July 21, 2011
July 12, 2011
The stadium is packed. The sweat gleams of the pitcher's brow and he looks for the sign. He leans in, winds up, and hurls the ball towards the plate. The batter squints his eyes and focuses on the bat meeting the ball. It's with the crack of the bat; the whole stadium holds their collective breath as the ball sails toward the outfield wall. The fan's cheers reaches a crescendo as the ball finally comes down into a fan's awaiting outstretched hand. The ball hits that one lucky fan's hand and then is fumbled down out sight only to rest in the abyss of no man's land or they are engulfed in a sea of people. It's the dream of every fan, casual or fanatical to catch a ball at a Major League Baseball game.
The advent of the new millennium has brought us a new sword in the stone. The home run ball, the foul ball, and the occasional gift from a Major Leaguer's hand. How much is it worth? For some it's worth climbing over other patrons to claw, bite, scrape, kick, and punch their way to. In other instances it's worth making a child cry as some barbaric fan rips a ball out of a youngster's hand. If it has a historical significance then we could be talking about thousands. The baseball that Barry Bonds hit over the fence for his 756th* home run surpassing Hank Aaron sold at an auction for $752,467.20. We could also be talking about thousands, as in it will be thousand of dollars to surgical repair you Mr. Calbos. The mania that surrounds baseballs has only increased with each year passing. The unfortunate circumstances that caused Shannon Stone's fatal fall at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington were just that, unfortunate. The same can’t be said for Keith Carmickle of Kingman, Arizona when he came within his friend's split second reactions from becoming the second victim in a week from a horrific fall at Chase Field in Phoenix. The pictures show Mr. Carmickle moments before his near disastrous fall standing shoe-less and only in socks on a table that is meant to be sat on.Is this what fans have been reduced to? Is the value of a ball worth climbing over people? Is it more precious than a magical moment for a child's first ball at game? Is worth more than making sound judgments that might save your life or put someone else's at risk?
July 05, 2011
July 03, 2011
Casey Anthony is in court and NFL players are too. The NBA is locked out and who knows when they will gain momentum on their deal. There are wars raging in the Middle East. Mexico's citizens are held hostage by drug cartels. Civil wars around the world rage on. Gaddafi still kills his own countrymen and women. The bad news goes on and on. The end some days feels and seems like it is closing in on us. There is hope yet, the greatest nation in the world still stands.
It's a testament to our nation and us that after 235 years America still is a beacon of freedom in the world. You will get thrown in jail for criticizing the leader of the Communist party in China. In America you may find yourself at the center of a campaign or supporting one if you do. Whether you take your freedoms for granted or not, the fact remains that you have the ability to do just that. In those 235 years blood has been spilled on this land and others to ensure that you can have an opportunity to have a chance. The strength of this nation hasn't been built anywhere except on the backs of immigrants and first generation born Americans. Don't fool yourself, we didn't just get here.
The most pure and precious intentions of our founding fathers can still be seen. Ask the small business man if he appreciates that the government won't come and close his shop down on a whim. Ask the musician if she appreciates that she won't go to jail or get killed for her lyrics. Ask the Muslim or Jew if they appreciate the fact he doesn't have to worry about getting killed by a bomb strapped to a radical on a daily basis. The greatest nation is only great because of what we have achieved as a society. We have come a long way because great people were given a chance to shine. The road to freedom is a long winding insufferable path. Many have lost families, lives and much more on the way to attaining their rightful place as citizens in this nation. The destination for many has been reached but, until we all achieve the desire goal none of us are truly free. We all share a common thread and it runs straight through the flag to you. Take joy in knowing that tomorrow you have the freedom to do what you want and be yourself while doing it.
June 25, 2011
On June 24th the New York State Senate approved legislation for same sex marriages to be allowed. The vote was 33 for to 29 against. New York becomes the largest state to approve same sex marriages. New York joins the ranks of Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington, D.C. and the Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon. This is a huge victory for the lesbian and gay community. They have suffered through years of waiting to be able to be married. Now for those who want to be married to the same sex New York becomes a beacon of hope.
One goal of every American politician and citizen is to strive for a more perfect union. It was with this in mind that on January 1, 1863 Abraham Lincoln issued an executive order to free all the slaves. This order was to become known as the Emancipation Proclamation. Fast forward to November 19th 2003 with me. On this day the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that the state "failed to identify any constitutionally adequate reason" to deny gay persons to marry. Most states constitutions are written similarly to the Nation's. That logic follows in gun laws, civil laws and drinking laws. If you continue to follow that logic then the banning of same sex unions is a violation of our civil rights. Yet, somehow when it comes to marriage laws the Federal and State governments chose to ignore this line of thinking. How could you be a citizen of New York, but not a citizen of the United States? It's baffling and it's more than confusing. It's outright bias and a slap in the face of every single person who choses to live an alternative lifestyle. The federal government still refuses to recognize the rights of lesbian and gays throughout this country. It's time for our country to be a little bit more progressive. Speaking of being progressive consider this.
There once was a notion that slavery wasn't just a privilege but, a right of every American. Here we sit 148 years later and every American knows that slavery is a violation of not just the law but, a person's right. It has taken years and hundreds of lives to give African-Americans the rights they deserve. In many ways lesbians and gays have had to suffer through many similar struggles to gain acceptance in this country the way the African American citizen has. Unfortunately for them the struggle is still real and long.
One of the reasons the law got passed in New York was that religious groups were given concessions as an incentive to calm down their religious rhetoric. In the new law religious groups will not be bound by law to perform same-sex unions. Religious groups also won't be able to be found liable for violating one's civil rights if they refuse marry same sex couples. This ruling is a victory in the minds of many in lesbian and gay community. Make no mistake about it, they have a long way to go before they are allowed their given rights as citizens of this country. Until then, we must all fight for their rights. Not because they're lesbian or gay but, because they are citizens like you and me.
JC: How are you doing Ricky?
RG: Yeah, ya know man I'm just glad to get my feet on the ground. Yeah, that was just a horrible experience man.
JC: How did you end up in jail?
RG: I went to register to vote and they said I had a warrant for my arrest in Jefferson Parish. They told to go over this place here and next thing I know I'm being told I'm getting arrested for a warrant. They didn't have no proper arrest or nothing, no Miranda rights or nothing. They just swept me up like they was kidnapping me.
JC: What you were thinking at that point?
RG: Well, they brought me up to the arresting place and put me in central lock up. After that it seemed like I was gonna be there not to long so that I could see the judge. It wasn't gonna be too long cause I wasn't to far from the judge and all. Well, they kept me in central lock up for 3 days. Then they sent me to the other jail to go to Jefferson parish jail. After that it was another week or two before I could even find out what happening or what the reasoning was.
JC: Let me get this straight. They didn't read you your Miranda rights, they didn't tell you what you were getting arrested for? Is that right?
RG: Yeah man,they didn't read no Miranda rights to me. They didn't tell me nothing man. Every time i would ask what I was getting arrested for all's they say is that I had a warrant in Jefferson Parish. That's the only reply I could get out of them.
C: Your lawyer (Alison McCrary) told me you never once moved since this even started in '02. They knew where you were the whole time?
RG: Yeah man, They sent me my letter stating my time had been served and all. I didn't never move at all from this place. I was even in the papers a couple of times after I got out. I didn't rent no apartment or nothing.
JC: How did you get in touch with Alison?
RG: Actually, it wasn't me. One of my friends heard she worked for the musicians and all. They got in touch with her and let her know about me. I thank God for that cause If it wasn't for her I don't know where I would be. I mean I didn't have no way of paying for this.
JC: What did you do while you were incarcerated to keep your spirits up and keep you going?
RG:Well, I exercised , I read and I prayed. I'm a patriot ya know. I don't play no games. I acted the way I was supposed too.
JC: When you were in Jefferson Parish did you notice any difference between the way you were treated as opposed to others?
RG: I didn't see any difference. We was all treated bad.
JC: Did your lawyer (Alison McCrary) have a problem dealing with Jefferson Parish?
RG: I don't know about the court but the judge seemed unreasonable with everything she came up with. All her papers and documents, witness statements everything man. He wanted to and seemed determine to want to lock me up for more time. From what I hear he wouldn't even read them. He wouldn't even consider them. They gave her all kinds of hell for no reason.
JC: What's the next step for you now that you have this ordeal behind you.
RG: Well, I'm gonna go back to my church and get my job back to help feed the hungry. I just want to do what I can to help the community ya know. Just want to move on and help some folks ya know.
JC: What do you have to say to all those people who you know came to your side in your time of need.
RG: Well, I am so grateful to all the people who helped. Especially to Charles Silver and Alison (McCrary). I am very thankful for all those people I don't know who have helped me. Without all the people who I know and don't know. I would really be lost without them, really be lost. It's a miracle really and I'm so thankfully for all of you..
Thank you all for your help and support for Spy Boy Ricky Gettridge. It is because of your willingness to open your hearts and wallets Ricky is now free. Every single dollar counted. Whether you donated 600 dollars or 5 dollars it is all appreciated. We are still in need of of donations to pay the member of our community who loaned the fund to us. It is because of this member of our community we were able to pay the remaining amount so we could submit the necessary motions and petition to the judge for Ricky's release before Sunday. We accepted the loan (which we need to pay back) because it takes the jail up to 48 hours to process an individual so that Ricky could be released. At Ricky's and a few of your requests, he was greeted with a tambourine, a pine apple Big Shot soda, and a snickers bars. Ricky came out of jail looking as sharp as ever. He had his hat, dark glasses and a huge smile on his face. Ricky is ready to get back to his family and friends he loves. Thank you all once again