Saturday, December 26, 2009

Teen Shootings in Ferndale

The holiday season was marred in Ferndale in mid-December when teen violence, apparently gang-related according to police reports, resulted in the death by gunfire of one teen boy and another critically wounded. The first such disaster in Ferndale is unfortunately all too common in our nation's large cities. A full scale community mobilization is called for to begin to address and prevent this type of severe societal dysfunction from further affecting and infecting our community.

It was the friday before Christmas week when the sweet sixteen party was held at the VFW Hall in dowtown Ferndale. Everything went well until members of a youth gang, reportedly based in Detroit near the fairgrounds, crashed the party bringing a shotgun. Minutes later, one teen was lying dead on the floor, another critically wounded. Although police arrived very quickly, the shooter managed to escape, and at the time of this writing, had not been identified. The shooting happened at about a quarter past midnight.

Lots of questions remain, including the issue of teens being out at such a late hour, and the wisdom or folly of posting events such as a teen party on Facebook for all the world to see.

While the Ferndale police are among the best in the land, they cannot solve the larger societal problem of teens and gun violence by themselves. Even working with other law enforement departments from Detroit, Wayne and Oakland Counties, they need unity of purpose and comprehensive plans from all of the stakeholders in the community. The schools, teachers,
parents, not for profit groups, government, and religious institutions must unite and work together to try and address the growing problem and keep it from getting worse.

In Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and countless other large cities in America, teens with guns are a growing danger and menace to our civilized society. Whether the problem stems from easy access to guns, parents who are disengaged or absent, peer pressure, unemployment and poverty or a violence-soaked culture, we all must work together to send the message of zero tolerance to shootings and murder among your youth.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Smoking Ban INCLUDES Outdoor Patios

The new Michigan smoking ban in workplaces includes all bars and restaurants in the state. And in their wisdom to protect workers from second hand smoke, the legislature included all areas of the premises of our bars and restaurants, including outdoor patios.

Billed and sold as a way to protect employees health, which is a noble thing, the law includes banning people from smoking outdoors. One wonders then if there were other reasons the legislators had for enacting this new law.

Michigan relies on huge amounts of tax dollars from tobacco to run its government. Millions of dollars per day are collected. So it seems that they will take money from smokers with one hand but slap them with the other if they want to sit outside and have a smoke with a beer.

Smoking is unhealthy, expensive, and addictive. But it is also legal. Well, legal except in places were it is illegal. And that now includes the great outdoors.

Big Brother isnt done yet.

The next sin to be taken up will be over-eating, junk food, and obesity. I wonder what else will come down the pike from our benevolent government. Since drinking is also often unhealthy, maybe they will ban drinking in the bars as well ?

Oh, and you can still smoke while you gamble. But you can't smoke where you drink where you gamble. Only two sins at a time are permitted.