Westchester attorney wonders what price freedom after death of Bin Laden

As an American I value the freedoms I have enjoyed since birth, often taking many of them for granted.  As a journalist I value the freedom of speech I have to write whatever I want, for the most part, without fear of being censored or sued.  As an attorney, I value the privilege to defend these freedoms for those whose rights have been violated.  It is with these liberties in mind that I am greatly troubled by the dancing in the streets celebrated by dozens of Americans over the death of Osama Bin Laden last night.

Image – Michael Elliott/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was angered by the attack on the United States on September 11, 2001 and I remain fearful of the world which lies in its aftermath.  We have become, with good reason, a society of anxious, nervous individuals, seemingly willing to abandon America’s fundamental principles in retaliation for the great wrongs bestowed on us nearly ten years ago.  Yet, are we then not becoming just as the freedom-deprived individuals who attacked us out of envy and ignorance?

War is a conflict between nations and NOT between individuals.  Generally, individuals are placed on trial for war crimes and not assassinated.  Many other suspected terrorists have gone on trial here and abroad and their fate has been adjudicated accordingly.  That’s what civilized people do.

In the 19th century, British philosopher and noted pacifist Bertrand Russell stated “War does not determine who is right – only who is left.”  Only time will tell what we are left with.  Only time will tell if Islamic terrorists will deify Osama as a martyr or be liberated from his mental grip to enjoy the freedoms most Arabs now seem to want.

Westchester attorney thinks NYC schools are failing students!

First, there was the big controversy from parents objecting to their children saying the “Pledge of Allegiance” because of the sentence “one nation under God.”  Now comes word that at least half of the schools in New York City are omitting the Pledge altogether.  Really, Really?  Some who object to the Pledge say it places immigrant students in an uncomfortable situation because they are listening to the oath to honor a nation which is not their homeland.

OK, I’m sorry but when does the crazy train stop in this country.  A public school education is free in this country, paid for on the backs of working people who work hard and pay taxes to THIS country.  Presumably, many of these immigrant students were brought here for a better education and now get a free education in THIS country while their parents don’t work and don’t pay taxes.

Image: Michael Elliott/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I applaud the Brooklyn father, a firefighter hero, who called his daughter’s school to task because she had never heard the morning Pledge and only first learned of it while watching TV.  Trust me, this story isn’t over yet since another father called the recitation of the Pledge “social coercion,” according to the NY Daily News.  Well, you know what, if he doesn’t like this tradition of respect then let him place his child in a “less traditional” environment, one where he might have to pay for education.

Free education……..free government assistance……….and they’re going to feel uncomfortable to pledge allegiance to the nation giving them a free ride to a better life.   It seems like the crazy train gave way to the insane rocket a long time ago!  Wake up America!

Is Coverage of the Cairo Crisis Worth the Price of Admission?

It has been more years than I want to count since I’ve had to cover a hard core story as a journalist, yet I still watch four news channels at the same time and scour numerous websites each morning for the headlines. This week I have watched, along with the rest of the world, as Cairo exploded.

When the Sandinistas staged a revolution in Nicaragua, I wanted to grab a flight and head there with my cameraman.  Remember, Pat?  When the Berlin Wall fell, I made sure I was there on the night of their first free elections. I have seen bullets fly overhead (and that was just in Harlem); yet I have never wanted to travel to the Middle East.  As an American, as a journalist, we walk with targets on our backs.  The extremists who stage these revolutions don’t understand the power of a free press in getting their message out. They have mainly been exposed to a censored media acting as a mouthpiece of the repressive regime they try to overthrow.  I understand that but to expect them to understand our freedoms may be asking too much too soon.

What is happening, however, is an explosion of frustration on a global scale unlike any other in recent memory.  People are unemployed and underemployed. The disparity between poverty and wealth is greater than ever.  Families struggle to keep a roof over their heads and food on the tables.  There is a tremendous lack of confidence in political leaders.  There seems to be no sense of an improving economic situation on the horizon.  Frustration festers as pundits spout baseless opinions of economic recovery.  This is what they fight for in Cairo?  No, this is what is happening in these very United States.

We have more in common with the Egyptians than many of us realize.  They do not want us there, as we would not want them here to solve our problems.  Perhaps the U.S. should focus on its own crisis and stop bailing out countries who don’t want our help anyway.


Pyramids at Giza/Photo: Ricardo Liberato

As a journalist, I’ve lost my hunger to place my life on the line for a job any longer.  I don’t understand how many of my former colleagues, the anchors, the correspondents who are mothers place their lives on the line to cover a story.  No headline should come before your child’s future but that’s just me.  I am perfectly happy now as a travel consultant, covering stories about the Amalfi Coast and exotic ports o’ call.  Call me crazy!