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JOHNNY STRABLER (The Wild One) meet GEORGE BAILEY (It’s a Wonderful Life)

JOHNNY STRABLER (The Wild One) meet GEORGE BAILEY (It’s a Wonderful Life)

This story is about the exuberance, excitement and passion of youth. Johnny Strabler and George Bailey were clearly excitable boys. George Bailey was played by Jimmy Stewart. All George wanted to do was to get the hell out of his home town of Bedford Falls. He didn’t want to settle for a mundane life like the rest of his family. George wanted to travel to exotic places, do exciting things and make his mark on the world.

Shit happened and he ended up staying in Bedford Falls, working at the family business, marrying his high-school sweet heart, buying an old, drafty house and raising a slew of kids. He never traveled to exotic places, did exciting things or made his mark on the world (outside of Bedford Falls). By the end of the movie, he learned the same lesson Dorothy learned in the Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”

Most of us were dreamers like George. We wanted more, we wanted to travel to exotic places, do exciting things, make our mark on the world. And like George, shit happened, and we settled for a life less than what we had dreamed. With any luck, you had some moments of exhilaration that touched on those youthful dreams, as you changed diapers, mowed the yard and paid the bills.

Of late, the streets are filled with passionate and exuberant youths. It reminds me of lyrics from the classic 1960s protest song by Buffalo Springfield, “For What It’s Worth.”

“A thousand people in the street

Singing songs and carrying signs

Mostly say, hooray for our side

It’s s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound

Everybody look what’s going down…”

This tune, by Stephen Stills, reflected the angst in the streets of LA at the time. It was written about the closing of a rock club on the LA strip, but became a song for the times, as the fury against the Viet Nam war blossomed.

The kids on the streets today are equally passionate about the recent turn of events. Some of their disappointment and anger has a legitimate basis. Good for them…protesting, making your voice heard is a cornerstone upon which this country was founded.

Some of the protesting is based on emotion without a factual basis. And the violent protestors bring nothing to the table but response in kind. And unfortunately, some of the ‘song singers and sign carriers’ are professional, paid protestors. And finally, some are protesting in the same fashion as Marlon Brando’s character ‘Johnny Strabler’ in The Wild One. In it, Johnny was asked what he was rebelling against. He responded with, “What do you got?”

I’d like to remind the folks out on the street, that we have been here before. The country will survive, life will go on, things  may get worse, but they will eventually get better. I like to think that things may even be better than before.

Fifteen years from now that angry kid with a bandana masking his/her face, waving a “Not My President” or “Black Lives Matter” sign will likely be pushing a shopping cart with a kid or two in tow, looking for the best price on ground chuck. They will have become George Bailey. And there is nothing wrong with that.



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Baltimore Mom Slaps Down Her Son While Elvis Sings “Down In The Ghetto”



“Down in the Ghetto”  I worked much of my law enforcement career in neighborhoods best described as the place Elvis sang about. That was decades ago, for me and for Elvis. I recently drove through some of my old beats and not much has changed. And, in my opinion, nor will it without some drastic changes.

So we have another city in flames.. Another 24/7 media blitz with finger pointing by everyone from POTUS to the immigrant liquor store owner whose American dream walked out of his place in the arms of what some call opportunistic leeches. Many of the talking heads say it’s because the police are thugs, the police say it’s because the kids are thugs. The honest, hard-working, decent residents blame the politicians for doing nothing to improve decades of ghetto life. They say the kids ain’t got no hope of ever getting out of the ghetto, so stealing and burning is better than working and building since there are no jobs or future to build.

It won’t be long before another black person will be killed by the police and whether it is a good or bad shoot, another city will burn. And the honest, hard-working residents of the new burning ghetto, the ‘disenfranchised’ as they are called by the politically correct, will once again be victimized. There is something to be said about the lack of personal responsibility and accountability within the disenfranchised community, but I think they do offer a valid position in pointing out that without any hope; stealing and burning makes sense to the ‘disenfranchised’ and frustrated children of multi-generational entitlement families.

Obviously 6 years of Obama’s ‘Hope and Change’ has not led to any improvement for the ‘disenfranchised.’ So, what and who will address the problem? In any event, here’s my opinion….it has to start with education.. Somehow, the Baltimore mother with 6 kids, who slapped her hoodie wearing son up-side the head to get him off the street, needs to be able to enroll her children in a school that will help her successfully instill ethical and moral values. A school whose teachers are not protected by a teacher’s union that allows bad teachers and administrators to continue worst educational practices and pass kids through the system that cannot read, write or have any idea of what civics means. Perhaps this new school paradigm will be faith based or privately run, funded by grants from the likes of Warren Buffett, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. Either way, it is a sure bet, unless a change occurs in the lives of these inner city youths, cities will continue to rot and burn. And the change, cannot come by way of a new government program. There is abundant evidence that there are enough government programs in the ghettos that are doing nothing but keeping the poor and disenfranchised, poor and disenfranchised.

The days of dual parent homes in urban areas, in which one parent works and one raises children, has gone the way of the dinosaur. It’s truly a sad state of affairs, but in my opinion, the school will have to function as educator and partly as parent. I hate to even write that, but there just are not enough responsible parents available, or up to the task in the inner city. A private, non-governmental school, operated with educational best practices by honest and hard-working professionals who are not influenced by corrupt unions or lobbyists could work.

Of course, investment to improve and rebuild the war-torn looking areas of the inner city will have to occur. Few developers will want to invest in an area, that at any moment in time, can burn to the ground. Honest and well-meaning politicians will be required to plan these re-investment programs. I am afraid, those are in short supply At least school choice is a start.