The people's voice of reason

A Nation of Laws

Speaking of the U.S. as being a “Nation of Laws,” is good, so long as these laws are designed for our benefit, and we know them and that we fully understand them; such is the case with the fledgling Elder Abuse Law.

Barely two years old, the new piece of legislation concerns itself with the fact that there are in the neighborhood of 700,000 Alabamians age 65 and older, whose wellbeing is a major concern of the Alabama Department of Senior Services. Also, many of those covered exist on a limited income.

The National Center on Elder Abuse has estimated that nationally, “between one and two million Americans age 65 and older have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone on whom they depended for care and protection;” and of that number, untold millions are being harmed physically, financially, or sexually or exploited in a variety of ways.

Not only was an Elder Abuse Law recently enacted in Alabama; a year later a second piece of legislation sailed through the Legislature which clearly spelled out what should happen to those transgressors should they decide to abuse senior citizens.

A tragic reality of all this is the fact that in many of the cases of elder abuse, the abuser is someone close to the senior involved; someone in whom the abused person had placed his or her trust and confidence.

This roster includes close relatives: sons and daughters, spouses, caregivers, friends and neighbors; persons upon whom the senior relied for his or her wellbeing. Now that is both a tragedy and a disgrace.

Which is one of the reasons “Who's Lookin' Out for You?” was launched a year ago with the intent of making available to seniors aspects of the legislation, and introducing them to some of the players in its existence.

This program has been continued at Cara Vita Community; an independent living facility at the southernmost end of Fieldcrest Drive. It's free and open to the public, and begins promptly at 10:30 a.m. each Wednesday. The general public is invited to attend.

So far, those who have attended have heard from Neal Morrison, the State Commissioner of Senior Services, Ms. Susan Segrest, the new executive director of the Central Alabama Aging Consortium—a major player in insuring that the law serves its constituents properly and vigorously—representatives of city, county, state governments, and sometimes federal agencies concerned specifically with insuring that elders are not abused, and that should they be, the transgressors are severely dealt with.

The problem of elder abuse can only be effectively addressed if those who are the potential targets of this venal crime are identified and prosecuted to the extent of the new law.

It is in the best interests of local senior citizens to learn not only about elder abuse and how to deal with it, but also, about all of the various support services that are available to them.

Every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. in the Bird Room at Cara Vita Independent Living Facility, someone of importance will be explaining how they are “Lookin' out for you.”

Time to take a stand

Every once in a while something rings a bell in the cluttered memory of an octonogenerian; and this is one of them.

Most Americans don't remember this--it happened 104 years ago--but its message was heard. The irony is that many of us would like to hear a similar message today. But it's highly unlikely that we will, given the differences in the character of the two main figures on this country' side.

Back in 1904, a man named Ion Pedicarus, presumed to be an American citizen, was kidnapped from his villa in Morocco by a Rifian bandit named Raisuli, who demanded of the American government a hefty ransom for his return.

Unfortunately, Raisuli crossed swords with an American president who was interested in displaying his and his country's strength—not its weakness.

When Raisuli made his demand President Theodore Roosevelt sent this terse reply: “Perdicarus alive or Raisuli dead!”

It didn't matter that Perdicarus wasn't actually an American citizen, it was the principle: You don't mess with America or its citizens.

Which brings to mind a 1955 Pete Seeger song, which we might paraphrase to “Where have all the patriots gone?”

What's in a name?

Hardly a month goes by but what we see some instance of semantic idiocy in the headlines, most of which must have been aborned during a slow spell in the dark dimensions where do gooders and shysters go to conjure up mischief to beleaguer otherwise sane society.

It's not sufficient that trouble making isn't enough. Ignorance enters into the picture to complicate matters.

The nonsense in question concerns a relatively recent decision by the federal trademark board that the Washington Redskins football team name is “disparaging of Native Americans.”

Now isn't that a hoot? Washington bureaucrats have now compounded stupidity with ignorance.

Who in the labyrinthian halls of federal judicialdom came up with the lame brained notion that American Indians were indigenous to this country?

They got here earlier than the rest of us, we'll agree; but they're not natives. In actual fact, the mighty red man migrated here from somewhere in the Soviet domain, via Alaska and into what we now call the United States of America.

On top of that, their skin isn't really red, nor is the white man's really white; and not all blacks are black. So what's all the fuss about?

Either it's ignorance or stupidity that prompts these misguided efforts; but for sure, it's mischief.

Some people just have to create trouble where no trouble exists.


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