Showing posts from May, 2022

What are we going to do about it?

While World War II was raging, we had to practice hiding from the enemy. As a little boy growing up in Muskegon, I was seriously frightened during the air raid “blackouts” of the 1940s. I would tremble in the arms of my parents. I had nightmares about Hitler and Hirohito.   Decades later, it was a different story. When our kids were little, in the 60s and 70s, the threat of nuclear war was real and Civil Defense leaders recommended bomb shelters where families could hide from deadly radiation. There were practice drills in cities and schools.   Today, it’s a different ball game. The kids in our schools must practice hiding and protecting themselves from shooters! Architects are even designing new school buildings to allow for hiding and protection.   None of that helped 8, 9 and 10-year-old students at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, yesterday. A young gunman shot and killed 19 youngsters and 2 teachers before police shot him dead.   I’m afraid our perception of the

When cruelty becomes torture, right in our state prisons!

There’s torture taking place in Michigan prisons.   I’m not speaking figuratively. There’s actual, literal, torture occurring every day in some of our state’s correctional facilities.   I’ll explain.   For segregation areas, a prisoner count must be taken every half hour. It’s done 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Here’s how. Corrections Officers have been issued heavy metal wands for this high-tech system. An electronic module has been installed in the door of every cell. When the officer touches the wand to the module, there’s a beep which signals that the count has been recorded. Simple, right? So what’s the problem?   Well, many times that’s not exactly how the procedure goes, according to reports we receive. The wand is metal and it’s heavy, and if the officer chooses, he can slap it against the module. One loud clang. If he really wants to be annoying, the officer can slap it several times---rat-a-tat-a-tat.   Larry, one of our informers, says, “Imagine someone banging on


Back in the olden days, radio and television stations used to shut down at night.   I’m 85 now, so I can talk like an old-timer.   The radio station that I owned and operated for 19 years signed on at 6 AM, and signed off at sunset. We would begin the broadcast day with the playing of our national anthem. Similarly, we would end the day with a simple hymn, like “Now the Day is Over.”   Television stations often used spectacular videos as the national anthem was playing, perhaps the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, sometimes local scenery. They did this at sign-on time early in the morning, and sign-off time late at night.   The story is told of a TV executive who, while driving to his office each day, passed an attractive little neighborhood church. The lawn was manicured, the flowers spectacular, the landscaping done to perfection. Out of curiosity, he finally stopped to learn more about this little inner-city treasure.   The pastor shared a most interesting story. The exterior of the

By golly, school does make a difference!

Prison is an angry place. For something good to come from the prison experience it almost takes a miracle. But yes, things are happening!   Prison Fellowship quotes a former inmate who says anger is the only acceptable emotion in prison. There are many reasons to be angry behind bars: loss of freedom, disrespect from fellow inmates, and so-called friends and family that have vanished. Besides, some days it seems if you aren’t angry, you’ll get run over.   We’re learning that an antidote to that toxic environment is education.   7 years ago Calvin University began offering a program leading to a Bachelor’s Degree. Each year 20 students from Michigan prisons are selected and enrolled in the five-year program at the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia. These are legitimate credit courses taught by professors.   We’ve watched the program over the years, and a number of our friends and clients have participated. But the thing that really impressed me as to the program