Author: Nancy W. Boyer

Death and Life

THE SEEDS a novel by N.W. Boyer

For those who love mystery and intrigue, I would again like to introduce to my readers my novel, THE SEEDS, which is fiction with a few historical characters thrown into the plot.    Chapter by chapter the mystery unfolds.  I have set up a special blog so that my audience may read from the beginning. Click on any chapter missed. Simply leave your email if you’d like to be notified as each chapter is published.   It would also be great to hear your comments as you get into the story.   THE SEEDS

CastillejaFlowerSeed


Rewarding Bad Behavior

As our children are growing up, we compliment them when they are doing the right thing. I have never heard of a parent paying a child to be good.  Yes, we may have given them allowances of a few dollars, but that was for tasks that they were expected to do. Not doing them…meant no allowance.   Through that allowance, a child may be encouraged to buy something that they especially want; save part of it for a “rainy day” and give some  (maybe 10%) to the poor or the church.

Things have changed drastically it seems.  Some children have grown up to be adults and have decided that “crime pays”.   To keep these people from killing each other, one city has decided to PAY them to be good.  You can read all about it in an article written by Tim Murphy  .   Crime was so bad in Richmond, CA that the cry was “do anything…to stop it”.

 

OFFICE OF NEIGHBORHOOD SAFETY/METRO

Neighborhood Safety Director DeVone Boggan in Richmond, CA photo credit: Kristopher Skinner/Staff

This is when they came up with the idea of paying criminals not to kill each other or anyone else. DeVone Boggan became the director of the Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS). His committee members combed the streets of Richmond, making a list of criminals that they would approach with a financial offer.  The police, at one point complained about the ONS because their policy  was not to pass any information to the police department. Some criminals who agreed to try the ONS’s proposals were being paid up to $1,000 a month for this arrangement.

At the onset, the crime rate went down about 10%, but by the end of writing his article about Richmond, Mr. Murphy came to his conclusion on the policy of paying for good behavior:

“…Three weeks after I met with Boggan, the city’s 137-day murder-free streak ended. A 38-year-old man was killed in a drive-by shooting,  and over the next few weeks, Richmond seemed to be sliding back to the bad old days. A 43-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man were gunned down within 24 hours of each other. A 30-year-old woman shot the 16-year-old father of her child in a dispute over his new girlfriend. A robber was shot and killed  during a break-in. None of them was on Boggan’s list.

   gun and money 2

It appears that some City Councilmen,  who spoke out about the validity of the program of payment to criminals for good behavior and asked for a investigation into use of finances  in Richmond, CA, were threatened.

Of course, Mr. Hoggan celebrates some successes in his article for the N.Y. Times .

Mr. Hoggan writes “…In 2014, we celebrated the lowest number of firearm assaults and homicides in more than four decades. Richmond recorded a 76 percent reduction in homicides and a 69 percent reduction in firearm assaults from 2007, when the Office of Neighborhood Safety was created. In reality, we’ve achieved these results not simply by the cash incentive. Our change agents work with about 150 clients a year, at a cost of about $20,000 per person, which pays for daily mentoring, coaching and companionship. By comparison, it costs our city about $200,000 to hire one new police officer.”  (The ONS is funded by the people of Richmond and at time asks for donations.)

According to writer, Megan Walsh,  The police do not work with ONS, though, and there have been tensions and, sometimes, embarrassments. In 2011, a brawl broke out when rival gang members arrived at City Hall to pick up their checks. The ONS staff refused to hand over the names of those involved. Bill Johnson, director of the National Association of Police Organizations, says that can send a message that police aren’t part of the solution — which in turn could be “corroding the social fabric we all have to live under.”

Maybe this is why  people do not speak out to what is wrong or degrading to the moral values of the communities around us.  Fear is a weapon that not only terrorist use but by those who have “sold their soul” to evil ways.

Michael Linsin gave some advice to teachers about not bribing their students with rewards if they will do their best work.  I think his advise could also be applied to any town, state or nation that might be considering a similar program as Richmond.  Here it is in part:

 

 “Rewards lead to entitlement. When you offer rewards(money) in return for good behavior, you create a peculiar sense of entitlement. They’ll feel entitled to receive something for merely doing what is expected….

 Rewards cheapen the intrinsic motivation to behave. Being rewarded to behave cheapens the intrinsic merit of being a valued citizen. In other words, it puts a price tag on the priceless.

Rewards lead to more and more and more. When you put a price tag on good behavior by offering rewards… will demand higher and more frequent payments. Rewards, you see, are not only ineffective in the long term, but they weaken over time.”

Mr. Linsin concludes:  “The Ultimate Reward   Good behavior is its own reward because it offers one self-respect and confidence…”

teacher teaches childrenIf a person has no confidence or self-respect…or has never been taught right from wrong, how will paying him change his heart or motivation to not kill, steal or commit crimes?

 

 

 

One has to ask, “What is our society coming to?”  Have we become so callused and insensitive to what is right and wrong that we no longer have conscience?   Yes, there is a big problem with incarceration and an over-crowded jail system.   Has this problem become so big that “Do the crime…serve the time” no longer has meaning?

   Is parenting so bad among many parts of our society that we are no longer teaching right from wrong to our children?  Are we  allowing impressionable minds to watch so much violence on T.V. and video games, that even our young people are becoming de-sensitized?  This would also apply to children who must endure alcoholic, drug addicted or abusive parents…to them or to each other.

When I was an Assistant Principal to elementary students in Florida, there was so much misbehaving in the classroom that I had to take care of.  When taking a child to my office, I would ask them to lay down on a blanket that I had next to my desk.  Within minutes, the child would be totally asleep and stay that way sometimes for hours.  A security officer at one of my schools, told me that I should ride with him some night into the community.  He said I would see little children from ages 5-10 out on the street with parents who were gathering for who knows what reason.  Children did not do homework; read with parents, or get the sleep they needed.  Of course the same students came to school hungry the next morning for the free government provided breakfast.  Even if some children are not roaming the streets late at night, they may be left in their rooms with a TV or computer as a sitter, with no expected time to crawl into bed for a good night’s rest.  More and more is being exposed of teens who are finding themselves victims of the internet crime.   America, we must wake up!

Are we ignoring teaching our children because we also have an addiction to the electronic devises around us?parent texting

How much time do we spend reading and sharing conversation that teach values to our children or grandchildren?

Drug addiction has reached a new high, even among the middle class and elite that often leads to crime to feed the habit.  Will we also begin to pay the dealers not to deal?  Is that also what Richmond is doing?  Of course that would not work, for the profit margin difference to deal or not to deal would be ridiculous.  So many questions…and so few answers to a society that needs new spiritual and moral revival  We must have an awakening within ourselves and our communities.    It will take leadership as well as the ordinary person to make a difference.  It is not easy to work hard; get an education and then find a job to support oneself.  Fast money is alluring and deceptive.  The rich and famous like sports stars and entertainers, who are looked up to by much of our society have a responsibility to speak out to the value of hard work and perseverance.

I hope that Richmond, CA will find an answer to their criminal element…and for all communities that suffer from the problem of crime. Paying the criminal to be “good men and women” may not be the answer.  In most cases, no amount of bribery will change a soul.   Only God can do that.  Perhaps Dr. Phil says it best,  “When are we going to stop rewarding  bad behavior?”

 

 


A Culture Forgives Honor Killings

The unbelievable story of a woman who simply  loved and married a man outside of her faith has been made into a documentary.  Saba Qaiser’s  father attempted to murder her, but she survived his misnamed “Honor Killing”.  This documentary about Saba Qaiser’s ordeal will be presented at the Academy Awards.  The media exposure may hopefully be the beginning of a new revolution against abusing or murdering women because they make their own life decisions.

The New York Times author, Nicholas Kristof, has written an article about this attempted  murder and the culture that expects the victim to forgive.  After the forgiveness, life then will go on as usual and more women will be at risk from this practice.

Saba Quaiser in movie A Girl in the River

(Saba Qaiser in “A Girl in the River,” an Oscar-­nominated documentary about her survival of an attempted “honor killing” after she fell in love and married. photo credit HBO)

In one of my previous blogs, Wake Up Men…Your Women are at Risk,  featured the story of an American journalist, Lara Login, who was assaulted and raped by men within the same culture as Saba.  Lara was covering what was supposed to be a new beginning for all people of Egypt known as the Arab Spring.   This uprising did nothing for the women caught in the jaws of time and tradition.

Woman and governments around the world need to stand up for those who have suffered for centuries under such brutality.   One may ask what can  be done if traditions of a culture has been around for thousands of years?  It will take determined leaders of  country after country to change their laws in order to protect the women of their societies.  The problem with this is that the male leaders in power are often part of the same culture.

Wrongs have to be challenged, but it will take courage.  We, in America and other countries abolished slavery; gave  women the right to vote; education, and the privilege of being protected from abusive families, husbands and others.   Yet, there is still suffering. Modern law stands on the side of the abused when actions are challenged and reported. It is hard to imagine the trauma that a woman, like Saba, goes through when she is told that it is her responsibility to forgive and forget….allowing her attacker to go free.

Here is Mr. Kristof’s article

 

 

 


Challenger…Remembering a teacher

Challenger_flight_51-l_crew and Teacher Christa McAuliffe

Today marks 30 years since The Challenger disaster.  As a teacher and a resident of Florida, I remember it well.  My fifth graders and I went out of the classroom onto the school yard to witness the launch.  They were so excited.  This teacher, my colleague…even though I had never met her…was making history.  She was taking the ride of her life and had brought her experiments with her to share again with her students and school children of the world.   Sadly, she would never have that opportunity.   I honor Christa McAuliffe today…her courage, excitement, dedication and bravery, along with her team mates who perished with her.  Christa McAuliffe space

Sharon Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher to fly in space. Selected from among more than 11,000 applicants from the education profession for entrance into the astronaut ranks.

Challenger launch

Oct. 5, 1984  Space Shuttle Challenger Photographed by astronaut Paul J. Weitz, who was piloting the Shuttle training aircraft (STA).

Christa’s companion astronauts were as follows:  (Information provided by NASA)

  • scobeeThe spacecraft commander was Francis R. (Dick) Scobee.Scobee was born on May 19, 1939, in Cle Elum, Washington, and graduated from the public high school in Auburn, Washington, in 1957. He then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, training as a reciprocating engine mechanic but longing to fly. He took night courses and in 1965 completed a B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Arizona. This made it possible for Scobee to receive an officer’s commission and enter the Air Force pilot training program. He received his pilot’s wings in 1966 and began a series of flying assignments with the Air Force, including a combat tour in Vietnam. Scobee also married June Kent of San Antonio, Texas, and they had two children, Kathie R. and Richard W., in the early 1960s. He attended the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, in 1972 and thereafter was involved in several test programs. As an Air Force test pilot Scobee flew more than 45 types of aircraft, logging more than 6,500 hours of flight time.In 1978 Scobee entered NASA’s astronaut corps and was the pilot of STS-41-C, the fifth orbital flight of the Challenger spacecraft, launching from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 6, 1984. During this seven-day mission the crew successfully retrieved and repaired the ailing Solar Maximum Satellite and returned it to orbit. This was an enormously important mission, because it demonstrated the capability that NASA had long said existed with the Space Shuttle to repair satellites in orbit.
  •  Michael John smithMichael J. Smith, born on April 30, 1945 in Beaufort, North Carolina. At the time of the Challenger accident a commander in the U.S. Navy, Smith had been educated at the U.S. Naval Academy, class of 1967, and received an M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1968. From there he underwent aviator training at Kingsville, Texas, and received his wings in May 1969. After a tour as an instructor at the Navy’s Advanced Jet Training Command between 1969 and 1971, Smith flew A- 6 “Intruders” from the USS Kitty Hawk in Southeast Asia.
  • ResnickJudith  Judith Resnik was one of three mission specialists on Challenger. Born on April 5, 1949 at Akron, Ohio, the daughter of Dr. Marvin Resnik, a respected Akron optometrist, and Sarah Resnik. Brought up in the Jewish religion, Resnik was educated in public schools before attending Carnegie-Mellon University, where she received a B.S. in electrical engineering in 1970, and the University of Maryland, where she took at Ph.D. in the same field in 1977. Resnik worked in a variety of professional positions with the RCA corporation in the early 1970s and as a staff fellow with the Laboratory of Neurophysiology at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, between 1974 and 1977.Selected as a NASA astronaut in January 1978, the first cadre containing women, Resnik underwent the training program for Shuttle mission specialists during the next year. Thereafter, she filled a number of positions within NASA at the Johnson Space Center, working on aspects of the Shuttle program. Resnik became the second American woman in orbit during the maiden flight of Discovery, STS-41-D, between August 30 and September 5, 1984. During this mission she helped to deploy three satellites into orbit; she was also involved in biomedical research during the mission. Afterward, she began intensive training for the STS-51- L mission on which she was killed.
  • Ronald McNairRonald E. McNair was the second of three mission specialists aboard Challenger. Born on October 21, 1950 in Lake City, South Carolina, McNair was the son of Carl C. McNair, Sr., and Pearl M. McNair. He achieved early success in the segregated public schools he attended as both a student and an athlete. Valedictorian of his high school class, he attended North Carolina A&T State University where in 1971 he received a B.S. degree in physics. He went on to study physics at MIT, where he specialized in quantum electronics and laser technology, completing his Ph.D. in 1977. As a student he performed some of the earliest work on chemical HF/DF and high pressure CO lasers, publishing path breaking scientific papers on the subject.
  • Ellison_Shoji_Onizuka_NASA2Ellison S. Onizuka, was the last of the three mission specialists. He had been born in Kealakekua, Kona, Hawaii, on June 24, 1946, of Japanese-American parents. He attended the University of Colorado, receiving B.S. and M.S. degrees in engineering in June and December 1969, respectively. While at the university he married Lorna Leido Yoshida of Hawaii, and the couple eventually had two children. He also participated in the Air Force R.O.T.C. program, leading to a commission in January 1970. Onizuka served on active duty with the Air Force until January 1978 when he was selected as a NASA astronaut. With the Air Force in the early 1970s he was an aerospace flight test engineer at the Sacramento Air Logistics Center. After July 1975 he was assigned to the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California, as squadron flight test officer and later as chief of the engineering support section.When Onizuka was selected for the astronaut corps he entered into a one year training program and then became eligible for assignment as a mission specialist on future Space Shuttle flights. He worked on orbiter test and checkout teams and launch support crews at the Kennedy Space Center for the first two Shuttle missions. Since he was an Air Force officer on detached duty with NASA, Onizuka was a logical choice to serve on the first dedicated Department of Defense classified mission. He was a mission specialist on STS-51-C, taking place 24-27 Jan. 1985 on the Discoveryorbiter. The Challenger flight was his second Shuttle mission.
  • 220px-Gregory_Jarvis_(NASA)_croppedGregory B. Jarvis, a payload specialist, worked for the Hughes Aircraft Corp.’s Space and Communications Group in Los Angeles, California, and had been made available for the Challenger flight by his company. Jarvis had been born on August 24, 1944, in Detroit, Michigan. He had been educated at the State University of New York at Buffalo, receiving a B.S. in electrical engineering (1967); at Northeastern University, Boston, where he received an M.S. degree in the same field (1969); and at West Coast University, Los Angeles, where he completed coursework for an M.S. in management science (1973). Jarvis began work at Hughes in 1973 and served in a variety of technical positions until 1984 when he was accepted into the astronaut program under Hughes’ sponsorship after competing against 600 other Hughes employees for the opportunity. Jarvis’ duties on the Challenger flight had revolved around gathering new information on the design of liquid-fueled rockets.
  • Christa McAuliffeSharon Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher to fly in space. Selected from among more than 11,000 applicants from the education profession for entrance into the astronaut ranks, McAuliffe had been born on September 2, 1948, the oldest child of Edward and Grace Corrigan. Her father was at that time completing his sophomore year at Boston College, but not long thereafter he took a job as an assistant comptroller in a Boston department store and the family moved to the Boston suburb of Framingham. As a youth she registered excitement over the Apollo moon landing program, and wrote years later on her astronaut application form that “I watched the Space Age being born and I would like to participate.”McAuliffe attended Framingham State College in her hometown, graduating in 1970. A few weeks later she married her longstanding boyfriend, Steven McAuliffe, and they moved to the Washington, DC, metropolitan area so Steven could attend Georgetown Law School. She took a job teaching in the secondary schools, specializing in American history and social studies. They stayed in the Washington area for the next eight years, she teaching and completing an M.A. from Bowie State University, in Maryland. They moved to Concord, New Hampshire, in 1978 when Steven accepted a job as an assistant to the state attorney general. Christa took a teaching post at Concord High School in 1982, and in 1984 learned about NASA’s efforts to locate an educator to fly on the Shuttle. The intent was to find a gifted teacher who could communicate with students from space.NASA selected McAuliffe for this position in the summer of 1984 and in the fall she took a year-long leave of absence from teaching, during which time NASA would pay her salary, and trained for an early 1986 Shuttle mission. She had an immediate rapport with the media, and the teacher in space program received tremendous popular attention as a result. It is in part because of the excitement over McAuliffe’s presence on the Challenger that the accident had such a significant impact on the nation.

challenger memorial


“The Private Life is Dead”…so they thought

When revolution came to Russia and people were displaced from their homes and the life of which they were familiar,  revolutionaries believed that the private life was dead.  Only what the Communistic State dictated would be the real life.

If you have not seen recently the movie, Dr. Zhivago, it may be a good time to watch it again and remember what life was truly like in that period of history.  Russia was in turmoil; families devastated;  mob rule and anarchy prevailed; starvation came to many.   All were a part of this brutal time.

Czar Nicolas II and family

Czar Nicolas II and family

The signs of pending disaster were there, but most paid no attention until it was too late. Hatred for those with affluence and the ruling family of Russia ran deep.  Czar Nicolas II was the last Czar of Russia when he and his family were executed by the Russian Bolsheviks.

Bolsheviks storm Winter Palace in St. Petersburg November 7, 1917

Not until this  “workers paradise” fell apart did the world see what this false world view had produced.  It was easy to be deceived.

 

Today North Korea, which adopted the Communist and Socialist philosophy, can hardly feed its people. When viewed at night from space, their country looks almost dark compared to S. Korea.  Electricity is a luxury.

 

Proponents of Communist thought, the Cuban revolutionaries and dictators brought oppression to its people. This has kept them in poverty and want for decades. Hundreds risked their lives in boats to flee to the United States.  Only now, with the hope of something better, do the Cubans believe that their “private lives may not be dead.”  The N. Koreans have less hope.

Dr. Zhivago is not only about two people thrown together by war, but one of historic relevance.  Freedom is a word used liberally, but the truth of freedom of choice is not fully understood until it is no longer a part of one’s life. Under democracy, leaders can be voted in or out.  How this effects your private life is more important than can be imagined.

No, our freedoms nor our private lives are not dead. We must not let them die. In every society, there are those whose goals are to take them away.  History has proven that Russia and Germany did not heed this warning.  We should be keeping this in mind for the New Year, 2016.


Last of freedoms…Your Attitude and the Human Spirit

sadWhen someone has damaged your very soul and your meaning of life, it is easy to replay that situation mentally… in that it takes over much of one’s thinking.  The result:  that person or persons who did this thing has intruded into your life and taken over one of your most precious freedoms…your attitude, mind and your human spirit.  The privilege was not theirs. They have stolen it. Only you can take it back.

This was brought to me clearly when listening to a recent CBS news cast on the effect of terrorism and brutality on us psychologically, especially children.   In fact, it was an “Epiphany”(realization) of sorts to me personally in that I had experienced some deep sadness over the past year.  I found it a struggle not to think of this situation throughout the day….over and over again.

When I heard the words written by  Antoine Leiris to the terrorists who had killed his wife and the mother of his child, I knew this was a profound truth.

“You WILL NOT have my hatred.”

The report continues to tell of Viktor Frankl who had lost his wife in the Holocaust.

“Everything can be taken from a man (or woman) but one thing: the last of the human freedoms to choose one’s attitude.”   

It was these words that made me take hold of my sadness…my attitude…and confront within my own life,  that my JOY will not be destroyed.  Neither will my ability to LAUGH…and appreciate the good things of life. It made me look around me at the ones who show me love and the simple pleasures of sharing a meal and giving love back.

To those who read my blog, I ask that you will seriously consider your own hurts, disappointments, tragedies and sadness of life.  Speak out in your prayers and even your voice,  “YOU WILL NOT HAVE MY MIND, THOUGHTS or ATTITUDE.   Your action WILL NOT ruin my life.”

The joy of living!

The joy of living!

 

The impact of terrorism on the human spirit
A special video on one of our last FREEDOMS.  (enlarge screen for best viewing)


MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE 2015

Last Memorial Day, I posted this tribute to those who serve. I think it is good for another year and maybe many more to come….for we must not forget.

On this MEMORIAL DAY,  Boyer Writes honors all those who responded to the call of duty to country and all freedom stands for….especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

After viewing the slide presentation, you may want to look at the different wars throughout history where and when the United States has sent troops to fight.   We are just one country.  Multiply this country and all wars  of all countries in the world ….to make us one big, warring globe.

There are reasons, of course.  Some fight for their independence.  Others fight to maintain their freedom.  Many fight to rule over the weak, sick,and impoverished.

There are those who fight and murder in the name of God…religious wars.   Read your history and you will not be surprised for it happened when Muslims fought Christians; Christians fought in the Crusades; nations have tried to rid the world of Jews.

The Holy Scriptures tell us that we will call for “Peace….Peace….but there is no peace…”    Those who make predictions believe that before the coming of Christ to the earth a second time, there will be the greatest of all wars….in the Middle East.   This is not something for optimism.   Nevertheless, we are also told to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem”….and the world.   We cannot control governments, groups, or individuals  who hate and destroy…but pray we can do.

General MacArthur, the great general of World War II made this statement about war.  

” I pray that an omnipotent providence will summon all persons of goodwill to to the realization of the utter futility of war. We have known the bitterness of defeat, the exultation of triumph, and from both we have learned that there is no turning back. We must preserve in peace, what we won in war.

The destructiveness of the war potential, through progressive advances in scientific discovery has in fact now reached a point that revises the traditional concept of war. War, the most malignant scourge, and greatest sin of mankind, can no longer be controlled, only ABOLISHED! We are in a new era. If we do not devise some greater and more equitable means of settling disputes between nations, Armageddon will be at our door…” 

A MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE  

( Click on arrow; turn on sound and enlarge picture for best viewing.  Music by St. Olaf Choir) Warning: disturbing scenes of war wounded)

_______________________________

 Choose and click on a war listed to read information.

unknown soldier


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