Old memories.

They visit our consciousness un-invited and unexpected. They come at any time during our consciousness; sometimes even slipping silently into our sleep dreams.

Some of the memories are good—a brother’s embrace after taking on a bully in the school yard; a sister’s laugher at a brother’s constant hair grooming; a mother’s affectionate forehead kiss calming an unnecessary fear in a daughter; or a father’s rubbing a son’s forehead to let him know everything is going to be alright.

Some of the memories are bad—regret at having done something mean or stupid; sorrow at having made the wrong personal or professional choice; and shame at the failure to act when the rightness of the situation demanded action.

We’ve all had our heroism and experienced cowardice; we all have questioned our life actions, “why did I do that” or “how could I have done such a thing;” and we all have served humanity in one way or another just as we all have abused humanity in one way or another.

Memories are a reflection of the complications of life—a convoluted process we did not ask for, more often or not, the unintended consequence of an unbridled rut; a good fuck that produced a fucked up life.

From its very inception, life in any form is never intended to be easy; the most basic instinct of all life, survival, destines every life to be a struggle, from first breath to last. We fight through the worst possible diseases and the pain they produce just for one more breath of life—and perhaps it is the memories of what was that makes us struggle for just one breath of life.

The memories we share alone are mostly raw and unfiltered; the memories we share with others are filtered through the lens of self-interest. The latter memories range from minor embellishments to grandiose fabrications. Too often, and most certainly unnecessarily, it doesn’t matter one rust-colored penny what others think of us.

The question in the most philosophical sense is this: are our memories like radio signals that travel through space forever? Perhaps. Children sometimes have memories (or accurate dreams) about ancient times. How? Why? Will a stranger one day relive our memories?

We don’t know. What we do know is that memories can bring us joy and happiness or they can bring us fear like the ghost seen in the shadow of light in the dark.

We simply must understand that old memories are like old friends – they are never in recollection what they were like in real time. We shake the hand of an old friend in parting while wondering, “how in the fuck did I ever like this person.”

My advice is this: let old memories pass unfettered in your consciousness and give them nothing more than a “how ya’ doin?’ in passing. The present moment is too valuable to waste in trying to rearrange old memories.

I remember when I was a kid we use to …



An unbridled emotion found in both humans and animals.

Humans use anger as a tool to express or carry out the very worst in their either developed or chaotic character. Presidents and peasants use anger to hurt other people, most often emotionally but sometimes physically.

At a recent Market Day event in the Texas Hill Country in a town of less than 900 known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World” a local Democratic club had their booth set up on the courthouse square. Nearby were a Republican booth and another booth selling Trump paraphernalia. A host of other booths selling crafts and food were also set up in the town square.

One man walked up to the Democratic booth and spat, “I would never vote for a goddamn Democrat” while another man said “Black Lives Matter … that’s a bunch of shit!” A woman said she didn’t care if immigrant children were being yanked off life-supporting medical care before being deported. She didn’t want her “tax dollars” spent on that.

This is the sort of anger eating away at the bowels of the American political system. Amongst themselves, these three individuals believe this sort of political and racist fueled anger is what makes them “fine people” who own the “land of the free” and “home of the brave.”

As these “fine people” were spewing out their unsolicited anger toward people simply occupying a booth, an angry man was driving around the Odessa-Midland area firing an AR-style automatic weapon at anyone and everyone near him—an angry rampage that left seven innocent people dead and another 22 injured.

According to media reports, the Odessa-Midland shooter was angry at everyone and everything around him, including his own miserable, useless life. He spent his last hour on this earth doing everything he could to destroy as many innocent lives as possible.

Anger is a contagious disorder. It moves from one individual to another, steadily consuming the society that ties humans into a collective body.

142 innocent people have died so far this year in mass shootings. More angry individuals are stockpiling their weapons, either as a perceived need to protect themselves from imagined enemies or to take their anger out on others.

America is consumed with anger at the moment. The Netflix documentary “American Factory” captured that anger in the workplace—the same anger that exists in the marketplace, our schools, our political systems, and even in our churches.

Big Pharma doesn’t have a pill for anger. The only cure for anger is rational thought—and it is losing its centuries old battle with anger. Rational thought is fast-approaching a place on the “endangered species” list. Anger will then reign supreme.

American will turn to Mussolini over Barak Obama.


The death penalty.

This past June the state of Georgia executed Marion “Murdock” Wilson, Jr. He became the 1500th person put to death in the United States since Gary Gilmore’s January 17, 1977 execution—an execution he requested—that effectively reinstated the death penalty following a ten-year moratorium on executions throughout the nation.

America has always had a special, although somewhat peculiar, affection for the death penalty.

Between the nation’s Declaration of Independence in 1776 and over the next 23 years through 1799, some 618 persons were executed in this country. The death penalty affection intensified in the 1800s as the nation executed 5,381 persons, a significant proportional increase from the previous two-plus decades. By the 1900s America was in a full-blown love affair with the death penalty, marching 7,980 persons into death houses between 1900 and 1967.

The last person put to death in this country before the so-called “Furman Moratorium” was Louis Jose Monge who was put to death in Colorado’s gas chamber on June 2, 1967.

The decade between Monge’s execution and Gilmore’s execution was the only decade in American history when the nation did not execute someone.

Altogether, since 1776 to the present day, America has executed roughly 15,439 people.

Those executions include 365 women, 575 teenagers (13-19), and three 12-year-olds. The youngest person executed in modern times was George Junius Stinney, Jr., a 14-year-old African-American youth who was convicted and executed in South Carolina’s electric chair by white men—the police who arrested him, the prosecutor who prosecuted him, the jury that rendered the verdict against him, the judge who preside over his trial, and all the men who participated in strapping him into the electric chair.

With the exception of the 1500 persons executed since 1977, the overwhelming majority of all death penalty convictions since the nation’s founding were rendered by all-white, male juries.

Although the Supreme Court extended the right to serve on juries to African Americans in 1880, the right was a hollow as white prosecutors in all states created statutory and procedural mechanisms to keep African-Americans off juries in criminal cases.

And while the first female jury was seated in Los Angeles in 1911, women did not gain the legal right to jury duty until 1975 through a Supreme Court decision.

Thus, in a nutshell, the American love affair with the death penalty is rooted in the white man’s desire, and need, to kill. White men killed Native Americans in order to steal their Eastern land; enslaved and killed Africans to work their Southern land; killed Chinese to make them build railroads to travel across their Western land; and robbed and killed Mexicans to gain more Southwestern land for America.

White men have pretty much killed anyone or anything that stood in their way of obtaining whatever they wanted, regardless of the human suffering and costs it inflicted upon non-whites.

That’s why white men have always held that peculiar affection for the death penalty.

Before the death penalty was reinstated in 1977, some 57 percent of all the people executed in this country were non-whites—African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Native-Americans—who have always represented a narrow minority of the American population.

White men in America—those in the halls of legislatures and those sitting on court benches—have historically justified their love for state-sponsored killing on three fundamental premises: One, the death penalty deterred killings and other violent crimes; two, the killing of an offender exacted a just punishment for their offense; and, third, the Old Testament, God’s law book, repeatedly blessed the death penalty “in the name of God.”

Whether any of these premises are effective is the subject of continuing debate—one that has roiled the soul of the nation since roughly 1907 when the first states began to outlaw the death penalty.

Ruben Gutierrez is scheduled to die on July 31, 2019 in the Texas death chamber at Huntsville. He will be the 11th person executed in 2019.

Besides Gutierrez, there are at this time 23 more persons scheduled to be executed in 2019 in this country.

The heartbeat of injustice goes on.


The death penalty, God, and Jesus.

Therein lay the moral dilemma associated with the death penalty.

States with the death penalty believe in the ancient religious adage “an eye for an eye, a life for a life.”

God is the creator of that vengeance.

Jesus, on the other hand, instructs us to “turn the other cheek;” to have compassion for humanity, no matter how horrific the individual sin.

This past week the State of Texas executed 48-year-old Larry Swearingen for the 1998 murder of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter, most probably in a forest located 70 miles north of Houston.

In a statement released through the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Melissa’s family, who attended and witnessed Swearingen’s execution, stated: “Today, justice was served. The process has been overwhelming. We want to praise God for getting us through this horrific ordeal. We feel we can now move forward and start the healing process.”

God would agree, welcoming the praise given to him by the Trotter family. The Almighty’s demand for a “life for a life” vengeance had been fulfilled with Swearingen’s execution.

But Jesus, sitting at God’s right hand, was saddened by the brutal ritual of another state-sanctioned killing. He wept at its callousness, its inhumanity.

“Father,” Jesus said turning his worn, weary eyes up at his Creator, “why did you send me to live among your children, to teach them about the power of love, forgiveness, and compassion you cannot even give them?”

“Son,” God replied, sternly looking down at his own blood creation, “I commanded to all my creations through my divined prophet Moses that ‘thou shall not kill.’ Vengeance must be had for anyone of my creation who violates that sacred commandment.”

“By killing the killer, Father?” Jesus asks.

“A life for a life is the only just vengeance,” God replied, almost patronizingly.

“I love you, Father – I truly do,” Jesus said, a tear of sorrow coursing its way down a hallow cheek. “But I cannot obey your command for vengeance. I promised your children, and I was crucified on a cross for delivering that promise, that our flock should love each other; that we should respect all life, regardless of its sin. You created Larry Swearingen, Father – you are responsible for him being on the face of the very Earth you created.”

“You are right, my Son,” God replied. “But with his creation I bestowed upon him a free will to decide right from wrong. He chose wrong when he took another’s life. My vengeance demanded his life being taken in response for that wrong.”

“But where is his place in our Kingdom, Father?” Jesus asked. “You sent me to Earth to deliver your promise: if any soul repents the moment before death for their sin, they will be forgiven and rewarded with a place in our Kingdom? Do wrong, repent, and glory be to God! Is that what we are all about, Father?”

“Listen to me, Son,” God commanded. “I created Lucifer, the most angelic of all my angels. I made him good but gave him the free will to choose between right and wrong. He chose wrong, and I threw him out of our Kingdom and cast him into eternal hell.”

Jesus paused, staring unwavering into the angry eyes of God before answering.

“There is no forgiveness, Father. All wrongdoers, no matter how minor the wrong, must suffer the fate of Lucifer. You have made a Creation for which there is no forgiveness, no salvation from sin. Now I understand why you, and I, and the few angels you have chosen, are the only ones in our Kingdom.”

“Do not question my power ….”

“I am a lie, Father,” Jesus said, interrupting his Father. “I promised every human being a place in our Kingdom. I told them that you so loved the world, you gave your only begotten son for those who believe in you that they would not perish but would have everlasting life. That is a lie, Father – your commands for vengeance foreclose all hope for everlasting life—and that is why we are here, alone together in a Kingdom of false promise.”

Silence separated Father from Son.

“Don’t you understand, Father – that to forgive humankind, you must first forgive yourself for creating a life for them poisoned by the temptation of Evil. Father, why would you even do such a thing?”



An act of grace and tolerance seldom seen in an American courtroom.

American courtrooms are generally viewed as places of accountability but more often than not are places of vengeance, misconduct, and sometimes even bald-faced injustice.

But this week a courtroom in Dallas, Texas witnessed the brother of a murder victim give the former police officer charged with the murder a hug of forgiveness.

That hug is probably why the jury sentenced Amber Guyger to ten years rather than the harsher minimum of 28 years demanded by the prosecution.

It is easier to forget than forgive. People find all sorts of ways to bury in the recesses of their mind the very worst things done to them by other people.

But wounded people find it difficult, if not impossible, to forgive, to contain the bile of hatred that demands revenge.

When Brandt Jean asked Judge Tammy Kemp from the witness stand if he could give Amber Guyger a hug, he did so against the primal instinct to demand revenge instead.

It was an act of remarkable courage by Brandt Jean—a gesture badly needed at a time when Americans are polarized with racial division and even racial hatred among the ranks of too many people who have bought into the “white nationalism” social philosophy.

Some people are upset about the lenient 10-year sentence Guyger received.

Judges and jurors across the country are asked each day to consider the feelings of the victims of crime, especially violent crime.

That’s precisely what the Dallas jury did in the Amber Guyger case—and it did so without revenge in mind.

Revenge for the sake of revenge never produces justice.

The killing of Botham Jean in his own apartment last year was a tragedy. His death demanded accountability. Amber Guyger’s jury provided some accountability with its murder conviction and sentence.

Was it enough accountability?

Each person will have to decide that based on their own life experiences.

I will not second-guess the jury’s sentencing decision.

Ten years may seem a lenient sentence (and it is), but it is a long time for an ex-police officer, especially a female, to spend in an intolerant and unforgiving prison society. The very insidious nature of the prison experience will cause Guyger to endure more consequences than the average inmate.

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