Friday, December 21, 2007

I want a Tiger Cub for Christmas

I have just finished reading Freakonomics. An stimulating and thoughful read by an Economy professor from University of Chicago. There is a part of this book that is fairly controversial that I want to share and then share my thoughts on it.
Freakonomics page 4
In 1995 the criminologist James Fox wrote a report for the U.S. attorney general that grimley detailed the coming spike in murders by teenagers. Fox proposed optimistic and pessimistic scenerios.In the optimistic scenerio, the rate of teen homocides would rise another 15% over the next decade. In the pessimistic scenerio it would double.
Other criminologists,political scientists, and similarly learned forcasters laid out the same horrible future as did president Clinton.
And then instead of going up and up and up, crime began to fall, fall, and fall some more. The crime rate drop was startling in several respects. It was ubiquitous, with every category of crime falling in every part of the country.
The magnitude of the reversal was astounding. The teenage murder rate instead of rising 100% or even 15% as James Fox had warned, fell more than 50% within 5 years. By 2000 the overall murder rate in the U.S. dropped to it's lowest level in 35 years.
Pg 6 Freakonomics
It wasn't gun control, a strong economy or new police strategies that finally blunted the crime wave. It was among other factors, the reality that the pool of potential criminals had drasctically shrunk.
How you may you ask?
The decision of Roe V Wade or the legalization of Abortion.
As far as crime is concerned, it turns out that not all children are born equal, not even close. Decades of studies have shown that a child born into an adverse family enviorment is far more likely than other children to become a criminal. And the millions of women most likely to have an abortion in the wake of Roe V. Wade- poor unmarried and teenage mothers for whom illegal abortions had been too expensive or too hard to get were often model's of adversity.
They were the very women whose children if born, would have been much more likely than average to become criminals. But because of Roe V Wade these children were not being born. This powerful cause would have a drastic distant effect years later, just as these unborn children would have entered their criminal primes, the rate of crime began to plummet.
The author later compares the millions of aborted babies to the crime that is prevented and those of us who are pro-life would find the scales do not equal out.
No, reading this did not change my mind about being pro-life, but what it did make me think about is all of us who are pro life who do very little after the baby is born.
It is like the proverbial little girl who wants a tiger cub from her parents for Christmas. It is a great present until the cub grows into a full grown Tiger and they have no idea of how to control it.
There are many questions that have went through my head after reading this. Is the church prepared to help 1.7 million at risk children? The majority of the children do not come from ideal home situations.
If we were to talk a young teenage mom out of abortion and she decided to keep the baby. Would we critize her parenting techniques? Would we critize her if she became a stripper or on welfare to support the baby? And what if the baby because of the circumstances did turn out to be a criminal would we visit them in jail?
Our job is no where near done when a person decides against abortions. The fight has just started and where are we when the battle rages?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Steriods and Baseball... my two cents

I wrote an article for about baseball and steriods. Enjoy:)
Are we shocked? Of course we are not suprised by the findings. If we look at the statistics of the average major leaguer in the 1990s to that of the average mlb player from the 1970's we would see a huge difference. We have been told that it is because of the tightness of the baseball, the use of the wood in the bats or the air in Colorado. Of course we could say the size of the players over the years. Maybe we should have thought something was amiss when Hans and Frans were regulars in our favorite teams clubhouse. What is the most suprising with the Mitchell report? In my mind it is the fact that more major leaguers were not named. The question is does it matter? Absolutely not. People are saying it does not matter. They are saying that by stepping up and buying tickets at record paces over the past few years. Last year attendence records were set yet again.
America likes this brand of baseball. We like seeing robo/humans play a game. The biggest part of baseball that attracts me along with many others is the numbers. It is exciting to think that you can view and be a part of history. I went out and bought tickets to see Bonds during his home run chase. People booing along with snapping pictures. It is taboo to like Bonds yet we love the history and legacy of what he is doing. We hate him yet we can't turn away.
Is this going to change baseball forever? Probably, but is baseball going to keep it's popularity? Absolutely. While we waited to see which players would be named in the Mitchell report, I had a conversation with a friend of mine. We discussed which player would suprise us if they were named in the report. One name would have suprised me. Derek Jeter, and I am a Red Sox fan. Derek Jeter is the one player who I have respect for as a person and one superstar whose body doesn't look part Terminator. I don't care what these players are like as people. I don't care what Curt Schilling's advice on American policy is. I am not going to listen if they told me they didn't do steriods or HGH. I think we should treat them as they should be treated. They are millioniares who have compromised their own lives for the money. Which players do we want on our favorite teams because of their intelligence? I can't think of one. As the Red Sox try and get Johan Santana am I thinking I hope he is a person of integrity or he supports my political views? I could care less. The Sox should get him because he would help them repeat as champions.
In conclusion are we shocked when 20 somethings are enticed to help their job by taking a drug? I don't think many of us have the integrity to turn down a wonder drug that would help us make millions. Baseball will live on, we just have to remember that that robo-humans that play the game have given up alot for our entertainment

Saturday, December 1, 2007

No innocent bystander

I am convinced that the main people that we show mercy, help or feel sorrow for are the people in our view who are innocent. It is hard to have mercy or help those that we think that deserve their status in life, whether that be prison, homeless, have some STD etc. If we can convince ourselves this person deserves our help than we help them, but if they are in their prediciment by their own doing so long.
Case in point if we come upon a homeless person what is the first thought? I am not going to give them money because they are going to spend it on booze or drugs. We are justifying it in our minds that they do not deserve mercy. I am not saying that they wont spend it on booze because there is the chance.
Why are we more likely to send money to a mission organization who supports poor African children? We think they deserve it, they didn't do anything to deserve their situation. This may be partially true, but is this really the thought process that God wants his people to have when dolling out mercy and grace.
Does our charity need to have anything to do with who we think are worthy or not? I just finished reading two books: one on self justification (it was along the lines of blink and the tipping point) and the other on two guys who decided to become homeless for 5 months to see how life was like on the streets.
Human nature is strange, in the self justification book (I cant remember the name of it) there is a whole chapter on the criminal justice system and many examples of the ends justifying the means. Such as a police officer raids a house and the people flush the drugs down the toilet, in order to still arrest them they drop some planted drugs in the house in order to arrest the people. In their minds it justifies putting them in jail because obviously they were guilty. This book went on to share stories and stats about how when a police officer will change his tactics if he/she believes one is guilty, and if the officer believes the defendent is guilty every piece of evidence will be held in that light.
This is the way we live, if we believe something and some piece of evidence is brought up to refute this, we tend to refute the evidence rather than change our views. We have all done it, we have stubornly stood up for faulty thinking even in the light of new evidence, we don't want to admit we are wrong.
Now putting that into the context of our thinking of the poor and needy lets try for a second to use the example of Jesus. Does he at any point try and justify his giving to the deserving? Does he try and justify why he helped some and not others? Self justification in my mind is not a trait of Jesus. When we self justify is it to convince others or our self?
In the other book I read it the two men on their journey through America being homeless. They were the most suprised at their being treated by the church. They were looked down upon and told not to come to certain functions because of their apperance. It is hard to have for many of us to have compassion on the homeless because we have been told that these people don't deserve our compassion and sympathy.
Let's face it none of us are innocent bystanders, I am glad Jesus didn't just die for those He thought deserved it.