For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths.
The late Blackie Sherrod of Dallas was one of my favorite sportswriters. He frequently began his wide-ranging columns with the phrase, “Just scattershooting….while wondering whatever happened to…” A scattershot is defined as “something that is broad but random and haphazard in its range.” I think a lot of people have described my thought processes like this – random and haphazard.
So, with pardons to Blackie Sherrod allow me to try my hand at it.
Just scattershooting…while wondering whatever happened to high school civics classes. Every student in my high school in West Monroe, LA. was required to take a one-year course in civics-related topics—such as the electoral process and role of political parties, the methods of public participation, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. According to data from the US Department of Education only nine states and the District of Columbia still require one year of U.S. government or civics, while 30 states require a half year and the other 11 states have no civics requirement at all. That may explain why several sitting US Congressmen and Congresswomen (including, sadly the Speaker of the House), several members of the current administration, and an entire laundry list of commentators and pundits showed their lack of knowledge of the Constitution of the United States in their comments after the recent announcement of the rulings of the US Supreme Court. In my book In a Mirror Dimly, I offered the 28th Amendment to the Constitution. It would require that any citizen who wishes to run for and serve in an elected office must pass a high school civics class. Hopefully, this would impart the knowledge that the crafters of our Constitution separated the powers among three branches of the federal government: a legislature, the Congress – with the power “To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof” (Article I, Section 8); an executive branch led by the President, charged to carry out these laws (nowhere is this branch given authority to make laws!); and a federal judiciary headed by the Supreme Court, granted the authority to interpret and apply the law (Article III, Section 1). Has no one read this? Just asking.
Just scattershooting… while wondering why nobody is talking about the role of violent video games in the violent mass shootings that are occurring all over this country. Anyone who has had the misfortune of looking at one of these realizes how a troubled soul could be stimulated by such abject violence. A preponderance of studies have reported a significantly positive correlation between exposure to violent video games and adolescent aggression. Any thoughts about why these dangerous games are being ignored by the activists and the lawmakers? Could it have to do with money? Political contributions?
Just scattershooting… while thinking about the concept of a “use by” date. Foods, pharmaceuticals, even some paper products have a “use by” date stamped on them. I’m wondering if, as I get more mature in age, I have a “use by” date somewhere. I’ve looked for it, but maybe it’s in code or one of those Q-reader things. How useful that could be! I could share it with people, “I still have time to go on my effective date!!”
I’ll get back to scattershooting sometime soon. Join me.