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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Thornton P. Knowles On The Power Of Imagination

Character, courage, intelligence, imagination, talent, and charisma are all good personality traits to have. But if I had too choose one of these, I would choose imagination. When I was a lonely kid I had imaginary friends. In difficult times I can imagine better times, or at least how to get through the bad times. I can imagine how things could have been worse. I couldn't be a writer without my imagination. It's my imagination that has saved me from boredom, loneliness and despair.

Thornton P. Knowles

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Tip of the Catholic Church Sexual Abuse History Size of Mt. Everest

     On August 25, 2018, CNN reported that according to BishopAccountability, an organization that has been tracking Catholic Church payoffs in sex abuse cases, the church and its insurance companies have dished out $3.8 billion since the 1950s. This report came out in the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report documenting the abuse of 1,000 victims by 300 priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses.

     Based on BishopAccountability findings, the largest Catholic Church payoff took place in Los Angeles when, in 2007, the church paid $660 million to 508 sexual abuse accusers. The allegations involved 221 priests, lay teachers and other church employees.

     Unfortunately, these reports merely reflect the tip of the Catholic Church sexual abuse iceberg. One wonders how long hush money, cover-ups and victim intimidation will keep the Catholic Church afloat. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Thornton P. Knowles On Seeking Political Office

What is it about elected office that attracts so many fools, charlatans, crooks, and idiots? It's no wonder that so many citizens hold politicians in such low esteem and don't even bother to vote.

Thornton P. Knowles

Monday, August 20, 2018

Thornton P. Knowles On Point Of View

I don't know what is worse, being on the outside looking in, or being on the inside looking out. I guess it depends on who you are. Like a lot of novelists, I've always felt like I was on the outside of society looking in, never fully belonging. It's a lonely life, but there's nothing I can do about it. You're either in or you're out, and that's just the way it is.

Thornton P. Knowles

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Who Started The Black Forest Wildfire?

     A wildfire is generally defined as an uncontrolled fire in an area of combustable vegetation that occurs in the countryside or a wilderness area. Fires of this nature can be brush fires or forest fires. Wildfires are caused naturally by lightening strikes and accidentally by careless campers. Occasionally controlled fires set by government fire officials to reduce highly combustable underbrush grow out of control and burn down the entire forest. Wildfires are also caused by arsonists whose motives are usually pathological.

     At two in the afternoon of Tuesday, June 11, 2013, a fire that started in the Black Forest north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, quickly raged out of control. When finally contained and extinguished on Thursday, June 20, the blaze had killed two people, destroyed 509 homes, and blackened 22 square miles of land. The Black Forest disaster is the most destructive wildfire in the history of the state.

     Fire investigation specialists with the ATF, the U. S. Forestry Service, and the El Paso County Sheriff's Office have ruled out nature and accident as the cause of the Black Forest Wildfire. That meant the fire had been intentionally set. Because the blaze killed two people, the case was being handled, under the felony-murder doctrine, as a possible arson-murder case.

     At the suspected area of the wildfire's origin, investigators were seen crawling on their hands and knees in search of physical clues pertaining to the method of ignition, and the identity of the fire setter.

     In terms of establishing the cause of a fire--locating its point of origin or origins--the debris analysis of a structural fire generally provides a more complete and clearer picture of the fire's cause. Signs of an incendiary structural fire might include heavy burning and intense heat at a spot without an ignition source, multiple points of origin, and traces of an accelerant such as gasoline. These arson indicators usually don't exist at the scene of an intentionally set wildfire.

     Because wildfires begin in remote areas, there are usually no eyewitnesses to the event. In home and business arson cases, investigative leads include the standard motives of insurance fraud and the elimination of a business competitor. In fatal fires, all of the motives that go with criminal homicide are available to the investigator. These leads and pool of usual suspects are rarely available in wildfire arson cases.

     In November 2014, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office completed its investigation into the Black Forest Wildfire. According to a sheriff's office spokesperson, while the fire was caused by a person, investigators had been unable to identify that person or whether or not the fire had been an act of arson. Perhaps it had been a campfire that had not been properly extinguished. Having exhausted all leads, the case was closed and would go into the books as unsolved.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Thornton P. Knowles On The First A-Word

During my grade school years, the worst thing a kid could say in class was "ain't." I remember sitting next to a kid in fourth grade who, upon being accused of chewing gum, said, "I ain't got no gum in my mouth." Suddenly every kid in the room stopped breathing. Lying to a teacher was bad enough, but using the A-word to do it constituted a major offense. The teacher yanked the hapless offender out of his desk and frogmarched him straight to the principal's office for a paddling. I still don't chew gum and never utter the A-word.

Thornton P. Knowles

Thursday, August 9, 2018

In Greece, You're Not a Criminal, Just Disabled

     In Greece, a welfare state in financial crises, the Labor Ministry issues government disability payments to, among others, pyromaniacs, compulsive gamblers, sadomasochists, and peeping Toms. That's right. Before being too critical of this form of governmental generosity, put yourself in the shoes of a pyromaniac. Who's going to hire a compulsive fire setter? (Surely you don't want fire-bugs lying on their job applications.) While sadomasochists can find satisfying jobs as bureaucrats, what do you do with the peeping Toms? (Those not afraid of heights could work as window washers, but how many jobs is that?) Lest you think the Greek government treats is pathological criminals harshly, the labor minister expanded the list of state-recognized disability categories to include: pedophiles, exhibitionists, and kleptomaniacs.

     At the risk of coming off a bit insensitive to compulsive firesetters, child molesters, and serial killers, why aren't these pathological criminals receiving the full benefits of the state while serving time in prison? How can one declare himself a pedophile and not be questioned, arrested, and put in jail?

      Perhaps you have to be a socialist to understand what's going on here. I'm also not an economist, but I do think I know why the country of Greece is in financial trouble.

Thornton P. Knowles On Mankind Outsmarting Itself

The smart boys gave us electricity, the radio, the combustion engine, television, nuclear fusion, the computer, and the Internet. In the end, it's the smart boys and their technology that will bring us all down: Mankind outsmarting itself.

Thornton P. Knowles

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Thornton P. Knowles On Wrong House SWAT Raids

No one is entirely safe from the wrong house, pre-dawn raid by a SWAT team looking for drugs. In the drug war, a man's home is no longer his castle; it's simply a structure that can be forcefully entered by heavily armed cops operating on the word of some drug addled snitch. Over the years dozens of innocent citizens have been killed while trying to protect their homes from people they thought were criminal intruders. Moreover, countless dogs have been slaughtered in the never ending drug war. When the first SWAT teams were created in 1969, they were not intended for this. Now, because of the war on drugs, there are thousands of SWAT teams across the country engaged in a dangerous form of militaristic policing.

Thornton P. Knowles

Monday, August 6, 2018

The Future of Small Town Policing

     Throughout the country small town police departments struggle to exist. Over the last two decades more and more small towns, primarily for economic reasons, have shut down their police departments. These communities were forced to outsource their law enforcement services to county, regional or state police agencies. This is a shame because law enforcement is best administered on a local level. Small towns have their own enforcement priorities and are best served by officers who have intimate knowledge of their town.

     In July 2018, all four members of the Blandford, Massachusetts Police Department resigned in protest. According to Interim Police Chief Roberta Samacki, "We regret leaving the town without a town police force but have no choice given the situation we face."

     The situation these officers faced involved low pay--$15 per hour--old, expired and ill-fitting bullet proof vests, and the condition of the department's best patrol vehicle. The 2010 Ford Crown Victoria, purchased secondhand, had no air conditioning and a front driver's seat stuck in the reclining position.

     Due to budget concerns, officers of the town of 1,200 may have to permanently dissolve the police department. Following the officer's resignations, the Massachusetts State Police began responding to Blandford's 911 calls.

     Unfortunately, the fate of the Blandford Police Department reflects the sad future of small town law enforcement.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Pedophilia, The Perpetual Epidemic: What Can Be Done About It?

     In the United States and around the world, pedophiles have infiltrated and infected organized religion, public and private education, the sports world, the health care industry, charitable organizations, and even the institutions of criminal justice. They flourish in our families, neighborhoods, and places of employment. Wherever there are children there are pedophiles. This is a harsh, dangerous reality that cannot be wished away. It's time societies, on behalf of children, recognize it and take this enormous problem seriously.

     Over the decades, pedophiles around the globe have destroyed the lives of tens of millions of children under the noses of the people responsible for protecting them against ruthless, serial predators incapable of rehabilitation. Indeed, these sexual deviates, often disguised as respectable people, are routinely protected through victim pay-offs, institutional cover-ups, and law enforcement indifference and/or incompetence.

     On the rare occasion a pedophile is brought to justice, usually on the strength of a plea bargain, the judge often hands down a light sentence.

     Pedophiles will continue to destroy the lives of the innocent and vulnerable until a MeToo movement is launched on behalf of children.

     Those who protect and cover up for these dangerous human beings should be punished as severely as the offenders themselves. And that punishment should be life in prison without the possibility of parole. But the history of this crime wave, and the way societies have refused to deal with it, leaves no reason to be optimistic. The best we can expect is a phony war against pedophilia that is nothing more than feel-good window dressing.