Monday, March 21, 2011

Casey, Ritchard, Scott Ludlam, and Disagreement

1. Read an article on the Greens site regarding a potential shield law for journalists.  Okay.  Honestly.  I don't really understand it.  It all goes over my head. One thing I do get is that they're trying to protect journalists from having to reveal their sources.  Greens Senator Scott Ludlam says, Effective shield laws for journalists and public service whistle-blowers act as an encouragement to vigilance and integrity.   If journalists cannot protect their sources, we will not have people coming forward to expose wrong-doing and abuses of power.

I understand that, and it makes sense to me.   What I don't understand is the article says the law will protect citizen-journalists, bloggers and independent media organisations as well as news professionals from the mainstream media.  

So it's the mainstream media that's a threat to whistleblowers?  How?  Is it because they have enough money and power to find out the identity of the whistleblower?  

2. Read media release from Queensland government about kindergarten buildings being fitted with solar power units.  They eventually want 400 kindergardens in Queensland to be solar-powered.    I think that's really cool.  The media release says that not only will these reduce carbon emissions, but it will reduce the school's electricity bills.  

3. Looked at the weather for Australia's capital cities.  It looks like most of them will be seeing rain today.  Perth is the only one that's not expecting rain.  It's going to be pretty hot over there; 34 degrees.  I wouldn't like that. 

4. Read that Western Australia is going to be getting a new Governor in July; Malcolm McCusker.    He's planning to donate his salary to charity.   That's awesome.  

5. Learned that McCusker was the Western Australian of the year.  

6. Read that Julia Gillard defended the lack of Bible in Australia's school curriculum by saying We live in a democracy which values free conscience and free thinking.  Okay.  And this comes from a woman who refuses to support gay marriage simply because she wants to take the conservative view on that particular issue. 

Tell me please!   Why does marriage need to be between men and women only.   I don't get it.   And we can't bring the bible into this, because Gillard is atheist.  She doesn't even believe in the Bible.  

Maybe it's procreation?  We need men and women to marry each other so they can make babies.   Yes, because our planet is in desperate need of more humans.  

7. Read another article about the famous bullying situation.   Now the other child has come forward with his own story.  Ritchard Gale claims that Casey Heynes had taunted him off camera.  Then Ritchard came up to hit him, and that's when they were filmed.  He could be telling the truth.   He could be lying.   If he's telling the truth, I would say Casey Heynes is the real bully. To me, verbal taunts can be just as bad as physical ones.  

From Casey's story, I got the idea that Ritchard had been bullying him for three years. Ritchard makes it seem as if he was NOT the one taunting Casey all that time.

Did Casey allow himself to become an internet hero when he didn't deserve to be?  Did he unfairly allow the other child to take all the blame? 

Is Ritchard lying because he doesn't want to be the bully poster child of the world?  One thing I wonder—if he's more of a victim than a bully, why didn't he speak up sooner?  

I don't know who to believe, and each side paints a totally different picture.

8. Watched interview with Casey Heynes.  He says Ritchard and his friends had been picking on him for two weeks.  While watching this video, I tend to believe Casey.  That doesn't prove that he's the one telling the truth; but it's doing a good job of brainwashing me to believe that.  

You know, maybe Ritchard IS telling the truth...sort of.  Maybe what happened is Casey saw his tormentor in the hall, anticipated more teasing, and reacted by calling Ritchard an idiot and ordering him to get to class.  Then Ritchard came out and started punching him in retaliation.  

9. Read editorial on Salon about Ritchard and Casey.  Drew Grant says:

The popularity of the video spoke for itself: the only thing this interview does is play into our bloodlust and disguise it as empathy. Yes, bullying is a problem that needs to be addressed, but not by making a sacrificial lamb out of a 13-year-old messed-up kid who already got what was coming to him. Why was the video interesting in the first place, if it wasn't for the Spartan excitement we felt when the tormentor became the tormented? Justice had already been doled out. Case closed.

I think those are wise words.  I think the video IS good in that it might make bullies think twice about picking on others.  Then again, they might just avoid picking on those who have the potential to fight back.   Now we might get more cases of big kids picking on smaller kids.  But what has the video done for the rest of us?   It's just proven that we love to find a scapegoat, and we'll easily believe a short video clip without questioning it.  

Now I'm watching the video attached to the article.  It has the interview with Ritchard.  Now THIS video has me convinced that Ritchard is the victim.   Videos and interviews can be so convincing. 

I was thinking though, even if Ritchard is lying and is the bully in this story; I still think Casey shares some of the blame.  Ritchard is getting punished WAY beyond what he deserves.   No child deserves hatred spewed at them from around the world.   And people on the internet are very good at spewing hatred.  If Casey truly was a hero, he'd speak up and ask for the venom to stop.  Instead, he seems to be eating it all up. Or maybe he has spoken up somewhere and the media isn't reporting it.   

10. Decided that Casey and Ritchard will end up becoming best friends, and will travel the world doing anti-bullying seminars together.  Then they'll end up having their own sitcom, and it will be a hit around the world.   

11. Read Scott Ludlam's first speech to Parliament.    I like what he says here:

To any climate sceptics whose company I have joined this evening, I say that I celebrate scepticism. Without scepticism we would probably still be living in caves. Denial, on the other hand, has now brought humankind to the edge of something almost unthinkable. I, also, wish this was not happening to our battered little planet, but it is. It is time for determined, intelligent, coordinated action.

I think there's a thin line between skepticism and denial.  What IS the difference?   Well, first of all.   I think most people who proclaim they're skeptics are truly denialists.  They believe in a certain thing;  and they'll ignore, ridicule, and demonize anything that goes against what they believe.  To me, a skeptic is undecided and open-minded. They don't have strong faith in their belief or lack of belief in something. They're confused, and on the path to learning more. 

12. Loved this quote from Scott Ludlam.   One rather profound consequence of a renewable energy system is that, once the infrastructure is in place, the fuel costs are largely free. No-one can own the sun, the wind and the tides—and perhaps it is this which scares the fossil corporations more than anything.

13. Decided that I probably like Scott Ludlam.

14. Had a brilliant idea.   Both Gillard and Obama are playing in the middle.  They're not really on the left, and they're not really on the right.   The problem is our countries can't do much because we're so divided.   If Gillard and Obama do something that pleases the left, the right gets mad.   If they do something that pleases the right, the left gets mad.

So, how about we split up?  America can take all the right-winged Australians.  It will be right-wing land.  Everyone can love Jesus.  There will be no gay marriage.  Taxes will be low. There will be no pressure to help those who are less fortunate than you.  The government won't give anything away for free.  The free market will take over the libraries, schools, roads, police, firefighters, etc.  

Australia can take all the left-wing people.  We'll have gay marriage, animal-friendly farms, renewable energy, etc.  We'll pay higher taxes, but have really good services to help those who need them.

The problem is Australia would get very crowded suddenly.  It's probably better if we just split up our own countries. The right wing people can have the ride side of the country and the left wing people can have the left side.  I do like the bit with me living in Australia though.

15. Realized that my brilliant plan would fail. The left and right would start fighting among themselves.

I DO believe in Jesus. I just don't take the bible literally.

Out out!  You don't belong here!  Go the left, you heathen!

Then on the left....

What are you doing with that cheeseburger?!  They don't belong in our country!!

But it's a veggie burger.

It has eggs in it.   Eggs!  You don't belong here!  You belong in the OTHER country. Go away!

I guess the truth is—we can never fully escape from people who disagree with us.  I don't even know if I fully agree with myself sometimes.   

16. Read article that says Melbourne is now the most popular city destination for domestic travelers.   It used to be Sydney.  Now Sydney has dropped down to second place.  It seems the reason is high hotel prices.  People want something less expensive.  

Sydney though is still most popular with us international visitors.

17. Read Facebook comments about Casey and Ritchard.    I agree with Tam Varga's comments.  She says, This is now a full on hate campaign and it could lead to tragedy. He got what was coming to him from his victim and that should be that. Not all these people threatening him and his family. It is bullying just like what everyone is wanting to stop.

I'm disgusted by the harshness of some of the other comments.   And many of these people seem to think they're experts on knowing if someone is innocent or guilty and lying or honest.   

Some people think Ritchard is guilty because his parents had to prompt him to apologize. Well, if Ritchard was telling the truth about Casey starting it, why WOULD he be sorry?  I think many children would be hesitant about feeling remorse if they felt the other child had started it.   

Dorian Schneider says, His mother even made a statement against him saying that he was ashamed of him. That should tell you everything you need to know right there.   His mother was ashamed of his ACTIONS.   To me, she seemed like someone who loves her child very much.  What parent isn't sometimes ashamed of how their child has behaved? If there is one, I'd say they have given birth to the Messiah, or they have their head in the clouds.

18. Read Simone Danby's in depth analysis of the Casey and Ritchard situation. It's in the same comment section I mentioned above. According to Simone, Casey is innocent because he's well-dressed and makes eye contact.  Ritchard is guilty because he has a piercing and his hair isn't neat.    

Yes, of course.  Appearance is a good indicator of who is good and bad in the world.    I mean really.  If you want to know who is evil in the world, just look at what they're wearing.   That will tell you everything you need to know.  Why do we even bother with judges and juries.   It's such a waste of time and money. We should just get fashion experts to come aboard and make the judgments. 

18. Read more of Patrick White's Riders in the Chariot.  I'm liking it.