December 19, 2013
Thursday, December 19, 2013
“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” – attributed to Voltaire
A&E Ducks Free SpeechCommentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 19, 2013
Until the recent kerfuffle regarding a magazine interview, I have not seen a single episode of Duck Dynasty and in fact, had never heard of Phil Robertson, patriarch of his TV family. Now his right of free speech has been stifled.
While I still have no interest in watching an episode of this program, I am however, supportive of Mr. Robertson’s First Amendment right of free speech and expression.
Robertson was suspended from the A&E television phenomena for what the gay and lesbian community claims were offensive and derisive remarks about homosexuals in an interview with GQ magazine – not even remarks made on the television network itself.
Robertson said homosexuality is a sin in accordance with his Christian beliefs. Robertson went on to say "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers – they won't inherit the kingdom of G-d. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right," as written in GQ.
Agree or disagree with Robertson, that isn’t the issue. The issue is his fundamental, Constitutional right to say what he wishes. He did not call for the stoning or death of homosexuals. He didn’t even say they should be deprived of their rights or citizenship. Robertson simply expressed what millions of people feel regarding the appropriateness of the homosexual lifestyle. Even more volatile speech is and should be protected so long as it does not incite criminal behavior.
The homosexual community, much like a well-heeled lobbying group, is a strong minority, but that’s what needs to remembered – they are a small minority, numbering less than 10 percent of the population. Yet, the homosexual community commands such fear and intimidation that they forced A&E to suspend Robertson from the program because they did not like or approve of his comments made in an entirely different media venue.
The homosexual community threatens and cajoles media and corporate leaders to cave in to their demands for fear of boycotts. The supporters of Robertson and Duck Dynasty should do likewise – threaten a counter boycott if Robertson is not returned to his place on the program.
Free speech is just that and while we may not always agree with what people say, we still fight for their right to say it, to paraphrase Voltaire. If the homosexual community gets its way and silence Robertson and others who share his religious and cultural beliefs, who will be threatened next? Who next will be denied their rights? If members of the homosexual community, or anyone else for that matter, do not like or agree with Robertson’s words, don’t watch his program. Change the channel. I don’t like the theme of a program such as Modern Family, I don’t demand ABC remove it from its roster, I change the channel.
There is power in numbers and popular television programs generate revenue for the network on which they appear. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is still on the books and is valid – protecting Americans, not putting them on the unemployment line.
A&E exhibited a double standard by denying Robertson his right of free speech in accordance with the Constitution. Where is the tolerance and diversity supported by A&E – or is that only reserved for those with whom they agree? Apparently Christians, conservatives, and/or religious people are excluded from this support.
Contact A&E to express your outrage at email@example.com, 235 E. 45th Street, New York, NY 10017, 212-210-1400.
I fully agree with Sarah Palin’s Facebook comment: “Free speech is an endangered species.” The answer to speech people find objectionable is not less, but more speech.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
“Affluenza” Saves Killer Teen, Cripples JudgeCommentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 18, 2013
Texans like bragging about how things are always bigger in the Lone Star State. Well in the category of jurisprudence, none has been bigger than the crime committed by Ethan Couch coupled with the gigantic miscue by Juvenile Judge Jean Hudson Boyd.
In what has to be the obscenity of the year, Couch, 16, went joyriding in Burleson, TX on June 15 – drunk as a skunk, and slaughtered four innocent people. What is even more outrageous is that the judge declined to sentence this miscreant to 20 years in jail, but instead sentenced him to 10 years’ probation while allowing him to enter rehab.
Couch, of Keller, TX, received a defense that labeled him the product of “affluenza,” a term defined as “a sense of wealthy entitlement the boy could not discern right from wrong,” which sadly, Boyd swallowed, hook, line, and stinker.
Couch, who has been living alone in a mansion provided by his parents, Fred, 48, and Tonya, 46, divorced, had a prior run in with the law at age 14, while his parents have had numerous brushes with the law, none ending with any terms behind bars. The parents apparently do not discipline this child who lives his life of privilege sans supervision, morality, or a conscience.
Couch, drinking underage, blew a .24 on the breathalyzer, three times the legal limit, as well as under the influence of Valium, was driving his Ford F-350 pickup truck with passengers Sergio Molina and Soliman Mohmund, both 16.
Couch was clocked speeding at 70 miles per hour in a 40 mph zone when he plowed into, and slaughtered Pastor Brian Jennings, 41, Hollie Boyles, 52, Shelby Boyles, 21, and Breanna Mitchell, 24. Four innocent lives snuffed out by an irresponsible teenager who should have known better, and should be rotting in a prison cell with none of the privileges his family wealth will afford him at a virtual country club rehab center.
Make no mistake, Couch should receive rehabilitation, but it should be while serving a concomitant prison sentence, and paid for by his parents. After all, they will be shelling out $450,000 a year for their son to vacation at the Newport Academy in Newport Beach, CA.
In fact, if Couch is deemed a non-violent offender, he should work with the homeless, the less fortunate, and in poor schools, a la work release with him returning to prison at night. He needs to experience the reality of life lived by those not of privilege. He needs sobering exposure to life’s daily trials and tribulations, many of which neither have happy endings nor are resolved because of poverty.
Why Judge Boyd did not include this in the sentencing of Couch to his cushy-tushy rehab facility is incomprehensible. Also, the notion of probation requiring Couch to be on the straight and narrow or he could face future prison time is disingenuous without the above suggested conditions as well as allowing him residence in a Club Med-style rehab facility.
As an elected member of the judicial branch in Texas, Boyd would unlikely face firing from Governor Rick Perry (R), but there is an on-line petition for removal which can be found at www.change.org. I have signed this petition for removal. Boyd, also a Republican, is heading into the final year of her current four-year term, and is considered likely for retirement. Nevertheless, she should face recall from the voters in Tarrant County where she has served as a juvenile judge in the 323rd Judicial District since 1995.
Boyd won election in 1994 with 62.5 percent of the vote, followed by reelection in 1998 with 61.7 percent of the vote. In the elections of 2002, 2006, and most recently 2010, Boyd ran uncontested in the heavily GOP county. Boyd earned her undergraduate degree at Texas Tech, followed by her JD at South Texas College of Law.
Boyd should be ashamed of her sentence handed down to Couch and will long be remembered for it instead of any decisions made of a more appropriate nature. Additionally, civil suits should be filed by the families of the four victims against Couch and his parents who should bear more than just a small amount of responsibility for their son’s recalcitrant behavior. Suits should also be launched by Couch’s passengers Mohmund and Molina, who is currently paralyzed.
Sign the on-line petition to relieve Boyd of her judicial duties. Contact her at her office – politely, to express your outrage at this weak-kneed sentence. Her office phone number is 817-838-4600. The address is Scott D. Moore Juvenile Justice Center, 2701 Kimbo Road, Fort Worth, TX 76111.
To contact the Newport Academy, call 866-382-6651. They will not release the address until after receiving initial intake information pertaining to a potential patient.
Both Boyd and Couch should be flooded with calls, letters, etc. from as many people as possible expressing consternation about the horrific crime committed by a soulless reprobate and an equally careless sentence issued by a judge who clearly has seen her best days on the bench pass her by.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Mandela a Man, not a G-d
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 10, 2013
While one should not libel the dead, the truth may indeed hurt – and that includes Nelson Mandela, who died last week and deified by Howard Witt in his December 8 column “Mandela was one icon without feet of clay,” in The Indianapolis Star.
Witt regaled his readers with tales of personal experiences with Mandela, who should get the credit he deserves for helping to end the horrible system of apartheid that riddled his native South Africa.
That said, Witt offered a saccharine-laden editorial about some cartoon superhero deified for his suffering when the unvarnished truth remained ignored, and not just by Witt but by news outlets of all stripes.
Warts and all, Mandela was a communist and virulent anti-Zionist calling Israel an apartheid state. This is an insult of the highest level because it came from Mandela who suffered under bona fide apartheid and thus he should have known better. Israel has afforded Muslims, Christians, women, homosexuals, and other minorities more rights and safety than any of the Muslim/Arab states surrounding the Jewish state.
Additionally, Mandela endorsed the terrorist group Hamas and supported the likes of career-terrorist Yasser Arafat (1929-2004), Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi (1942-2011) – with the numerous photos to boot. Mandela also opened South Africa to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) and his ANC (African National Congress) was a solidly communist operation.
Mourn the man Mr. Witt; but mourn the whole man and all for which he stood.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN. This column was submitted to The Indianapolis Star, but was not printed.