by Reid Fitzsimons

Several years back there was a mediocre/better than most crime drama called Cold Case, i.e. the crack detectives solved murders committed in the past but shelved away at the time. One episode involved the murder of a young woman/mother who had been the victim of domestic abuse. In one flashback scene the scummy abusive husband, who didn’t prove to be the killer, was sitting at the kitchen table angrily contemplating the bowl of cereal his wife placed in front of him. She was busy trying to get herself off to work and their child off to school when he erupted, “I don’t want my breakfast to come from no g*ddamn box!!” As she meekly tried to apologize and quickly fix him a more substantial meal, he reached his limit of tolerance and began smacking her around. This guy had it all: poor hygiene, no job, wearing one of those sleeveless T-shirts sometimes referred to as a “wife beater,” etc, seamlessly fitting our stereotype of domestic abuser.

As Americans rarely are we more content than when holding on to our narratives. It makes us comfortable in our confusing and meaningless world of excessive wealth and materialism, and substantiates our sense of righteousness. Our stereotypes are frequently confirmed via popular entertainment, the news media, and the like, and the circle is unbroken. Indeed law and policy are often based on popular stereotypes of the moment, and large sums of money and resources expended in our quest for feelings to trump thoughtfulness. Of course there is a downside to embracing stereotypes, as evidenced by Ku Klux Klanners and their cousins the Black Lives Matter activists. This is not to say that stereotypes are innately incorrect- many likely have some basis in reality. Recollecting the movie White Men Can’t Jump and observing that 23% of NBA players are white, the stereotype suggested by the title has a statistical rationale.

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by Reid Fitzsimons

You Might Be A Diversity Redneck If…

If intellectually you really can’t handle much beyond simple slogans such as “We’re a nation of immigrants” and “Diversity is our strength,” but they give you a comforting feeling. Besides, you’d never put yourself in a position where you’d have to further explain them

If you feel ashamed to be an American because we generally aren’t multilingual, even though you speak only English

If you know you really don’t speak Spanish but try to pronounce the few words you do know with your best Spanish accent when you are with your hip friends at the upscale Mexican restaurante

You are deeply offended that Spanish and other romance languages largely designate nouns as masculine or feminine but are ashamed of yourself for feeling critical of a language other than your own

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by Reid Fitzsimons

If you get confused over what you’re supposed to believe because the people who make the rules about diversity keep changing them

If you are offended by any non-Mexican wearing a sombrero because of cultural appropriation, though you’re not sure if other Hispanics also wear sombreros and how to differentiate them from Mexicans

If everyday you curse your fate for not having homosexual, or at least bisexual, tendencies

If you prominently display the photo of you and that black bartender at the resort in Jamaica from last year and tell people you and him became good friends

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by Reid Fitzsimons  (The following letter was set to the Editor-in-Chief of Highlights For Children but a response was never received)

Editor-in-Chief, Highlights for Children, 803 Church St., Honesdale, PA 18431, January 26, 2017

Dear Christine French Cully:

(Thank you in advance for reading through this rather long-winded but hopefully pertinent letter from a Highlights subscriber and almost neighbor- over in Thompson, PA)

I was driving through Honesdale recently half-listening to the Wayne/Pike (county) local news when I heard a mention of Children’s Highlights Magazine. Knowing the connection of the Magazine to Honesdale and having just ordered three gift subscriptions I paid attention, assuming there would be an anniversary celebration or some such announcement. Rather it proved to be a “say it isn’t so” moment in which I learned Highlights is putting the interests of adults above the welfare of children in the form of political and social activism. For the first time in my 50-plus year recollection the magazine it was entering the realm of indoctrination, specifically by attempting to normalize the progressive and trendy narrative of homosexual families.

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by Reid Fitzsimons

Back in perhaps 1966 or 1967 the eternally progressive Montgomery County (Maryland) school system introduced “New Math.” Presumably the education elite at the time determined that Old Math was passé and a more hip method of teaching was required. This was just at the time my math education was beginning in elementary school, and I recall three specific New Math tenets: properties imbued with the names associative, distributive, and communicative. I suspect beyond these words I learned math in pretty much the same manner as prior generations, and the New Math and its proponents long ago went the way of King Ozymandias. I wonder how many times since the educational theorists, or perhaps the textbook publishers, have decreed, “We’ve been doing it wrong all this time, and now we finally we have the ultimate and correct teaching methodology!”

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by Reid Fitzsimons

George Michael, a British pop star who first achieved fame in the 1980s, died on Christmas Day at the age of 53. His death was likely caused by the scourge of wealthy music celebrities- his body/heart simply gave out after decades of abuse, mostly drugs. He was still a teenager when he first encountered star status, initially as part of a duo called Wham! After five years he transformed into a popular solo performer and continued active until recently. Some of his memorable songs were Wake Me Up Before You Go Go and Faith. In my opinion his songs were generally good in an era of some of the finest post-rock music (99 luftballons, If You Leave, most songs by the Cars) and some of the absolute worst, especially the precursors to Hip-Hop.
In his younger days of fame he was vibrant and handsome and the phrase “teen idol” could well have been applied to him. Much later after his fame and fortune were well established, in 1998, he publicly declared himself a homosexual following an arrest for public lewd behavior. At the time of his death his wealth was in the $130 million range.

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by Reid Fitzsimons

In less than six months the rainbow flags will unfurl and people dressed in their statement-making finest will be marching: June and another Gay Pride month will be upon us.  Though certainly aware of events occurring under the moniker of Gay Pride, somehow until recently I was unaware that an entire month is devoted to this concept, despite former President, Bill Clinton, declaring such back in the year 2000. I’m not sure where I’ve been, though admittedly it wasn’t until 2015 that someone explained to me the intrigues of America’s premier family, the Kardashians, even though they’ve had a culturally vital TV show going back to 2007.  Furthermore, I learned there was a relationship between Bruce Jenner and the Kardashian clan.  You might recall that Bruce Jenner, now in his mid-60s, garnered fame and fortune many years ago through his athleticism, and more recently found additional fortune and fame through the less strenuous enterprise of declaring himself a female.  I’ve been thinking that photos of this recent incarnation of Bruce Jenner remind me of something and it finally struck me- the poor guy looks a little like Norman Bates when he dressed up as his long-dead mother.

In the not-to distant past Barack Obama decreed that homosexuality and the military were fully compatible. This was not the eminently sensible policy in which one was welcome to be in the military as long as they did not feel compelled to share their personal sexual inclinations and the military had no particular interest in learning them, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Barack Obama’s vision revealed itself to be a descendant of the 1960s creed of Let It All Hang Out: it became almost an expectation that one’s private sexual preferences were to be revealed, the more “in your face” the better, as long as they were homosexual or otherwise non-heterosexual. Hence we quickly were treated to homosexuals in full military uniform enthusiastically marching about in events called Gay Pride parades, with the full blessing of the progressive military hierarchy.

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by Reid Fitzsimons

On Nov. 18, 2016 a black youth, 15 year-old Javon Wilson, was shot to death in his home in Chicago. The suspects/culprits were inside the house when apparently an argument over a pair of shoes ensued, and 17 year-old Dijae T. Banks (a female) handed a pistol to 16 year-old Tariq M. Harris (a male) who then shot Wilson. News accounts summed up his short life with a depressing “he liked basketball and rap music.”

His death was not particularly out of the ordinary, sadly. In the progressive world we’ve created, life, per se, is not of inherent or specific value, lest we sound like Pro-Life nut jobs talking about the “sanctity of life.” This especially holds true with black people, where there exists no innate value, but rather the meaning and matter of life is largely determined by the manner of death, with a few exceptions such as black sports and music figures, celebrities in general, and inaptly described civil rights leaders. Had young Javon Wilson been shot by the police his life would had found great significance and been marked by ecstatic outrage, marches, riots, and perhaps other murders.   Typically, however, a black person murdered by another black person rates at best a candle light vigil, a makeshift monument of teddy bears, and a few pro-forma words from a local politician of how we have to stop the violence.

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by Reid Fitzsimons

From 1982 to 1986 I worked as a Physician Assistant (PA) at a Federal Prison (FCI Ray Brook in New York). This, of course, was in the early days of AIDS and there was heightened concern of exposure to blood. One day, along with one or two other PAs, I was in the little pharmacy and one of us knocked over a bottle of Betadyne, a common surgical antiseptic with a rusty brown color. The pharmacist, who was not with us at the time of the spill, returned and was quite vocal that we had been “throwing blood around the pharmacy.” We assured him everything was okay, it wasn’t blood but Betadyne. His response to this was emblematic of certain human reactions in the face of the unexpected: “It might as well be blood!” he declared. To be fair, the pharmacist was a decent guy who had a little problem with his temper, but in many ways his denial of facts in favor of his angst of the moment has proven to be prescient of a behavior that is now largely ruling our society.

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false attribution

by Reid Fitzsimons, more or less

If a raving lunatic, or a chronic prevaricator such as Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump for that matter, proclaims the earth is round, does it make it less likely to be true? Notwithstanding it is conceivable Clinton would declare the earth flat for the right speaking fee, we accept the roundness of the earth as a fact. The reason I mention this is because I received one of those e-mails making the rounds ostensibly titled "A German's View on Islam" attributed to Dr. Emanuel Tanay, a well-known psychiatrist who died in 2014. It appears Dr. Tanay did not write the article, but rather it was authored by a Canadian named Paul Marek in 2006 under the title of “Why the Peaceful Majority is Irrelevant.” Needless to say, it’s always a good idea to check the provenance of things found on the Internet, though I have no idea why it was falsely attributed. If only I wrote an article that circulated for 10 years!

It is certainly possible I was the absolute last person in our round earth to find this article in my inbox, but in case others missed it (though the readership of this blog is probably in the single digits), it will be published here, mainly because it is reasonably compelling. For me, its theme is consistent with what I’ve experienced in the “third world,” for example the vast majority of people I’ve known in Honduras are peaceful, but crime, often violent, is nevertheless ubiquitous and underlies daily life in Honduras. Here is the article:

A man, whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II, owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism.

'Very few people were true Nazis,' he said, 'but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come.'  My family lost everything.  I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.

'We are told again and again by 'experts' and 'talking heads' that Islam is a religion of peace and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. 'Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant.  It is meaningless fluff meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the spectre of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.

'The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march.  It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide.   'It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave.  It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honour-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers.  'The hard quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the 'silent majority,' is cowed and extraneous.

'Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.

'China 's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.

'The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.

And who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery? Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were 'peace loving?

'History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt. Yet for all our powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our Enemy if they don't speak up.  Like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them and the end of their world will have begun.

'Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.

'Now Islamic prayers have been introduced in Toronto and other public schools in Ontario, and, yes, in Ottawa, too, while the Lord's Prayer was removed (due to being so offensive? The Islamic way may be peaceful for the time being in our country until the fanatics move in.

'In Australia, and indeed in many countries around the world, many of the most commonly consumed food items have the halal emblem on them. Just look at the back of some of the most popular chocolate bars, and at other food items in your local supermarket. Food on aircraft has the halal emblem just to appease the privileged minority who are now rapidly expanding within the nation's shores.

'In the U.K, the Muslim communities refuse to integrate and there are now dozens of "no-go" zones within major cities across the country that the police force dare not intrude upon. Sharia law prevails there, because the Muslim community in those areas refuse to acknowledge British law.

'As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts - the fanatics who threaten our way of life.'

'Lastly, anyone who doubts that this issue is not serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand.

Extend yourself a bit and send this on. Let us hope that thousands world-wide read this, think about it, and send it on before it's too late, and we are silenced because we were silent!!