Gun control…

Gun control Charleston4Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire, commented that it is rare that I agree 100% with any decision or remark President Obama makes.  In the wake of the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, he expressed the opinion, as he has many times before, that lack of gun control in this country is directly related to our number one ranking among industrialized nations in murders by firearms.  While there may be a dearth of direct evidence that gun controls are responsible for containment of violent shootings, the fact is that all countries with lower rates of violent crime also have serious gun control measures in place.  I would argue, as does Obama, that his opinion is indeed de facto.

Dr. O’Connell added that to “prove” the causal relationship, a prospective scientific approach would be needed, but absolutely impossible to conduct.  Can you imagine doling our gun permits on a purely random basis, and mandating that all others turn in all their firearms?  Then for the next ten years the pattern of crimes would be followed and data collected.  Could never happen.  Another insoluble problem would be how to account for crime committed with weapons stolen from permit owners, or imported from regions outside of the region under ‘study’.  Clearly such a scientific experiment will not be conducted.

I would argue that such experimentation is not necessary.  The reality is that the closest this country will ever come to ‘proof’ that gun control reduces violent crime is the ongoing worldwide, rather unscientific retrospective study, in which some countries ban firearms and some don’t.  The former enjoy markedly lower rates of crime using firearms.

Dr. O’Connell stressed that he fully understands firearms are featured in sport.  It’s a huge industry.  And in an ideal world one should be free to enjoy these sports.  However, isn’t there a point at which enjoyment by a few must be sacrificed to the interests of many?

Dr. Walter Palmer…

Dr. Palmer 5Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire stated, “I am not a hunter; I have never intentionally killed anything bigger than a hornet, though I have been absolutely ruthless with houseflies.”  Dr. O’Connell commented that this Dr. Walter Palmer brouhaha is getting out of hand.  The crowds outside his private dental practice in Milwaukee were calling him a ‘murderer’ for killing a popularized lion on a recent safari to Zimbabwe, Africa.  One of his guides had apparently lured the lion out of a protected park so the killing could occur.  Given that lions are a protected species due to dwindling numbers, and the notion that he should have checked things out much more carefully before he pulled his bowstring, I think he should have been heavily fined, and he probably will be.  But jeez, extradition, a murderer?

Do these protesters understand the realities of the life and death struggle playing itself out every second, in every corner of our world?  Have these naive people ever seen videos of lions making a kill on a zebra or gazelle?  Ripping the flesh of a still alive and trembling prey?  It’s ugly stuff to watch.  But it’s life.  Have these folks watched that now infamous Planet Earth video in which a killer whale leaps out of the water to grasp a frantically fleeing seal in its huge razor-tooth maw?  THAT is murderous stuff.  Do these same folks concern themselves with the millions of slimy but unidentified bugs that smear their windshields on a warm summer night?  Do they rue the ants they themselves put to death with the malathion powder they sprinkle along their home foundations?  Or the benign appearing ant “cups” that invite the insect to carry poison back to their colonies?

I want to be very clear.  I am much in favor of outlawing hunting everywhere in the world, except in those regions where wild game is plentiful and proteinaceous calories are needed.  But, my rationale does not include that it is cruel and unusual punishment for a lion to accept an arrow to the heart for its demise.  How could it get crueler than what nature stages?  To have your neck crushed in the jaws of a lion.  Give me a break.

Confederate flag…

Confederate flagDr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire, commented that in the wake of the tragic Charleston shootings a few months ago, Confederate flags that dotted the south have mostly come down.  My first reaction, I assume consistent with that of the majority of Americans, was one of surprise that the flag was still commonplace, and even in public arenas.  As Obama said in his eulogy, the flag, among other things, is a symbol of a failed government, one based on the institution of slavery.  Why retain the symbol, some 150 years after the regime’s demise?  The answer to this must be very complex as to elude the comprehension of most Americans.

Unfortunately, removal of the flag may do little to expunge whatever deep seated sentiments have promoted its endurance.  I suspect these sentiments involve notions that blacks continue to lag behind in experiencing the rewards of our great society, despite affirmative action, equal opportunity, and burgeoning welfare state.  I suspect the fact that violent crime is much more common among the black population than any other groups contributes significantly to these sentiments.

Finally, the south and more than a few entities in the north, have removed a symbol of repression and hatred.  Good riddance.  I hope the Confederate flag is gone for good.  The animosity behind that flag will not so easily retreat, however, and that is apparently an enduring problem.  Until the black race is seen as working hard to better itself without over-dependence on handouts, such sentiments will remain.  As the prominent black figure Thomas Sowell has said “self-respect can seldom be gotten from even a successful playing of a parasitic role in the name of a make believe equality.”

Jon Stewart…

Jon Stewart4Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire, recently commented that the quick witted Daily Show host Jon Stewart has departed.  Praise the Lord, or whichever non-sectarian higher power is responsible for this gift.

There is no more polarizing political figure than this liberal highly Jewish talking head.  I get that – it’s his shtick, right bashing satire attracts a certain audience, and for sure the stodgy conservative religious folks provide much fodder for his biting remarks and pointed jokes.  I have watched his show sporadically for years, and would totally enjoy his product if not for his singular target theme.  Its wears a little thin.  What has always puzzled me though is his unwillingness to admit to the wildly unbalanced nature of his show.  He readily criticizes Fox News for its unbalanced content, and ‘fair and balanced’ message, yet doesn’t see this same incongruity in himself.  There is so much on the left side of life that can provide equal opportunity for shits and giggles.  Oh, every once in a while he castigates a lefty for some wrong-headed action (our VP for example), something so egregious it can’t be ignored even by Stewart, but this always comes off to me as window dressing.  Something to demonstrate that unlike the far right Fox News, his show is not far left.  But he is wrong and I believe he totally knows it.  Jon Stewart is a proud standard bearer for left wing politics.

Stewart’s replacement seems to be hinting at significant change.  We’ll see.  It will take considerably more courage than what Stewart has displayed for the past 16 years.  Again I call for more debate of the issues that emanates from a centrist position.  I’ve had quite enough of Rush Limbaugh, and now Jon Stewart.

Planned Parenthood…

Planned parenthoodDr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire recently commented that there was yet another release of secretly filmed videos at Planned Parenthood (PP)….the videos reveal rather unseemly and certainly less than tactful behavior among physicians and administrators at Planned Parenthood, though no even remotely illegal activity.  The videos have instigated many Republicans, and even some Democrats, to call for an end to federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

Some things never change.  This grandstanding will of course continue, as will the video releases, probably for months, and in the end will have (and should have in my opinion) no effect whatsoever.  The well-orchestrated releases appear to have a singular goal – to shut down PP.  The accusation that PP ‘profits’ from sale of tissues removed during abortions is specious at best.  PP is a non-profit organization, which submits annual returns to the IRS, and those reports must demonstrate no profit.  It’s the law.

When tissue extracted from abortions is sold to private entities, those monies thus generated are poured very temporarily into the coffers of PP.  As costs of operating PP increase with inflation, charges for services must also increase.  Monies collected from sale of placental or fetal tissue serves to slow the increases in charges for services, including abortion.  PP does not ‘profit,’ there is no bank account somewhere for PP to deposit surplus funds that carry over and grow from one year to another.  Surpluses must be plowed into services; it’s the law.

I thoroughly understand and sympathize with both sides of the abortion debate.  But these videos are no way to orchestrate a conservative agenda.

 

Race relations and police…

Race relationsDr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire commented that the country seems to be finally cooling off regarding the issues of race and police, as the media is taking a breather.  Rationality is taking hold; that is until the next act of perceived brutality is splashed on Headline News.  The standard opinion portrayed by the media, and assumed by the viewer, is that police subject blacks to a disproportionately high rate of arrest and of course violence, this despite available data/evidence.

A review of every major publicized case of brutality this past year (Ferguson, Staten Island, Baltimore, Charleston) reveals that none would have resulted in a death, or even minor injury had the subject simply complied with arrest and not violently resisted.  All cases would have resulted in no charge, minor fines or at most overnight jail time had the victim simply complied with arrest.  There is no justification for the shooting in Charleston, however two cases resulted in outcomes supported by grand juries, and one case is still pending but likely to erode as facts are revealed.  The stories of accused (two black cops among them) should be very interesting.

No one wants a police state.  We want security without oppression.  But, compared to many other countries, we have a very low visibility force.  Admittedly there is a concentration of enforcement in inner city, high crime areas.  Shouldn’t there be?  Are the police wrong for patrolling more frequently in such areas?  Is it their fault that blacks often inhabit high crime areas?  No, the residents of these areas have full responsibility.  Attitudes among black youth are notoriously rebellious toward police.  This must change, and black “leadership” must take responsibility for reeducating, reorienting, and reprioritizing.  Cranks like Al Sharpton with his tiresome persecution complex must be marginalized by black followers.  The problem is not the police.

Is it addiction or dependency?

Addiction vs dependency6Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire commented that the distinction between addiction and dependency is constantly mangled by the press, lay people and even many professionals.  The difference between dependency and addiction is not withdrawal.  Withdrawal is a phenomenon common to both.

Addiction marks a transition into pathology; the chemical, activity or behavior to which one is dependent (oxycodone, heroin, alcohol, THC, sex, eating, extrovertism/introvertism) becomes harmful…physically, psychologically and/or functionally, to the individual.  Withdrawal or craving is not necessarily a pathology and therefore not necessarily an indication of addiction.

One would be hard pressed to declare a weekly snorter of heroin or cocaine an addict.  If a person dreams much about food, craves certain tastes or dishes, but lives a functional work and social life and is not obese, this can hardly be defined as an addict.  If another has elevated liver enzymes, presence of abdominal fat in an otherwise slender body, is thinking about drinking alcohol much of the day, has a couple DUIs, occasional blood in theAddiction vs dependency3 stools, and yet persists in drinking alcohol, this is most likely an addict.

If a chronic back pain patient that had a laminectomy and then fusion, still requires pain meds but goes into intense withdrawal with sweating, shakes, diarrhea, and piloerection, when away on a trip forgetting meds at home, this is dependency, but unlikely addiction.

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell Donates $250,000 to CVHS Capital Campaign…

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire has generously donated $250,000 to support Cocheco Valley Humane Society’s “Bring Us Home” capital campaign to build a new 11,000 square foot animal shelter that will be located on the grounds of the Strafford County complex in Dover. His leadership gift will name the surgical suite at the new facility.

Dr. O’Connell has been a steadfast supporter of CVHS for many years; regularly underwriting events and providing financial support to enhance the quality of care for thousands of abused, neglected and abandoned animals the shelter serves each year. In addition, he has served as a tireless advocate for CVHS and has worked to champion the shelter’s mission by authoring letters of support encouraging his peers to join him in making a difference in the lives of the animals at CVHS.

MJO_avatar (3)According to Dr. O’Connell, “As I reach the twilight of my career, and as CVHS approaches its momentous rebirth, I have decided that my plans to include CVHS in my will are far too conservative, not anywhere near as helpful to my favorite charity as I would like and as what CVHS deserves. The old saying “you can’t take it with you”, is particularly germane for me. I dearly wish to see with my own eyes, in my own lifetime, a vibrant, robust home for CVHS. As the caretakers for the truly innocent, I can’t imagine draining my retirement funds now for any more lofty or noble purpose. The employees and volunteers at CVHS are to be commended for an awesome, yet too often thankless job in face of recurring challenges. I hope with my assistance and that of many others, CVHS can realize a long held dream.”

Homosexual marriage…

Gay marriage 2Homosexual marriage…

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire noted that finally a possible end to this extraordinary national debate is in sight.  The whining by both sides of the issue has been a recurrent irritation for decades, and a major distraction of the country’s attention from truly important matters such as terrorism, global warming and preservation of our planet earth. 

The view of many religious folks that marriage is an institution requiring preservation is a rather weak one.  Allowing homosexual marriage does not prevent heterosexual marriage.  And the benefits of marriage are difficult to see, with its sky high divorce rates and even more marriages that are very unhappy though otherwise intact.  Is the institution something to be proud of, to the extent of wanting to relegate it to heteros only?  I might argue that all couples, gay or straight, should participate in the same ugly institution if they so desire.

The view of many gay groups and liberal supporters has been a ‘justice for all’ approach.   This has some merit on the surface.  Why shouldn’t homosexuals be able to avail themselves of an apparent societal benefit?  How is this different from gaining equal access to a restaurant, a college, or an empty seat at the front of a bus?  The benefit is clear in these cases.  The benefit of marriage of course is not.  Also it is entirely arguable that marriage is derived entirely from the private sector, why is it reasonable or necessary to guarantee access to this broken institution for all? 

Anyway, same sex marriage is a tired issue.  In my opinion, the Supreme Court has done us all a favor this week.  After more anticipated grumbling and threatened legislation, we are likely to see the issue finally put to rest.  So as a nation we can spend our capital on more critical concerns.  I wish all the best to gays and hope they will thrive and prosper and feel more secure in marriage.  Now, let’s move on.

 

Diet soda and obesity…

Diet sodaDr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire commented that there is another study apparently showing that heavy diet soda consumers suffer more from obesity.  And of course the media interprets this as cause and effect.  It ain’t.

Diet soda no more causes obesity than drinking H20.  Morbidly obese folks are grabbing at whatever they can to shed pounds, and avoiding the empty calories of a regular soda is an obvious target.  So naturally, many obese subjects drink large amounts of diet soda.  Don’t think for one millisecond that diet soda CAUSES obesity.  If you are of ideal body weight and enjoy diet soda, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that you are at risk of becoming obese by continuing to imbibe.

The media fosters, embraces and rewards irresponsible reporting.  Facts are simply not allowed to discourage a good story.  Why?  Because bland facts do not sell anywhere near as effectively as a good story.