Thursday, May 18, 2023

A Day in Court, Tracking Body Armor, Question for Trump, Book Bans

 I fulfilled my civic responsibility as a citizen Wednesday by presenting myself as a potential juror for the New York State Unified Court System. 

My original reporting date had been May 12, but my call for duty had been deferred three times until May 15. So by 9:15 am, when I am normally still in bed, I found myself inside the Westchester County Daronco Courthouse in downtown White Plains awaiting possible selection as a juror for one of my peers either seeking redress for a perceived financial wrong or a verdict on their guilt or innocence for an alleged infraction of the penal code.

With some 90 other civic-minded citizens I sat through orientation films about the judicial system, one featuring Janet DiFiore, former Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of the State of New York, another narrated by Byron Pitts, a former CBS News correspondent. I admit to falling asleep through parts of both films, though my transgression was not as obvious as the man several rows behind me who audibly snored his way through much of the double feature, much to the amusement of everyone within earshot.

The clerk segregated us into three groups, the first being told they were to report to the courthouse in Yonkers the next day. Two groups including mine were sent to second floor waiting rooms awaiting trials that might begin depending on attorney consultations currently underway. After waiting 30 minutes, my group’s case was settled. Thanks to Commissioner of Jurors Dr. Betty L. Campbell’s “one (case) and done” policy, we were dismissed from any further New York State jury obligations for the next six years.

I cannot say justice was served Wednesday, but my portion of the judicial system was resolved to my satisfaction. For the record, I awoke this morning at 9:45. 


Body Armor: Given that under the guise of defending the Second Amendment Republicans will do nothing to try to prevent the proliferation of military-style assault rifles like the AR-15 frequently used in mass killings, perhaps governments should try a different tack. 

How about tracking people who buy body armor, as it seems the vast majority of mass murderers dress in body armor during their killing sprees? Look no further than Monday’s murderous attack in Farmington, NM. The 18-year-old who killed three women wore body armor as he wielded an AR-15. 

While it could be argued an AR-15 might be grabbed quickly to defend one’s home if under attack, donning body armor is not top of mind during a home invasion.  Authorities would be wise to monitor those who purchase the preferred outfit of mass murderers. 

I can think of no legitimate reason why a civilian needs body armor. It is not meant to be worn for target practice, or for mock war games. It is worn only if one expects to be shot at, as when one becomes a mass shooter. 

Question for Trump: CNN’s Kaitlin Collins was rewarded for her persistence in interviewing Donald Trump last week. She will host a new weeknight show CNN is putting together for the 9 pm time slot.

Try as she might, she couldn’t get Trump to commit to accepting the results of the 2024 presidential election. He would only say he would accept the count if the election “was not rigged,” his code words for “only if I won.”

My good friend Richard Greenfield thinks the proper question to ask Trump is, “Mr.  Trump, should you win the 2024 election, will you leave office on January 20, 2029, regardless of who your successor is, as required by the Constitution’s requirement that no one can serve more than two terms as president?”

Richard believes Trump “would not answer that with an unequivocal ‘Yes,’ but would say something along the lines of, ‘We’ll see,’ or ‘If it were a fair election.’ 

“Anything other than a ‘Yes’ would be truly informative.”

Banned in Boston: From the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries, books and other media that were “banned in Boston” used to be a source of pride for the creative, cultured community. But today’s proliferation of book and other media bans has spread disturbingly wide across America. It includes materials that spotlight our nation’s history of slavery and repression of minorities, the struggles of the LGBTQ community and extreme violence including warfare. 

So what should be done with a book that includes depictions of incest, rape, genocide, fratricide, witchcraft, slavery, infidelity, torture and idolatry? 

All that and more uncivilized behavior can be found in the Bible, Old and New Testament. Should Bible stories be banned, or at least withheld, from the impressionable minds of toddlers and young elementary school children? 

Imagine if atheists gain control of a city hall or school board. Could they, would they, ban the Bible? 

The absurdity of that possibility highlights the absurdity of any media bans, though I do believe anyone who seeks “Mein Kamph,” “The Protocols of Zion” or similarly extremist, racist, repressive media should be counseled and monitored. 

Which brings me to a recent notification I received from which hosts my blog. For writing about Trump back in August 2017, Blogger sent me the following three weeks ago: “This post was put behind a warning for readers because it contains sensitive content as outlined in Blogger’s Community Guidelines.”

Damned if I know who and how I offended. I asked Blogger for clarification but have not heard back.