Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Round and Round

I'm a tweaker. No, not that kind of tweaker, I'm a post tweaker, by which I mean that I tweak my posts, not that I used to be a tweaker. I'm sorry to bother you with this but due to the fact my readership has snowballed (there are literally tens of people reading my work) I feel that I must be transparent about how I do things so as not to violate the trust of my readers. The fact is, I don't hesitate to make changes to anything you'll find written here.

Why? Kaizen. No, that's not a battle cry (KAI-ZEN!) it's a philosophy, an attitude of sorts. I define it as continuous tweaking, the purpose of which is continuous improvement. I'll spare you a lecture on the who/what/when/where/why of the word because it would be boring and besides, I'm eminently unqualified to do so. Let's just define it as a Japanese business philosophy that posits that continuous improvements (tweaking) are one of the best ways to deal with one of life's immutable laws, rust never sleeps. Toyota is really good at this sort of thing, I try to be. I don't think twice about changing my words around if I think that a given change enhances clarity or meaning, or might be funnier. So if you should have occasion to reread something you found here and it's different, well, don't be alarmed, it's me, not you. Finally, it may be worth your while to reread anything you happened to have liked in the past, it might be better. It might not, but then you can use comments to point out what a hoople-head I am. Kick me, spare your dog.

In my personal version of Kaizen, facts are very important. Sometimes, what is written in stone may turn out to be false and may require the services of your stone carver of choice for updates. However inconvenient this may be there's no way around it, not if you believe, as I do, that continually tweaking facts to reflect reality as it is, not as what we'd like it to be, is of the utmost importance. I would like to rent a larger, nicer house than the one I do but if I refuse to acknowledge that I'm living in the best house I can currently afford, I risk creating a downward spiral that could end with me living in the back of my van. Though the van is paid for, my house is more comfortable and has a bathroom.

Now, when I, my snifigant others and/or the other kids on the playground have to hammer out how we're going to solve a given problem or deal with a given phenomenon, trying to agree on the facts of the matter is the place to start. If we can't agree on what's actually going on, we can't agree on a rational course of action or a solution.

The Donald, the preferred presidential candidate of wrestling and reality show fans everywhere, has assured himself, at the very least, a place in American history in part by exploiting recent violent tragedies perpetrated by illegal immigrants. He, along with our who needs context when there's blood in the water media, ignore one inconvenient fact. Multiple studies (feel free to google among yourselves) have come to the conclusion that immigrants, legal or not, are less likely to commit crimes of all sorts, than the natives. Round and Round and Round we go.

So, are cops deliberately killing African Americans? Is the Black Lives Matter movement correct in asserting that they are and that this justifies people chanting, "Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon," during protest marches? We don't know. There are no legally mandated national reporting requirements for the FBI to create a database out of to try and answer the question. This doesn't prevent people on either side of the question from quoting from what statistics there are in order to promote their cause. But not only do we not truly know, there's no objective effort underway to find out, at least that I'm aware of. Round and Round and Round we go.

We do know that African-Americans, roughly 13% of the population of the US, commit slightly more than half of all murders and that they are mostly killing other black folks. More than 90% of murdered African-Americans are killed by other African-Americans. Obviously, the average black citizen is just as unlikely to be a killer as the average white citizen, considerably less than 1% of the 13% I would think. Finding a solution to this factual problem would seem to be of benefit to both blacks and whites. So what. If you bring it up you're a racist if you're white, and if you're black, an uncle Tom. Round and Round and Round we go, where we stop, nobody knows.

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." John Adams

©Mark Mehlmauer 2015


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