Parent Kidnappings Cry Wolf

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Parent kidnapping is an oxymoron that is on the rise in our society. This is definitely a sign that our culture has hit the skids. Those of you around in the 1950’s or 1960’s would never have heard of such a thing back then. The very idea would have been absurd. How can a parent kidnap their own child? Not possible. And to some degree, that holds true today – at least from a logical viewpoint.

But not from a legal one. And because most people will gravitate towards the logical viewpoint in their mind, it tends to defeat the legal one. This is because the cry wolf effect reduces public aid for law enforcement.

A good example of this concept is car alarms. When you hear one go off, what is your first reaction? Do you run out towards the car to stop the thief? More than likely you are annoyed at the knucklehead that owns that car, as obviously they did something to trip the alarm (such as open the door before disarming it). I like to imagine a car thief during broad daylight in a crowded city area running into no resistance because everyone assumes he is the owner.

Where I live there is something called an Amber Alert. This was developed a few years ago due the rising rate of kidnappings in our wonderful state. The way it works is, a witness to a kidnapping (or anyone who has any information about a suspected kidnapping) gives a description of the car and/or kidnapper to the police, relatively quickly after the incidence takes place. An Amber Alert with this description then interrupts every radio and television broadcast in the area as an attempt to get public help.

It’s a good idea, it has worked, and no doubt saved a few kid’s lives. But what has been happening recently is that they are using it for parent kidnappings. Meaning that a parent who is involved in a nasty divorce takes the kid when they are not supposed to, or perhaps even the reporting parent simply does an Amber Alert on their ex-spouse as their retaliation for whatever spat they are having that day.

So responsible citizens who perk up at the amber alert, ready to take notes and keep an eye out for the vehicle, hear that the suspect is the child’s mother or father and then just say oh and completely disregard it. It ends up becoming a waste of a great emergency tactic. By allowing parent kidnappings to be included in Amber Alerts the effectiveness is greatly reduced. Pretty soon we all start thinking another parent kidnapping every time we start to hear an amber alert and pay no attention anymore. It’s really too bad.

Papa Riah

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Our Culture Peaked 2-3 Decades Ago

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Have you noticed that nothing cool is coming out of our culture these days? It’s almost as if we have run out of creativity. The newest thing is reality TV shows, and even those are starting to get old. Lets face it they were never really that good. The winner of the first Survivor was an openly homosexual man who insisted on walking naked in front of everyone (while being filmed) and credited his win towards being sneaky, underhanded, dishonest, and the best liar. What a great testament to our modern culture, huh?

Then there is American Idol. Certainly some great singers have made the finals over the years. But how many of them have inspired you to go out and purchase their CD’s? My guess is none. Why not? Probably because none of them are different enough to make any real mark on our cultural landscape. Somehow they are just another singer and there is nothing innovative about their music. Oh sure – it’s fun to watch the competition, but when the season is done you are pretty much done with the contestants.

Contrast this back to twenty years ago, say 1979. Think about the TV shows Midnight Express (with Wolfman Jack) and Don Kirshners Rock Concert (which came on right afterwards on Friday Nights). Remember Saturday Night Live when it was actually good? We all used to plan our weekends around it. Have you even dared to watch it lately? Probably not, because it has gotten so bad that it’s embarrassing.

What about kid’s toys? Certainly technology will have improved on those, right? One would think. After all, by now we are all supposed to be driving flying cars. But if you compare today’s video games with the old Atari system and even the first Pong game, there is something missing. I remember the little handheld football and basketball electronic blip games -those were great. Today’s Nintendo DS units with all their technology don’t have anywhere near the interest that those things did.

Oh sure we have really trick cell phones now. To say nothing of the internet, portable email devices, and every other way to make sure you are never away from work that you can think of. And I am a big fan of those things. But what have they added to our culture, really?

Movies are not getting any better despite incredible advances in technology. Even when a good movie is made they cannot sell it unless they use cheesy tactics to attract the masses of brain-dead idiots. Music is only getting worse, as evidenced by the fact that classic rock stations are the most popular places on the radio dial. Literature by it’s definition is a thing of the past and art isn’t far behind.

I really cannot think of one single aspect of modern society that has improved in the last twenty years, with the notable exception of communications. And it’s arguable that the communication advancements we have made are actually a large contributor to the degradation of our culture.

Papa Riah

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What if Tatoos Become Uncool?

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Each generation of teenagers is rebellious against their parent’s generation. No way would they be caught acting like their parents or following their example. And they certainly are not going to conform to their parent’s idea of what’s cool. Quite the contrary, they are likely to use that as a gauge of how uncool something is. Interestingly, the older generation usually ends up succumbing to the younger generation’s trend setting when it comes to cool. Must be the mid-life crisis thing, no doubt fueled by the ridiculous divorce rate in America. The first thing a newly divorced man in his forties usually does is buy a Harley, usually followed by a tattoo or two.

Tattoos are a trend that has just about run it’s course in our society. Maybe not quite yet, but the end is on the horizon. Very soon too large of a percentage of the older generation will have them. They have no shock value any more when everyone is getting one. Teenagers these days are pretty much expected to get them. That’s juuuuusssssst about the time teenagers usually stop doing something. Especially when their parents have them and think they are cool.

The last generation that came down the pipes really went for the shock value by piercing every conceivable part of their body. This drove their parents nuts, which is obviously why they did it. But you know all those kids who did that are starting to have kids themselves. So what in the world can those kids do now to shock their parents? That’s a hard act to follow.

I think the answer is obvious. Expect today’s infants to shock their parents by being straight-laced and getting good grades. Remember preppies? We might be getting ready to come full circle. Dressing nice and being well groomed could be the next big thing. Body piercings and tattoos might be considered totally stupid, old-fashioned, and uncool in the not so distant future.

You don’t have any do you? What are you going to do when they become uncool? There was an episode of the Simpsons where Moe was going to remove Homer’s tattoo with a cheese grader. That humorous little bit wasn’t all that farfetched. If you thought getting the thing hurt, wait until you have it removed. To say nothing of the scar it’s going to leave.

Papa Riah’s stepdaughter has a rather large tattoo on her upper back that she is not proud of. Oh she loved it when she was 18 and knew that getting it was against her mother’s every wish. But now that she is 30 and getting married she wishes it wasn’t there. So does her fiancé. Getting it removed leaves ugly scars that are worse than the tat, especially one that large. She is planning on covering it up with some kind of makeup for the wedding.

Doing something to your appearance that is motivated by wanting to look cool is one of the stupidest things in our society. Before you do anything that falls into that category you should really consider just who is it you are trying to impress, and are they really worth it. You might also try and consider long-term consequences if your brain allows you to think past tomorrow.

Papa Riah