Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/19/18: Unethical Wedding Gifts, The Fairness Conundrum, What Really Makes Students Unsafe, And More

Good Morning!

1 A Not Exactly Hypothetical… A family member is getting married, and the social justice warrior spouse has decreed that no gifts should be sent, just contributions in the happy couples’ name to designated charities and causes, all political, partisan, and ideological. Does this obligate guests to give money to causes and organizations they object to or disagree with? One might be tempted to teach a life-lesson in abuse of power, and pointedly give a contribution to, say, The Family Research Counsel, the NRA, or Paul Ryan’s re-election campaign, but that would be wrong. Wouldn’t it?

2. “Progressive fines” poll update. The percentage of readers who regard so-called “progressive fines” as fairer than fining all law violators the same amount regardless of resources is about 6%, in contracts to 40% who think this is less fair. As I suspected, the schism is driven by the long-standing (and resolvable) arguments over what constitutes “fair” government policies, and whether it is the government’s job to try to make life less unfair. Is it “fair” to treat everyone the same, when we know that life doesn’t treat everyone the same? Are those who argue that life’s unfairness should be addressed by individuals, not society, taking that position because they are winners in life’s chaotic lottery? Can society and governments be trusted to address “unfairness” and inequality without being influenced by the conflicts and biases of the human beings making and carrying out laws and policies. I don’t generally care to spend a lot of Ethics Alarms time or space on abstract ethics questions, but some of them can’t be avoided. You can take the poll, if you haven’t already, here.

3. On the topic of fairness, here is a study that will make you bang your head against the wall: Following on the heels of this discouraging study I posted about on March 3 is this report by researchers at Stanford, Harvard and the Census Bureau, as described here by the New York Times. A taste sufficient to ruin your day:

Even when children grow up next to each other with parents who earn similar incomes, black boys fare worse than white boys in 99 percent of America. And the gaps only worsen in the kind of neighborhoods that promise low poverty and good schools.

According to the study…income inequality between blacks and whites is driven entirely by what is happening among these boys and the men they become. Black and white girls from families with comparable earnings attain similar individual incomes as adults…The study, based on anonymous earnings and demographic data for virtually all Americans now in their late 30s, debunks a number of other widely held hypotheses about income inequality. Gaps persisted even when black and white boys grew up in families with the same income, similar family structures, similar education levels and even similar levels of accumulated wealth.

The disparities that remain also can’t be explained by differences in cognitive ability, an argument made by people who cite racial gaps in test scores that appear for both black boys and girls. If such inherent differences existed by race, “you’ve got to explain to me why these putative ability differences aren’t handicapping women,” said David Grusky, a Stanford sociologist who has reviewed the research….

The research makes clear that there is something unique about the obstacles black males face. The gap between Hispanics and whites is narrower, and their incomes will converge within a couple of generations if mobility stays the same. Asian-Americans earn more than whites raised at the same income level, or about the same when first-generation immigrants are excluded. Only Native Americans have an income gap comparable to African-Americans. But the disparities are widest for black boys….The new data shows that 21 percent of black men raised at the very bottom were incarcerated, according to a snapshot of a single day during the 2010 census. Black men raised in the top 1 percent — by millionaires — were as likely to be incarcerated as white men raised in households earning about $36,000.

Yikes.

4. But this pretty clearly doesn’t work…Broward County’s school system didn’t just fail to stop Parklamd shooter Nikolas Cruz despite

…counselors visiting Cruz’s home multiple times in a single month (September 2016)

…Department of Children and Families conducting an investigation into Cruz’s conduct

…multiple psychiatrists advising that Cruz be placed into a residential treatment family when he was 14

..a psych memo being prepared and filed decribing him as angry, attention seeking, and threatening to hurt others.

But the NRA has blood on its hands. Why do students think that banning guns will keep them “safe” when those operating the schools place them at risk through incompetence and negligence?

But I digress…

Broward also administered a “re-engagement” program for serious juvenile offenders, “transitioning” back to school almost 2,000 incarcerated students according to district data obtained by RealClearInvestigations. These offenders had (and have) a high risk of committing more crimes. Another initiative, the Behavior Intervention Program, mainstreams  “students who exhibit severe, unmanageable behavior,” according to a 2017-2018 program handbook, including those who are “convicted of a serious crime such as rape, murder, attempted murder, sexual battery or firearm related [offense].”  You will not be surprised, I hope, to learn that this was all part of an initiative of the Obama administration and its relentlessly wrong-headed Education Department:

“With the encouragement of the Obama Education Department, Broward County schools in 2013 signed a pioneering agreement with law enforcement that made the police and schools partners in a social experiment of relaxed juvenile-crime enforcement to reduce racial disparities in arrests and incarceration. The agreement called, in many circumstances, for the police to speak with school officials before deciding whether to arrest any student, white or minority, for misdemeanor crimes that had previously warranted arrest. In thousands of cases, the offenders were not sent to court but to counseling, which included participation in “healing circles,” obstacle courses and other “self-esteem building” exercises.

Cruz, who now faces the death penalty for allegedly murdering 17 people last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, benefited from this policy. He was never booked for a series of arrestable offenses, which is one reason he could pass a background check and purchase the weapon he used in the mass shooting.”

5. In Washington, D.C., here is an Incompetent Elected Official so ridiculous that I don’t want to waste a whole post on him. D.C. Council member Trayon White Sr. decided to tell constituents that Jews were controlling the weather.

“Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Y’all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation,” he said in a video. “And D.C. keep talking about, ‘We a resilient city.’ And that’s a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful.”

Nice English there, dude.

Now I may have to write a whole post on the disturbing growth of anti-Semitism among African American Democrats, which the mainstream news media is soft-peddling while the conservative news media focuses on it. At least eight members of the Congressional Black Caucus have met with are Louis Farrakhan, who  calls Jews “satanic” (he has also said that white people “deserve to die.”)

Among them is Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, who earned a “four Pinocchio” rating from the Washington Post over his public denials of a relationship with the demagogue.

6. The ultimate ingratitude. Last August I wrote about a growing movement to remove Tom Yawkey’s name from a street leading to Fenway Park in Boston:

Red Sox owner John Henry wants Boston to change the name of  the street that borders the legendary park, Yawkey Way, and he is trying to exploit the  .current political correctness mania that has cities pulling down statues of war heroes in the dead of night to accomplish his goal….Henry told the Boston Herald that he is “haunted” by the racist legacy of previous owner Tom Yawkey, who led the team from 1933 to 1976. Because he is haunted, he thinks that it is fair and right that the man who beyond question saved the team, ran it as a Boston institution and public utility, and is as responsible as anyone for the fact that Henry owns one of the prestige franchises in all of sports, should be dishonored and shunned because he wasn’t enlightened about civil rights long before Martin Luther King began marching.

Such disgraceful moral grandstanding and self-righteous ingratitude are seldom seen.

It’s done. The Red Sox have asked the city to remove the honor from the street. As Marc Anthony would have said, if he were a Red Sox fan,

“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”

Now that’s unfair.

 

79 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Business & Commercial, Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement, Sports

79 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/19/18: Unethical Wedding Gifts, The Fairness Conundrum, What Really Makes Students Unsafe, And More

  1. 1) Wedding gifts are meant for young couples that probably don’t have the means to well-stock their new home with basic items. Weddings aren’t merely reasons for gifts. There was an old purpose for it *independent of the goodness of gift giving*. If this couple is so well to do that they don’t need such a boost to start in life and they are simultaneously ruining the notion of the goodness of gift giving, then follow the request: “that no gifts should be sent”.

  2. 2) Don’t we have judges for a reason? To determine when and where any particular case, where the law grants a “continuum” of penalty severity, just how much penalty is just?

    • You are expanding this to more complex crimes. Parking tickets and traffic fines are set by statute; there is no judge-involved sentencing.

      • I was allowed in Louisiana to take my speeding ticket before a judge…

        Got it reduced by a couple hundred bucks.

        • (Granted it was Leesville, outside Fort Polk…I’m sure the judge had scant little else to do but hear traffic fine appeals)

          • Isaac

            I have not only been to Leesville but I actually performed a couple of little concerts in that tiny theatre-stage thing downtown. I mostly just remember that it was really hot and they have a Long John Silver’s.

            • When was that? I was there for two years in the Army.

              • I visited an old Army buddy at Ft. Polk a couple of years before his last tour in Afghanistan. I think he was only there for a couple years too. Seems to be the thing to do there; go there, do a bunch of training up in the box and move on to the next post.

                • I was there technically for 3 years, but 6-8 months were occupied primarily with several schools. The 2 years + change that I was physically there was with the OPFOR of JRTC.

                  • My buddy was down there in late 2000’s as part of the BfSB train up. He was deployed with the 18th Airborne LRS to Afghanistan 2010/2011. If you were at Polk during that train up time frame, I’m sure you two chewed some of the same dirt up in the box.

                    • Yeah, I left Polk in mid to late 2009 to head back up to Knox. If he was deployed 2010-2011, his train up would have been somewhere in 2009-2010. So there’s a remote chance we played big army laser tag against each other.

                    • I think he was back at Bragg for close to a year before his last deployment. He was an SFC while at Polk and deployed as 1SG.

                      Gotta love MILES gear.

                    • Then there’s very good likelihood we “fought” in tigerland against each other.

                      Hope we didn’t embarrass his unit too much…

                    • Michael West wrote, “Hope we didn’t embarrass his unit too much…”

                      Tis a far, far better thing to be embarrassed in training and learn from it than it is to fail in combat because you didn’t train properly!

                      Train as you fight; identify failures; apply corrective actions/training to prevent recurrence of failures.

                    • The whole purpose of JRTC. Losing there is winning in the long run.

                    • P.S. I did a little time at Knox myself, I “enjoyed” Agony, Misery, and Heartbreak hills. Lived in the old barracks between Spearhead Div Ave and 9th CAV REG Ave. Worked over on Chamberlain at the BCT barracks.

                    • Yes, when I hear infantrymen brag about their cute little rise in the ground that they call “Cardiac Hill”, I giggle a little inside knowing they haven’t met Agony, Misery and Heartbreak.

                    • Michael West wrote, “Yes, when I hear infantrymen brag about their cute little rise in the ground that they call “Cardiac Hill”, I giggle a little inside knowing they haven’t met Agony, Misery and Heartbreak.”

                      It really kinda depends on your perspective as in current condition when you arrive at the bottom of the hill and have to go up; but yes, there is a noticeable difference in hills! 🙂

                    • I met them. They sucked

                    • I don’t understand your comment.

                    • Oh wait, you’re talking about the hills. Duh Zoltar.

        • You brought back horrible memories of this awful comedy, one of the most relentlessly unpleasant movies ever made…with Dan Ackroyd, Chevy Chase, John Candy, and Demi Moore. Has a 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and that’s too generous.

          • Paul W. Schlecht

            I saw that, too; a REAL stinker, and the cast featured every Aykroyd under the Sun; nepotism is the game the whole family can play…

            In it, I do believe the Chase character (Chris Thorne) coined the term “Brazillionaires.”

          • Well, to drop a controversy bomb here, and I know my comedy ideas aren’t mainstream, but coming from the Leslie Nielson and pre-BASEketball Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker school of comedy, I’ve never really found the Ackroyd-Chase-Candy sphere of comedy all that funny.

            No doubt it has it’s amusing moments and generated a chuckle in each movie, with some exceptions like Christmas Vacation generating more chuckles than not, I’m just not driven to mirth by that school of comedy as I am the the former.

  3. 1. Even if I was sympathetic to some of the charities I would pass on it. I imagine this will soon be part of funerals – om lieu of flowers……

    6. I wrote about this recently for a baseball site a friend is attempting to start up. (link below) You can expect the battle lines were well defined on FB over the issue. Naturally, I am a “Right-wing nut,” “Trump supporter,” “Nativist,” “Racist,” and soon Godwin’s Law surfaced. That (thankfully) was a small minority as most see the issue as overreach.
    https://soxsphere.com/2018/03/05/red-sox-airbrush-history-yawkey-name-change/

    • It’s different with funerals, though. Flowers are useless, and the request for a contribution to an organization the deceased was linked to is a fair request.

      • Paul W. Schlecht

        On the subject of funerals, I paid my respects (and inked the guest book) to a deceased pal back in August.

        Shortly thereafter, I received a solicitation from the funeral home alerting me that the service I attended would be available to me-n-mine when the time was…um…right.

        Is it ethical to use a funeral guest book as a lead generator?

        • Luke G

          There’s a staggering degree of “ick!” that makes it hard to honestly assess the ethics of the situation.

          My call on it: I would assume most people (including myself) assume the guest book is for the benefit of the family of the deceased, to help acknowledge those who attended and/or to serve as a memento of all those who cared about the deceased. I wouldn’t think the funeral home had any reason to read through it at all, let alone to record the information, let even MORE alone to pursue sales leads with it- that makes commercial use of the book misleading and therefore unethical.

        • Maybe the recently deceased had referred you beforehand…

          Have you visited your Doctor lately?

          • Paul W. Schlecht

            ”Maybe the recently deceased had referred you beforehand…”

            However improbable, that remains a possibility. I actually saw him the day he passed while walking my dog along a local golf course.

            As always we had an amiable chat, he died at home a couple of hours later; really one of those Holy Shit experiences.

            He was 20 years older (82) but one of those ”real peach of a guy” guys; always smiling and upbeat and never a bad word about anything other than his inability to conquer the back nine. And oddly enough, that’s what we discussed that day; all three of us (including my Good Golden Girl) being on that figurative ” back nine.”

            “Have you visited your Doctor lately?”

            Whaaaat, and tempt fate…?

            Doctor, doctor, will I die?

            Yes, my dear, and so shall I.

  4. “Even when children grow up next to each other with parents who earn similar incomes, black boys fare worse than white boys in 99 percent of America. And the gaps only worsen in the kind of neighborhoods that promise low poverty and good schools.”

    “Gaps persisted even when black and white boys grew up in families with the same income, similar family structures, similar education levels and even similar levels of accumulated wealth.”

    “The disparities that remain also can’t be explained by differences in cognitive ability,”

    “Black men raised in the top 1 percent — by millionaires — were as likely to be incarcerated as white men raised in households earning about $36,000.”

    Not one mention of the values and worldview being pumped into the brains of little black boys.

    This isn’t about wealth.

    This isn’t about materialism.

    This is about what cultural forces are telling little black boys and little white boys.

    And I know at a minimum that a group of people that the wider culture is teaching to rebel against authority, to resist accountability, that everyone is out to get them, who are told to have heroes who are consistently ONLY sports figures (with awful values) and pop stars (with even more awful values), who are taught that the government (especially the police) are out to get them, are probably not entering adulthood with as many “success”-generating facets of their worldview as other groups of people may be.

    “Success” – I don’t mean success in a material point of view, because I don’t subscribe to materialism as an indicator of the goodness of a society.

    • Chris Marschner

      Michael, I think you made a great point. As an extension, with respect to incarceration rates, I wonder if the perception that the wealthy go largely unpunished leads some affluent black males to conclude that because they have money that gives them license to do things they might not do if they thought the punishment was likely.

  5. 4) And the answer is to trust government more…

  6. valkygrrl

    1A: The gift is never obligatory, that’s why it’s called a gift.
    1B: That would be wrong. Because you’re unhappy about their request is no excuse for behaving like a Trumpian asshole.

    • Why do you always confound emotion with reason? I’m not unhappy with their request. It’s just unethical, that’s all.And and abuse of the traditions. The ethical options are to send a regular gift, or give them a cash gift to contribute as the wish, or not to give a gift at all.

      Gifts are considered (by many) to be obligatory when connected to an event, and part of the implicit condition of accepting the invitation. I have read court cases that have so held, involving bribery accusations.

    • This is internally inconsistent. If it’s wrong to not give a gift, then the give is obligatory (even if only minimally obligatory).

      • valkygrrl

        I would suggest you read my comment again because it does not say what you think it says.

        Jack asked 2 questions. Question 1

        Does this obligate guests to give money to causes and organizations they object to or disagree with?

        The answer was no. Question 2

        One might be tempted to teach a life-lesson in abuse of power, and pointedly give a contribution to, say, The Family Research Counsel, the NRA, or Paul Ryan’s re-election campaign, but that would be wrong. Wouldn’t it?

        The answer was yes, it would be wrong.

        • Oh.

          I misread your formatting and brevity and inappropriately assumed the generality of your responses within that misread format.

          I now see your assertions for what they are.

        • The hypothetical mother of the hypothetical relative being whipped into sending such an invitation by the hypothetical SJW daughter-in-law-to-be laughed so hard at my hypothetical gift contribution suggestions that I thought she was going to plotz. Hypothetically.

    • Chris Marschner

      Would you feel the same way if the request was to contribute to the Trump 2020 campaign fund?

      • valkygrrl

        Would I feel that I was not in-fact obligated to send a donation? Yes.
        Would I make a donation to the anyone-but-Trump 2020 campaign out of spite? No.

        So yes, I would feel the same way.

        • That is an ethical response, and a common sense one.

          Remind me why we have to even figure these things out this way, these days? 🙂

          • valkygrrl

            Maybe there’s something in the water.

            Or it’s the fault of kids these days and that damned noise they call music.

            Or infiltration by the Mesan Alignment.

            Or bees were the only thing holding humanity together and now that we’re losing them…

  7. Chris

    1 A Not Exactly Hypothetical… A family member is getting married, and the social justice warrior spouse has decreed that no gifts should be sent, just contributions in the happy couples’ name to designated charities and causes, all political, partisan, and ideological. Does this obligate guests to give money to causes and organizations they object to or disagree with?

    Speaking as someone who will be getting married in September, I don’t think guests are “obligated” to bring gifts to a wedding in the first place. It’s nice, but it isn’t something I consider any of my guests obligated to do, except for maybe my parents and my fiance’s parents. So no, no one is obligated to give money to any of these causes.

    • Paul W. Schlecht

      Congrats Chris! I didn’t get married til I was 47 and we suggested that, in lieu of gifts, any that were interested could make a donation to a charity of their choosing.

      I told everyone I was registered at a local liquor store, which generated a number of contributions, none of which were returned or regifted.

      You do the same and I’ll send you a pint…

    • Congratulations, Chris! And to your bride to be as well. Marriage is a great ethics adventure, and well worth the stress and strife.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      Depends on the people involved. In the case of people I knew or family I wouldn’t dare show up without a suitably generous gift for fear of later social disapproval or becoming the topic of Thanksgiving dinner conversations for the next decade. I have different feelings about getting invited to a wedding where I don’t know anyone and barely know the bride and groom – I was invited to just such a wedding a few years back where everyone was asked to contribute to one cause dear to the bride and groom. It became clear the couple had cast their net pretty wide in the hopes of a lot of acquaintances not showing but sending a check with their regrets. I later dropped the bride – the only person I knew – from my fb friends list because they became one of those VERY annoying couples who had to gush to each other in public every day.

    • Glenn Logan

      Congratulations on your pending nuptials. Also, great answer.

    • Congratulations on your pending nuptials Chris!

  8. 1- As with most issues that don’t feel right, I swap the players around before choosing my action. What is some mutual friend was asking the bride and groom to donate their wedding present money to something they didn’t like: the Illuminati, the Inquisition, Klingon Elocution program… Do you honestly think they would? Anyone wanting you to subsidize their obsessions is taking the whole idea of GIFT out of the event. If they want to help fundraise, do it honestly without making it extortion for your happy occasions. (which may not be that happy if this is that important, or maybe they are funneling money to these causes because of the guilt for blowing the money they could have given if they didn’t get a thousand dollar cake. ie, it’s not a selfish wedding blast if they raise 5k for good charities, when the wedding cost 10k)

    Etiquette experts have long said that gift are the free will of the giver, and demands like this have NO place and carry NO obligation. I would get them a card for Lowes as every household needs something from the hardware or paint department, or give to a neutral charity in their name, one that has a good rep and no bandwagon. I’d probably pick Red Cross or a Humane League.

    3- I think it’s getting to be clear, despite the fads and fallicies that sweep through education, that the current standard of feelings does not address the need for striving for achievement that has been subtracted from school. The two approaches should not have been an all or nothing. Everyone needs to learn how to lose at some point. We now have at least a generation who are not getting the automagic success, that still requires effort and resiience. They’ve been told they will get what they need and want without real effort and sacrifice. The shooters and bomber seem to have been deeply angry that they didn’t get the riches and women they were expecting from parents/teachers/culture. They are the Chosen ones, and when one person screws up, going on a rampage to kill a bunch of other students is somehow okay to them. Girls, of every ethnic group, are always more socialized for a group, be it family or friends, and work with what they got. Getting mad accomplishes nothing.

  9. Chris Marschner

    Point one: No one should not feel obligated to contribute or buy anthing specific. Just give them a toaster.

    Point two: Fines are voluntary. One can avoid fines by following the law. Therefore equal fines are not discriminatory. They are rough equivalents to tobacco, liquor and lotteries one can opt out.

    Point three: Recording affirmative action goals employers can show progress in hiring women and minorities giving them a double count whereas hiring black men only count for progress toward one goal.

    Point four: Don’t let facts undermine your gun control argument.

    Point five: These comments will be an effective bar to higher office but will go largely ignored by his local constituency. They will use it as an excuse for their problems. It just feeds confirmation biases in that community.

    Point six: Ya can’t fix stupid.

    • Point 2.

      Yes, fines can be avoided by following the law.

      But the question regards fines that roughly equate to a mosquito bite for the wealthy are not fines…but after-the-fact licenses for misbehavior.

      I mean, I still lean about 80% everyone pays the same. But that 20% of my evaluation of this does lean towards “if the fine doesn’t hurt, it’s not doing it’s job”.

  10. 2. As somewhat of a spinoff on the idea of progressive fines. One way of controlling bad behavior is via “sin taxes.” Taxes on booze and butts as the saying goes. But the impact is far greater for the poor to the middle class than those whose incomes touch into six figures. You could carry that further into tax policy on registration fees, sales taxes and so on. Seems that doctrine of “fairness” as applied to progressive taxation should be filtered down to those who can least afford it. I had a recent conversation with a state senator (Massachusetts) and asked him why Democrats consider themselves for “The little guy,” yet they continue to support an escalation of taxes that hurt them? I got a blank stare.

    • Isaac

      Agreed, “sin taxes,” like lotteries, are essentially a tax on the poor, but you don’t have to present them as such and therefore can keep your progressive bonafides while raking in cash from poor people.

  11. Black men raised in the top 1 percent — by millionaires — were as likely to be incarcerated as white men raised in households earning about $36,000.

    And whose fault is that?

    Why do students think that banning guns will keep them “safe” when those operating the schools place them at risk through incompetence and negligence?

    Because they are invincibly ignorant.

    • Glenn Logan

      Because they are invincibly ignorant.

      Worse, they aren’t invincibly anything. Nowadays, young people seem to demand an impregnable cocoon of safety less their so-much-more-valuable-than-ours lives be taken by a madman, or by the trauma inflicted from an “offensive” comment or idea.

      Just because I’ve lived a while doesn’t make my life and personal safety less important than theirs. Also, it seems funny to me that we’re willing to listen to children about firearms, but not against veterans and the military, who actually tend to know something about the subject.

  12. 1) Count me in the “you are not required to give gifts at a wedding” camp. Certainly, you should not be told what type of gift you can give even if you’re giving one. It’s a gift, something I am giving to someone based on how I feel. If someone does a registry for things they might want/need, then I will likely get something off it (figuring it can be useful to them), but otherwise it should be what I want to give. The fallback is to give cash to them (and if they decide to donate to charity, then that’s their decision).

    When I got married, we were in our 30s and were not in need of things. We made a registry for things we could use that we didn’t have, but stated gifts were not required or expected. In fact, we had a few friends who we knew were short on money and specifically asked them to come but not bring anything. We were afraid they would decline because they could not bring a gift (or it would be hard on them). For us, it was sharing the day with people we care about, not a gift getting bonanza.

    3) I’m really waiting to see the two sides give their reasonings on this. I expect it to be a battle of “Black men squander their youth dropping out of school, joining gangs, doing drugs instead of trying to be productive people in society” vs “This happens because they are discriminated against because they’re black by employers”.

    • 3) I think I’ve laid the groundwork above for a 3rd way – that young black boys are reacting quite precisely as they have been trained to react. This is simultaneously a burden that has been dropped in their lap quite unfairly by a wide range of inputs (and if “systemic racism” is part of it, it’s probably .5% of the negative inputs) WHILE being ultimately still their responsibility to claw their way out. The greater community has a duty to stop feeding young black boys with such corrosive inputs – but that great community also includes the same young black boys *parents* MORE than any other input.

      • That’s probably true to a big extent. Not sure if it’s a “society” thing, or they’re just imitating what others around them are like. There are lots of examples of how to do bad behavior, but then a lot of it is also pointed out as being bad. Thus it’s still the choice on what to do.

  13. JimHodgson

    In regard to #3, I agree with the observations of Michael West and mariedowd, and would add a couple of my own. In over 40 years of law enforcement, I dealt with a lot of juvenile crimes and juvenile offenders, and I learned pretty quickly that there are bad -and good- parents to be found among all races and at every socio-economic level. I also observed that the tendency of many (most?) children to try to have a “secret life,” that their parents were unaware of, began to occur at an earlier and earlier age. The peer pressure of high school began to seep down into the middle school years more than twenty years ago when I was still an investigator. The advent of new communications technology and social media have accelerated this process as it has become available to children at younger and younger ages. These days, all it takes to be a “bad parent” (judged in hindsight) is to be inattentive to the activities and associations of one’s children, actual or virtual. In many cases I worked, we found that children were basically “raising each other;” that the influence of the parents was miniscule compared to the influence of the peer group. Most of the parents of these kids were shocked to finally learn what their kids had actually been up to when they were supposedly engaged in activities approved by the parents. The “popular culture” being what it is today, it is not hard to see how the role models it advances can lead kids down unfortunate paths.

    • I agree that communications makes it easier for them to communicate to others, particularly mass others, then in the past. I think it’s always been a lot of peer pressure though, and trying to fit in, learn from friends, etc. Plus when I was a kid a lot of parents would have been shocked at some of the things I saw other kids doing, even back then. It probably has accelerated it though, as you say.

  14. In response to No. 1:

    At first blush, the donation suggestion would require some more facts. For instance, is the marrying couple already financially stable? Is this the first marriage for either one or both? How close am I to the couple (friends, family or acquaintances)? Is the charity something I can agree with or not?

    Those factors would have an impact on the ethics of the suggested donation. I think Chris, valkygrrl, mariedowd,and Chris Marschner have added significantly to that discussion.

    Wedding, graduation, and birthday gifts are always a bit confounding for me. I never know what is too much or too little, or appropriate or inappropriate. Rules of etiquette should guide me. Having a gift registry is always helpful, especially for weddings and births.

    Here is an example: Assume your oldest nephew is graduating from college. You are informed by your brother/sister/sibling (by telephone on February 1) that the date is June 1. Expected gift is cash, between $300 – $1000. What is an appropriate response? Consider that a graduation invitation/announcement is never sent, either by email, regular mail, or otherwise, and that you and your family will have to travel by airplane to get there. You should also consider that the exact time and place of the graduation are not provided (only generically at UCSB on June 1, where there are many different commencements). Before and after plans are not provided, though you have requested them numerous times only to be dismissed as obsessing over details..

    How does one respond? Simply go with the flow because that is how it is? Request more details to make flight and hotel arrangements? What about the gift suggestion? What, then, do you do when a court sets an emergency hearing on the morning you are to leave (where there really is no emergency and no party requested emergency relief but, sua sponte the judge decided to do so anyway), and instead of leaving for the airport at 10:00 am to make a 1:30 flight, you are delayed in court (even though you have advised your opposing counsel, the court staff of your travel plans by telephone and email confirmation with travel details) until 12:45, leaving you no way to get to the airport on time to make the flight and there are no other flights available? How much effort are you supposed to put into getting to the graduation when it is clear your presence is merely a vessel to deliver a cash prize between $300 – $1000?

    No. 2: Graduated Punishment/Progressive FInes in Criminal Matters.

    It seems to me that the point of fines for criminal behavior are two-fold:

    a. Punishment for the wrongful conduct, and
    b. Deterrent to others contemplating such conduct.

    If equality under the law is a fundamental principle of the US legal system (meaning that all treated equally by the judicial system), then such progressive fines violate the Due Process Clause because one person is fined more for wrongful conduct than someone of lesser means. For instance, if a moving violation imposes a fixed fine up a certain number of miles over the posted limit, and then additional fines for each mile over that, then all are on equal footing for the same violation. However, if there is a discount for one person’s inability to pay, and an additional fine based on the other’s affluent ability to pay, then wealthier people will be fined more than poorer people.

    Presently, in Harris County, Texas, the Criminal Court Bail Setting Magistrates are under intense scrutiny from the ACLU because of the amount of bonds set in criminal cases. The ACLU argues that setting high cash appearance bonds for indigent or poorer accuseds is unconstitutional because poorer accuseds sit in jail longer than wealthier accuseds. The Fifth Circuit has agreed with the ACLU and has ordered the bail magistrates to implement the kind of program suggested in point No. 2. However, the magistrates are unclear how to proceed because many of the indigent accuseds are repeat offenders (and many of them have mental issues), and the risk of nonappearance at trial is much higher. I am waiting for a wealthier accused to sue the county, alleging that he/she has been denied due process because he/she has to post a larger bond for the same accusation than an indigent accused.

    No. 5: I would love to read an ethics discussion of the Democrat Party’s conundrum with the likes of Farrakhan, Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, as it relates to anti-Semitism. I would be most interested in reading why some of the awful things they say get a pass while idiots like Roy Moore and his brethren and sistren get eviscerated for the stupid things they say.

    jvb

    • Chris

      Here is an example: Assume your oldest nephew is graduating from college. You are informed by your brother/sister/sibling (by telephone on February 1) that the date is June 1. Expected gift is cash, between $300 – $1000. What is an appropriate response?

      My response would be something along the lines of “LOL fuuuuuuck you,” and I don’t even think that would be an inappropriate response to a relative that asked me to contribute $300-1000 to their kid.

      Have you had relatives ask you for this? Do you need help? I can cuss them out for you if you don’t want to.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      My response would be something along the lines of “ahahaha…no.” $300 is way out of line for a nephew’s graduation, and I will not spend five times that to get to one. I don’t think anyone in my family, at least on my dad’s side, would be so thoughtless as to provide no additional plan information, leave alone brush one of us off as “obsessing over details.” Such a person would be the topic of many a Thanksgiving discussion for many years to come.

  15. 1) I mean… Look… If I took the request at face value… Then how lazy and entitled does someone have to be to not want to take their, mostly cash, wedding gifts and compile them into a gift to Planned Parenthood? I mean, sure, it can be annoying to add all those cheques together and deposit them before writing a cheque of one’s own and mailing it off, but really? Of all the annoying things surrounding weddings that I’m sure you’ll get over, banging out an adder tape over all the gifts people sent you seems to be the least of them.

    But I’m cynical. My take is that this isn’t about wanting to avoid the odious work of counting coin… This isn’t even about getting money to charity… This is about being SEEN giving money to charity. I mean, depending on how generous your friends and family is, it could be EXPENSIVE virtue signalling, so I’m not going to call it ineffective virtue signalling… But that’s what it is.

    5) I’ve been talking about this for years, and I’ve started to see progressives admit that the problem is a problem…. Maybe only because of the publicity of Farrakhan, but I’ll take it as a great first step. I think that this is going to be a hard reconciliation for them in general though, because there are racial divides that they have fostered… Hell… encouraged… And if the problem on black anti-Semites becomes too large, the Democratic stack is going to go to war with itself, and I don’t know who wins… Jews as a demographic are doing financially better than Black people, and are White to boot (generally), but Jews are still the single largest recipient of hate speech in America, and how do you say you’re against Nazis while supporting anti-Semitism?

  16. #1. I’d give them a very simple wedding card and inside I’d point out the fact that since they’ve chosen to turn their wedding celebration into a captive political event and asked for only gifts that support their ideological world views, you won’t be attending their political event or donating to their political causes.

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