Here are some of your responses to Mike Straka's last column on Zero Tolerance run amok.
Shannon writes: Why oh why does ABC feel the need to extend their shows by an extra two minutes? I like to watch "Dancing with the Stars" and "Desperate Housewives," but the extra two minutes at the end of each episode cuts into my other shows. I then have to choose whether or not if I want to catch the last two minutes or miss the first two (usually crucial) minutes of the other show. Is this some ploy of theirs to get us to continue watching the follow-up shows on ABC? I'm sure, with a little editing, they could knock off those extra two minutes so that they fit into their assigned time slots!
Anonymous writes: I agree ... c'mon ... let's get real ... boys will be boys. Playing cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians is a far cry from shooting your classmates or stabbing them in the bathrooms of our middle schools! I even had fake guns as a child (I was a real tomboy!) and I also did not become a serial killer! It's not about the toys or drawings .. it's about what the parents are teaching the children. There is a huge line between reality and video games, fake guns and real guns. Are we putting our guns in safe places in our homes so our kids cant get to them? Better yet, are we teaching them gun safety? Are we educating them on doing the right thing, and showing them the horrible reality of violence and crime? If we turn a blind eye to these things, we open doors for them to figure it out themselves ... and having video games and movies as their role models, what do we expect? I am a strong believer in brutal learning. I show my kids real-life suffering ... and teach them to FEEL the heartache ... then I teach them how they can help to ease that heartache and suffering. I won't tell them they can't make a difference in this world, because they can. And so can we as parents.
Rebecca E. writes: Hi, Mike. I live in Escondido, Calif. The Witch Creek Fire stopped about 3 miles from our house. We packed up what we could and left on Monday morning, but are safely home again now. My Grrr goes out to all the people that the news media find who are complaining about not seeing a fire truck nearby when it was time to evacuate and crying, “Who’s going to protect our house?” How many fire trucks do people think there are? Looking at the sheer size of the fire, it’s amazing to see all the houses that were saved. The firemen did the best they could. I don’t want to hear a single one of them knocked for not trying hard enough. The Grrr also extends to the news media that put these people in the spotlight to begin with! I’m sure there are so many stories of hope and courage that could be magnified instead.
Dawn in West Valley, Utah: Our town has also just voted in a non-smoking ban. Why don't they just illegalize tobacco and we smokers can buy our cigs from long-haired, leather-jacketed "dealers" on street corners in the unsavory parts of town like all the other addicts? I know I'm addicted, I know it will kill me, but I've been smoking legally for over 40 years and I don't want to quit. Health insurance plans cover hard drug and alcohol treatment, but smokers are supposed to quit at their own expense. Patches are $40 a box and I used more of those than I ever smoked cigarettes. I am a considerate smoker. I don't smoke in anyone's home, including my own. I don't smoke in my cars. I sit on my deck in all weather so as not to offend anyone. I understand the ban in most public places, but when I'm told I can't smoke in my own car unless I have the windows closed, that's going too far.
Ken from Texas: We just returned from a Caribbean cruise deporting New Orleans. Bourbon Street was a blast the night before, and the new terminal and parking garage is the best we have seen. Our Grrr is about all the families with kids on the ship. What schools have a week's break in October? This was our fifth cruise and we have never taken children. One evening they even had all the kids trick or treating though all the public areas. Then there was the poor little 2-year-old throwing a temper tantrum one morning. Don't get me wrong, we love our kids and grandkids, but if we were to take them on a cruise it would be in the summer when everyone expects to see kids everywhere.
Chris R. writes: Mike you are right on about boys and toy guns. I too grew up playing
army and C.H.I.P.s, not to mention cowboys and Indians (totally unacceptable these days). Most of the time we had cap guns but, when without, a stick worked just fine. Am I a hardened criminal ... NO! I don't even own a real gun. I wouldn't want one in my house. If parents would take the time to teach their children right from wrong, we wouldn't need to worry about raising mass murderers. Drawing a picture on a piece of paper is not a threat to do bodily harm. What about all of the Halloween pictures our children draw depicting Dracula with blood dripping from his fangs? Should we lock them up because they might want to bite someone? Do people not know how to use their brains anymore?
Ralph writes: I say, let’s let boys be boys and have a box of, God forbid, cap guns set out on the playground and let them play cops and robbers or my favorite when I was growing up, WAR! (But that involved Thompson Multi-cap role machine guns.) Then let’s give Valium to the teachers who are so PC. And see the fun again on the playground. Don’t forget to have the monkey bars re-installed for a fort and have the big red rubber balls for use as cannon balls. If you’re going to have fun, you might as well have some good fun. OH well, I’ve always been told I was a mean person.
Natalie from Alaska: WHY does Billy Mays come on at 3:30 in the morning and at various other times throughout the day to YELL at my frightened cat and me to buy Oxy this or that? Talk about turning the channel as quickly as I can — I refuse to buy any product he hawks, because every commercial he does is so painfully annoying. I like relaxing and then falling asleep to a nice Henry James-inspired flick or to music on cable, but then this guy ruins it. You have some power in the universe. Can you please make Billy Mays go away?
Denise in Alabama: OK, I am old enough to remember when ABC, NBC and CBS started putting their little logo at the bottom of the screen. We complained about that back then — why would they want us to look at their logo the entire time we are watching a show on their channel anyway?? Now, it's no longer just a logo for some stations (TNT, BRAVO, etc). They have now resorted to playing an almost full-sized preview of other shows on the bottom half of the screen while you are in the middle of your favorite show. The ones where "The Closer" is walking under a police line tape with a flashlight to get to a scene, or the two main characters from "Criminal Intent" walk across the screen, and don't forget "Monk" cleaning something. SERIOUSLY — the next thing you know we will not have an option to use our PIP (Picture In Picture) button our remote because the TV station will already be playing another TV show on the bottom half of your screen! Grrrrrrr!
Dan B. in Shelton, Wash., quotes Mike from last column and comments below: “When I was a kid, my favorite television show was "S.W.A.T.," and my favorite toy was a "S.W.A.T." toy machine gun, which I played with until my mother broke it over her knee because the constant rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat drove her nuts. My second favorite television show was "C.H.I.P.S.," which I played so much on my bike that the neighbors finally complained to my parents because the constant wail of my siren (which I still can do quite well, much to Mrs. Grrr's chagrin) was a non-stop drone around the two blocks I was allowed to ride my bike.”
Right ... And you turned out to be a neocon pig ... That’s reason enough to ban toy guns.
Susan G. writes: Thank you, Sgt.Tom, for an eloquent and well-spoken response to our frustrated military man with the bad breath and body odor. I am definitely glad I didn’t send in the grrrrr I typed in response. Mine paled in comparison. Semper Fi indeed — when in need, send in the Marines.
Matt writes: A couple simple Grrrs ... to overpaid professional athletes whining about not having an off season ... the rest of us work 12 months a year, the vast majority of which make far less than those guys — not saying they don't work hard. To Mike Straka for elevating an eyebrow-waxing, illegitimate child-fathering system quarterback to the level of a "class act": I understand if you like Brady's ability to execute the Patriots coach's system, but that does not give him a pass on his other issues in my opinion.
Name withheld writes: I agree with your thoughts the zero tolerance police run amok. My 9-year-old son was suspended last week for drawing GI Joe figures. These figures weren't pointing guns at each other; there was no violence depicted in his drawing, they were simply "army guys" that were wearing weapons. My son made the mistake of giving these figures each a name. Apparently, giving your army guy a name and autographing your drawing is a precursor to becoming a mass murderer. Who knew?
Brian G. writes: I agree with your comments on the whole "zero tolerance" issue. I managed to become a well-adjusted member of society — avoiding any incidents of mass murder in spite of a childhood of war games (with toy guns!) and reams of paper devoted to action pictures and battle scenes. If we keep letting the Zero Tolerance Sphincter Police make asinine decisions like this we're going to end up with generations of Americans who cannot think, act, fight or decide for themselves. If some kid wants to draw an action scene that he or she saw in a movie, TV show or video game or book, then good for them. It's creative and expressive ... and harmless. Better that then to grow up being afraid to go out of their houses for fear of offending someone. Grrrr!