What Clarence Darrow’s Dayton Statue Stands For

Apparently about a third of the population of Tennessee still doesn’t buy Darwin’s Theory of Evolution (according to a 2015 Pew Research Center study) so it should not be too much of a surprise that in Dayton, Tennessee,  site of the famous 1925 Scopes Trial, a newly erected statue of Clarence Darrow in front of the historic red brick courthouse where the trial took place was met with some protests. At a County Commission meeting in the town,  resident Ruth Ann Wilson suggested that bronze Darrow might unleash a plague or a curse. “I rise in opposition to this atheist statue, all right?” she said. “This is very serious, folks.”

No, that isn’t serious, but the persistence of ignorance both generally and about the issues battled over in 1925 are.  Another resident, Brad Putt, is quoted by the New York Times as saying,  “People around here know that if you have a court case, you have to have two sides,” referring to the fact that there has been a Williams Jennings Bryan statue standing in front of the courthouse  since 2005. “You can’t have Optimus Prime unless you have Megatron. You’ve got to have a yin to the yang.” Well, that’s not quite right either, depending on what Bryan and Darrow symbolize. If the idea is to have the most famous opposing counsel in U.S. legal history facing off, okay, that’s fair. If he is saying, as I think he is, that science and religion must counter and balance each other, that’s nonsense. Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Ohio Bus Driver Damone Hudson

Driving his route in Dayton, Ohio,  bus driver Damone Hudson saw a woman standing on the other side of the rail on the Main Street Bridge that spans the Great Miami River. He could have continued on. He could have ignored her. Instead, he made an unscheduled stop, and as his passengers waited and watched, spoke to the woman, then left the bus  to get closer to her.

He said, gently, in an exchange that was partially captured on video,

 “Why don’t we come back over on the side of the rail? … Hey miss, why don’t we come back on this side of the rail for me?…Ma’am, you look like you’re having a bad day, you know. Can I give you a hug?”

Someone  called 911 as Hudson kept talking  until a Dayton Police Department crisis intervention specialist arrived. The potential suicide stepped back over the railing, and was taken to safety and a medical evaluation. The driver got back in his bus and continued the route.

“He did a great job,”  Dayton police detective Patty Tackett told reporters.

Later Hudson said in an interview,
Continue reading

The Tattoo Artist’s Revenge: Funny! But Wrong.

She wanted something like this to decorate her back, but the artist had something more appropriate in mind….


It is not unethical to be entertained by the revenge schemes put into action by others, as long as we understand that revenge is unethical in a civilized society. A culture that embraces revenge as a norm will be a violent and unforgiving one. Because the perfect act of vengeance is viscerally indistinguishable from justice, it has the power to make us feel vicariously satisfied, and that should be taken as a warning. Revenge feels good, which is why revenge fantasies have been a popular genre from “The Odyssey” to “Kill Bill”…and also why revenge can easily expand from a guilty pleasure to a bad habit.

This tale of revenge from a trailer park in Dayton, Ohio, for example, makes me want to chuckle and tip my metaphorical hat to the avenger.
Rossie Brovent asked her boyfriend, tattoo artist Ryan L. Fitzjerald, to ink a large and lovely panorama from “The Chronicles of Narnia” on her back. Little did she suspect that Fitzjerald’s insistence that she sign a consent form agreeing to accept his “artistic discretion” was but the first step in a diabolical plan. Rossie also didn’t realize that her boyfriend was on to her secret infidelity: he had just learned that she had been cheating on him with one of his close friends. Continue reading