Archives 2020

HONEST REPORTING VITAL IN RACIALLY CHARGED CASES

In the November 6th issue of Florida Today, the Associated Press issued an article about the renaming of a road in Miami to honor 17-year old Trayvon Martin, who had been shot and killed in Sanford, Florida in 2012. The article would have us believe that Martin deserved the honor because he was an innocent kid wrongfully murdered by George Zimmerman, a local resident serving as a neighborhood watchman. Readers would naturally assume Trayvon Martin was victimized by a racist-born madman. Martin was considered by some as a hero, especially because he was unarmed. It was also emphasized that he was black and Zimmerman was not. Sadly, the often media fails to tell the whole story.

     Trayvon Martin was no hero. He was in Sanford visiting his father, because he had been suspended from school for ten days for possessing illegal drugs. Zimmerman spotted the lanky teen after sundown, walking through the neighborhood wearing a hoodie. Some might conclude that Zimmerman was wrong to follow the teen. True or not, that doesn’t justify Trayvon Martin’s actions from there.

     Based on a myriad of evidence and eye witnesses, it was determined that Trayvon Martin angrily turned and confronted Zimmerman, a pudgy 29 year-old. Martin suddenly punched Zimmerman in the face, knocking him to the sidewalk, then sat on Zimmerman’s body flailing more punches, battering his head on the concrete. Bloody trauma to Zimmerman’s head and face supports that accusation. Then, and only then, fearing for his life, Zimmerman removed the pistol from his clothing and fired one shot.

     Had Zimmerman failed to act, he would likely have been the corpse and not Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman knew that.

     As a retired 30-year cop who handled hundreds of assault cases, including the jailing of some police officers, I fail to grasp how and why Trayvon Martin should be honored when, in fact, he was committing a deadly assault on the watchman.

     These kinds of cases and the manner in which the media sometimes portrays an event, is what stirs hatred, particularly when it’s unwarranted.

     Per Associated Press: “The teen was unarmed and walking back from a convenience store when he was shot by George Zimmerman.”  

     There was far more to that story.

     This is also reminiscent of the killing of 18 year-old Michael Brown by Police Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. The officer was ruthlessly vilified by the press and other citizen groups. One cable newscaster I watched went into an outrage stating, “A police officer shot and killed an unarmed boy.”

     That “unarmed boy” had just robbed a convenience store. Minutes later he was confronted by Officer Wilson on patrol, telling him to get back on the sidewalk and off the street. Weighing over 300 pounds, Brown suddenly punched Officer Wilson through then driver’s window, then reached in and grabbed the cop’s pistol, unsuccessfully.  Dazed and bloodied, Officer Wilson stepped from his car and warned the large teen to halt, that he was under arrest. Brown turned around and began charging Wilson in a menacing manner. Wilson fired shots. Brown went down, dead.

     These are facts as determined by a Grand Jury and a number of on-scene witnesses. Hate had nothing to do with it.

     This case spawned the group known today as “Black Lives Matter,” forging the perception by millions that it was a “racist” assault upon an innocent black teen. That simply was not true. Zimmerman came from a racially mixed family.

     Then began the ill-conceived chants among haters, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” as though the officer killed Michael Brown for folly. Officer Darren Wilson actually did nothing wrong. But he and his wife still live in seclusion for fear of retribution by hate mongers. His police career is finished.

     We also remember the New York City haters, marching the streets and chanting: “What do we want? Dead Cops?” over and over…while those targeted cops had to stand by, face to face, sucking it up, knowing how the press and local politicians stood by in accord. 

     The media has an obligation to be fair, neutral and non-presumptuous. Stirring emotions with errant reporting or purposeful omissions, means the reporters are guilty of manipulating facts in order to produce a volatile story.

    These are two incidents in which the media and people-mobs acted upon ill-conceived falsehoods, wrongfully castigating the innocent. Sometimes the bad guys are actually good, and the good guys are actually bad. It’s much about preconceived conclusions.

 

 

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “LET HIM GO” – 9.5

A Frank movie review:

“LET HIM GO”  –   9.5

In a word:  Drama

 

Two of Hollywood’s finest star actors over the decades give their all in this powerful drama about a rural family living in the Dakotas, (c. 1961) who lost their adult son to illness. Kevin Costner and Diane Lane could each end up with an Oscar nomination, as these two professionals offer an acting lesson to all the movie wannabes, on how to make the screen come alive with the power of love, fear, loss and determination.

     The story, which personifies “drama,” begins like a slow burn, as the middle-aged couple watch on the sidelines to learn their widowed daughter-in-law remarried to a local, thus giving a new home for her and her three-year-old boy. The story becomes more intense when Lane’s character, as grandmother, becomes incensed learning that the grandchild and his mother have been subjected to mistreatment. Thus begins the emotional journey as the grandparents embark on a dangerous mission to intervene, a more difficult task than they bargained for.

     The movie has a sluggish beginning which gradually crescendos as the story intensifies keeping viewers at the “edge of your seat.” The finale is deeply vicious, unanticipated by Costner and Lane’s characters. Acting credits are not only due the star players, but the supporting cast as well, particularly Leslie Manville, who plays a powerful role as the other psychotic grandmother who dominates the backward family of rugged men. Though not as well-known as Costner and Lane, her professional credits and numbers of award nominations reveal how remarkable this woman’s career has been. I look for a possible Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

     This movie does contain some violence, but no graphic sexuality nor the usual offering of vulgar language. Near the end, I turned to my wife and said, “Do you believe this? There’s no “F” word in the entire movie.” It is a learning film worth accessing by  aspiring actors.

     Refreshing, indeed, was coming to a film that was good because it did not rely on special effects, sex, nudity, vile language and non-stop violence and weaponry.

     I give this a 9.5 out of 10.    

Let Him Go (2020) – IMDb

 

FRIENDS FOREVER – DR. JAY PIANO, ME VIOLIN

(A two-minute video. c. 2014)
     The back story: About 14 years ago, a little lady came over to me after a library talk about writing books, and introduced me to her husband, Dr. Jay Barnhart, saying, “My husband here plays piano, maybe you two should meet up and play together sometime.”
     Now retired and in his 80’s, Dr. Barnhart had a long medical career, in Pennsylvania and then in Miami, where he worked for the renowned Dr. Joe Davis, as an assistant medical examiner. He was the autopsy guy. 
     Jay and I kinda eyeballed each other, reluctant, then saying, “Well, what the heck. We’ll try it.” He had his quirks, I had mine, he was finicky about playing, and like him, I always want to play pieces – my own way. (ahem)
     Long story short, that began one of the most wonderful and rewarding relationships ever. We played everywhere, not always at Carnegie Hall levels, but always having fun. When music got too difficult, we’d just laugh and fake it.  Our greatest gift was that we could play most anything…by ear.  (Yes, I used my fingers too). Jay was a musical phenom. Sometimes we dared the audience to name any tune that he didn’t know. Rarely could he be stumped.
     The one thing we had in common, was — in childhood — the good fortune to have a mother who made us learn and practice, practice, practice. One time, I asked my mother, “Why, Mom? I wanna go out and play.” Her answer: “Practice first. Someday you will thank me.”
     Thank you, Mom.
     Jay and Ruth, his devoted wife, have now moved to another state, to be with family in the twilight years.  I do miss him, and our music together. I couldn’t love a brother any more. The memories will always prevail.
     Thank you Ruth. And…thank you Jay.
     Sharing this story, a heartfelt musical message, with good friends and loved ones. Enjoy.

 

 

THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: FOR AND AGAINST

This is about employing common sense.  

In the presidential race, many feel we do not have great options. But we must still vote, and … like in many other elections…we often end up voting against someone rather than for someone. In other words, many voters are guided by deciding who we think would be least harmful to our nation.

When viewing the election in such terms, it clearly tells me how important it is to re-elect Donald Trump, and why.  I am not his biggest fan. I’m one of those who cringe when he blurts out some of his ego-maniacal comments and other assorted barbs that make me shake my head. But all things considered, America will still be far better off by keeping the country in a democracy mode with a capitalistic government. Preserving those basic tenets are far more important than being guided by personalities.

The hard left in America is rising to the occasion.  Our nation is inching its way to the slippery slope where Socialism is not just an idea, it’s a reality which will come to bear, affecting our kids and their kids for generations to come. Consider also, there is another step to consider in that process.  Hard-core socialists have a mission to see America fall down that slope into a full-blown communist state. This is not a theory. It’s close to a reality if radical  Democrats like Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pelosi, Schumer, AOC and George Soros have their way.

We all remember Castro, and the Cuban revolution. Many of us were still living in S. Florida then. Fidel fought in the jungles as a die-hard socialist, so he claimed. But it was a deception. It wasn’t until Fidel completely controlled the new government and admitted (surprise) his goals were rooted in communism. 

I spoke to many struggling Cubans back then (being a young Dade police officer). Cuba lost multi-thousands of innocent citizens to “MIA” (missing in action)  status, while thousands more escaped the island bringing with them the clothes on their backs, and nothing else. Sixty years hence, people are still driving pre-1960 jalopies and people own nothing, unless provided by the state.  I remember one Cuban guy selling bananas on a street corner, I asked about his journey from Cuba to the USA.  He said he had been a bank vice president, and his family was living with two other families in one apartment. I remember him passionately telling me, “No welfare. We no take welfare”

Black Lives Matter is a nice cliche’ .. we all want to see equality among all citizens. However, if you look past the smokescreen, Black Lives Matter is co-founded by proud Marxists named, Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza. Check it out. They are an established, unapologetic communist organization, portraying themselves as guardians of black people. And, by the way, very involved in much of the violence and looting in the last seven months.

 PolitiFact | Is Black Lives Matter a Marxist movement?

Communism is a reality, not a theory. It is a hard-cold fact. They’ve been warning us since the 1950s they intend to divide and conquer the west. And, they are inching closer.  Communism is powerful. It is well-funded. It is aiming toward the grand prize. You and me. 

Riots and desperation are everywhere throughout our country like never before.  It is no accident. The movement is organized and paid for via haters of America, behind the scenes.

So let’s vote smart.

If communism comes to the U.S., there will be no turning back. So when we vote, we must not only be passionate, we must be intelligent and well informed or else our grandkids may one day be slaves to the government. When we vote, we must remember that it’s not just about a presidency, or a party. It’s about the movement, and the vast array of management systems, domestic and foreign, that comes with the president we elect.

Reminds me of that little girl in the Sci-Fi movie saying “They’rree  Heerrreee!.

In an article, columnist L. Todd Wood, Washington Times, 2018, wrote:

“Yes, this is the goal; it is slowly being propagandized by the corrupt Marxist media. The communists lost the Cold War in an economic and military collapse. Since then, they have sought to re-establish their power by embedding themselves and their ideology in our universities, to corrupt the younger generations, and the media, to control the thought processes of the low information voter.”

GUN CONTROL NOT THE ANSWER TO GUN PROBLEMS.

I’m a gun owner, and a 30-year career police officer, though I haven’t fired a weapon in over 30 years. It’s just not my shtick. But I sure feel safer knowing a weapon is within reach if an unforeseen and dangerous incident occurs within my purview.

     In every national election, the anti-gun brigade emerges with demands that gun-laws be more restricted, citing violent crime as the number one objective. The problem with that argument is that legally purchased guns, with background checks, have very little impact on the crime rate. Most guns used in violent crimes and/or gang activity are acquired by private sales, thievery or the black market. Thus, gun “control” is not the answer. Rarely do legally purchased guns surface in violent environments.

     Those who would overturn the 2nd Amendment would be making a horrible mistake, all in the so-called interest of reducing crime and violence.

     I do not mean to suggest that some revisions to gun laws might be in order. I totally understand the comparison about the 2nd Amendment being passed in 1791, when rifles were long and single-shot only. If that amendment was passed in today’s world, it would read much different.

     No private citizen needs to own a machine gun, cannon, or homemade bombs for that matter. I’ve also heard arguments from folks in other parts of the world, where violent crime is much lower, ostensibly because gun ownership is more tightly restricted. Yes, Sweden, France and Amsterdam and most countries in Europe have stricter gun laws which gives American naysayers justification for proposing tougher laws, or yet, abolishing the 2nd Amendment. Bear in mind, also, that our country is far more multi-cultural and multi-ethnic  than other nations in the world.

     The sad truth is that criminal gun activity is a product of the streets, mostly illegal. In a special report issued recently by the Department of Justice, state and federal prisoners who had used firearms in their crimes obtained them in the black market, while other guns were gifts from friends or relatives. Only 7 percent of guns used in crime were purchased guns from dealers and less than one percent were bought at gun shows. So much for background checks.

     The most serious problem producing violent crime in America, which we hear little about, is the dilemma of “Mental Illness.” Whereby seriously deranged individuals could be remanded by court order to mental institutions until the late 1970s, more than 90 percent of those institutions are now closed due to court decisions, leaving prisons as housing centers for the mentally ill. Prison studies have determined that roughly 20 percent of inmates (out of 2.3 million) are deemed seriously disturbed.

     Successfully fighting crime is more doable than people think. All we need to do is search for the best examples, where many problems were actually solved. In the largest city in America, murders in New York City rose to over 2,000 per year in the early 1990s. Along came Mayor Rudy Giuliani who initiated a myriad of programs to successfully reduce violent crime. When he first took command of the Big Apple, between 1600 and 2000 annual murders were tabulated. By the time he left office, those murders dropped to under 600 a year. In his first three years as mayor, over 56,000 guns were impounded from the streets. Other violent crimes dropped as well. Why? Mayor Giuliani initiated several programs, the most controversial being Stop and Frisk. With specific restrictions and training, police officers were given the green light to stop and question hundreds of thousands annually.

     Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who succeeded Giuliani, maintained the same process with results of lowering crime rates. Some folks thought it was an overreach, others screamed racial profiling was too common. But the facts support both the mayors, having saved many lives in New York City. What’s more important than saving lives and making citizens feel safe?

     The problem is not just guns. The past six months of unrestrained city riots, unprecedented throughout America, indicates how too many Anti-American people in our communities are under orders by a hidden enemy to destroy America. That’s another topic.

Marshall Frank

www.marshallfrank.com