Dunn was acting in self defense rather than indignation and rage and bigotry.  There may be a second trial and eventually full closure.  For now, knowledge that Michael Dunn resides in a prison cell where he will likely be for the remainder of his days serves as cold comfort.

R.I.P. Jordan Davis

RT  @lucymcbath  Day 11. Verdict comes today. I am at peace in knowing the truth has been told no matter what the outcome. In the end God will judge.

If Dunn is acquitted it will demonstrate that many fixes to our criminal justice system are needed. But IMHO, even more than changes to Stand Your Ground laws or gun regulations, in greatest need of reform is our jury selection process. Yet I have no answer for how we can omit those who base decisions on preconceived notions and lifelong prejudices rather than the facts of the case.

Comparing Dunn to Zimmerman is easy. Both needlessly instigated. But the cases 
are very different. No evidence AT ALL that Dunn feared for his life.

Zimmerman, in addition to eliminating the one person who could provide testimony that contradicted him, earned do gooder props by being a neighborhood watchman. What was Dunn protecting? His eardrums from "thug music"?

In the
#DunnTrial only one side has made a cogent argument. Dunn contradicts himself from one minute to the next. Only consistency is his sweaters.

If the jury screws this up I say that at the very least, all trials for murders committed 
in Florida should tried in another state.

Since it doesn't seem to already be a law, I feel there should be one in place that 
penalizes for instigating fights while carrying concealed weapons. You can't claim 
self defense if you aren't being attacked. If you went out of your way to bring about a fight, 
WHILE ARMED, that should be a crime.

If you're carrying a gun, shouldn't you be extra cautions to AVOID confrontation? 
Unless you desire a confrontation because you WANT TO FIRE IT.

#JordanDavis &/or other kids in car having a long rap sheet of violent priors would be only reason to consider Dunn's story to be non-fiction.

Responsible gun ownership/carrying is legal. But if you don't call 911 immediately after firing 10 times at 4 kids, how are you a law abiding citizen?

RT @tjholmes  Compared to other "famous" trials, this jury has already deliberated longer than the Casey Anthony, Conrad Murray, & OJ juries. #DunnTrial

RT @BelleVie73  self defense cases should have a legal requirement that you notify police or you can't claim it way after the fact or at trial #onthecase

RT @EdHull8  There's Probably a Battle Waging Right Now In the #DunnTrial Jury Room Between the Voices of Fear & Racism & Those of Decency & Common Sense

RT @AmeshiaCross  It always baffles me how someone with no criminal history can be criminalized by the color of his skin alone #WhatIsAThug #DunnTrial

#DunnTrial is not all about race though. Has the #NRA chirped in on Dunn's right to 
shoot at will yet? It's bigots WITH GUNS who worry me.

RT @Sttbs73  So #TrayvonMartin had an entire sidewalk as a weapon and #JordanDavis 
had an imaginary gun? #DunnTrial

Sidewalk possession not protected by law. Neither is imaginary gun possession. 
Real gun possession and usage IS protected.

In our legal system, perception trumps reality. If you fear a large black man who 
happens to be a pacifist Reverend, only your fear matters.

You can shoot because you were frightened, provided you claim he made a 
menacing move. No penalty for being unfortunately mistaken. Only the fear matters.

That's why I want an unarmed populace. Fear is too easily manufactured. Requires 
no effort. Erased by pull of a trigger, until next time.

RT @illiam_william  Trayvon is dead. RT @NYDailyNews: George Zimmerman says 
he’s homeless and suffering from PTSD: report 

RT @MattBinder  i am surprised the #DunnTrial jury did not ask which specific songs 
bothered Michael Dunn in deciding if he was justified in murdering a boy

RT @FrenchieGlobal  FL court strikes down law that banned loud music from cars  in case u need more reason to find Dunn guilty #Dunntrial

Clearly all people in Florida need to be given a special dictionary with only 2 words 
defined in it. "Self" and "Defense".

RT @QuadCityPat  Sadly, this is exactly why Stand Your Ground has to be 
overturned. A jury can never know how a defendant "felt" #DunnTrial

RT @CheckAndMate  One day @donlemon is gonna hop out that chair and scream "WU-TANG!"

Black folk in timeline surprised that Don Lemon passionately feels Dunn should be convicted. Tweeps, even Ann friggin Coulter thinks Dunn is guilty as hell. There's a difference between not having a militant "black is always right, 
white is always wrong" mindset and being a major league sell out. So it's not especially surprising (at least not to me) that Don Lemon has a pull yourself up by own bootstraps philosophy and ALSO THINKS Dunn is guilty.

Had Dunn shot just the first 3 or 4 bullets into car & held off on continuing fire as 
the boys fled, he would have walked free.  The result we got is much more just, but still, 
the verdict in the #DunnTrial shows that laws in FL are set up in favor of killers who claim fear as motive. He will serve time in jail because of his excess, not his initial evil.

RT @dreamhampton  We need to come for Angela Corey's job, no matter the outcome #DunnTrial

RT @KBDPHD  Everytime I see Angela Corey smile after a bad verdict I feel she's more concerned w/ getting a network analyst gig than justice #DunnTrial

RT @publiusterrance  What stuns me about #DunnTrial is the silence from my 
white neighbors, friends and allies.

I wouldn't mind seeing more of a mixed racial bag of reaction to Dunn verdict. You can 
stop leisure tweeting for a tweet or two to express dismay. I know many don't like to 
leave their topic comfort zones. I call them 1-note tweeters. But injustice should matter to everybody.

RT @TheREAL_MBrooks  #JordanDavis' family is remarkable...

Certainly hard to figure out how these murdered boys in Florida could have been 
such thugs when alive after seeing classiness of their families.

RT @goldietaylor  Jordan's mother Lucy and Trayvon's mother Sybrina come together... 

RT  @chrisrock  If he's scared of black kids listening to music he's gonna be really 
scared in jail.

What exactly must one do to be convicted of murder by a jury in Florida? Is eyewitness testimony from a priest, being caught on video, and a confession by the killer sufficient? 

@JoyceCarolOates  Have there been contributions to a "defense fund" for Dunn as there had been for Zimmerman? If not, this is an encouraging sign of change.

Three of the juror's believed Michael Dunn, presumably able to see Dunn's humanity 
while perhaps not able to see Jordan Davis as being one of them.

Were the jurors who refused to vote "guilty as charged" racist? I don't know. I do 
know that most acts of racism today aren't dramatic like a lynching. It transpires 
quietly in who a person chooses to include/exclude.

I often implore folks on Twitter to stop calling EVERYTHING racist. Otherwise it lessens impact of outrage when a complaint is legitimate.

In order for Michael Dunn to evade a guilty verdict for the murder of Jordan Davis, 
there needed to be jurors who saw Jordan as the guilty one.  They had to believe 
this without any evidence.  Jordan did not have a criminal record, had no history of 
violence, was not the one who had been drinking.  No eyewitnesses corroborated 
Dunn's wildly inconsistent self defense, phantom gun story, not even his fiancee.  
And yet to not be convicted on ALL CHARGES, the man who was clearly lying to 
save his life needed to found more credible than an unarmed kid who was shot down 
because he was playing loud music and it never occurred to his killer to simply park 
a little farther away.

Why did Dunn's inconsistently made claim that he was under attack outweigh what 
Jordan's friends said to the contrary? This is what is known as a rhetorical question, 
but it also needs to be addressed for the sake of future Stand Your Ground tainted trials.

Based on the testimony I heard, the only menace to society that day was Michael Dunn. 
I breathe easier knowing he's in jail where he belongs.

If the parents of Jordan Davis are at peace with the result of the #DunnTrial - that matters a great deal. Such sad satisfaction has not always been guaranteed. Yet it's understandable
that more was desired - total justice.

Trayvon could have been Obama's son. Ditto for heartless kid killing other brown kids on bloody streets of Chicago. There but for the grace of God...

RT  @atticalocke  Juror a reminder that we can't judge all white folks any more than they can judge all of us.  After the verdict there were many people, myself included, making blanket statements about how white people view black life. #dunntrial #michaeldunn

Of all Twitter reactions to highly publicized court cases, response to Casey Anthony's acquittal was most baffling Talk about your blanket statements and judgments.

If/when Michael Dunn is retried I believe he'll be convicted on murder charge. 
Evidence like letters/calls from jail will come into play.

In the meantime Dunn will already be in prison and not leaving any time soon, so not 
an especially loud roar of outrage to come from me. Nevertheless, IMHO 3 of the 
jurors were boneheaded at best.

The hung jury may even be ultimately for the best because it's more ammunition in fight 
against dangerous Stand Your Ground laws dotting this nation.

I suspect at least 1 of the 3 jurors who bought Dunn's self defense story will say 
upon learning more about the killer after the trial - "if I had known that I'd have 
voted differently". What they did already know should have been enough though.

As for those who persist in saying our focus needs to remain on Black On Black 
crime rather than zeroing in on the untimely deaths of young black men such as 
Trayvon Martin and Michael Dunn, I respond that comparing apples to oranges 
is a waste of time...and fruit.  

I do agree that rampant, violent crime in our inner cities should be a top priority, 
though I call it Poor On Poor crime as I feel poverty is the determining factor, 
not race. I believe guns need to taken out of more hands period. Poor, middle 
class & rich hands. Black and White. Gang bangers and freelance vigilantes.

RT @elonjames  I'm not amused by some folks constant attempts to defuse 
righteous anger, hurt and frustration. Our humanity is ignored yet we should chill?

There are many monsters out there. Some seem easier to spot than others. 
Some look hideous to you. Some look like reflection in mirror.

Black on Black / Poor on Poor crime is awful. Injustice in our courtrooms is awful. The Holocaust was awful. American slavery was awful. SEPARATELY

Connections are there to be made of course. Slavery's impact continues to be felt on 
race relations & exclusively within the African American community.

But different forms of tragedy deserve to be examined individually, independently. 
One tree drops many seeds that each take on lives of their own.

I know people who own guns and this knowledge doesn't bother me at all. The odds 
of it leading to tragic results are pretty low. I also know some people for whom I am 
grateful of their decision not to be gun owners because the very last thing they need 
is a gun. A good person can still have a fast temper or be prone to panicking under 
pressure. Such a person will needlessly ruin lives with immediate access to a trigger. 
Let them yell that road rage out instead. Irresponsible gun owners make responsible ones look bad and weakens 'right to bear arms' argument.

How can you tell the differences in temperament & purpose between the responsible and irresponsible people who apply for gun licences? I don't know, but somebody smarter than me needs to figure it out. Better case by case evaluation needs to take place, followed by stricter regulations in cases where gun ownership is allowed.

RT @goldietaylor  HLN's Resident Zimmerman and Dunn Defender Once

Eventually another kid will get shot under questionable circumstances. I don't need 
to hear Frank Taaffe's opinion. Already know it.

I don't want to end this on the idiocy of Frank Taaffee so I'll add an image below for you to contemplate. It shows a police office protecting a member of the KKK from angry protesters
because regardless of our beliefs (but not regardless of our actions) all Americans deserve
equal protection and equal justice courtesy of our laws.