Archive for March 16th, 2015


why bother?


A friend of mine from Seattle once told me that the barristas of that town call a drink consisting of decaf coffee, skim milk, and artificial sweetener a “Why Bother.” Give me high-octane coffee with whipping cream every time. I go through at least two carafes of the stuff each day. If I needed sugar (which I don’t), I would use the real thing—no high-fructose corn syrup for me.

From time to time, upon hearing the latest news about grandstanding US congressmen, greedy corporations, art-defiling terrorists, mean-spirited prosecutors and judges (or lazy, incompetent defense attorneys), I feel a twinge of despair and wonder if the nihilists might not have a point when they say that in the end life is meaningless and not worth the effort?

The notion usually passes as quickly as a belch or fart, but when presented with the underbelly of human nature with all its flaws, it can seem pretty demoralizing at first.

So why do we do it?  Why do we tackle issues and problems with seemingly insurmountable odds?

The first thing I would say is that it’s guaranteed there will be no progress if we don’t even try. You have to create your own meaning in life; it is never just handed to you. Meaning and satisfaction will always elude the lazy. People who don’t try are rarely surprised and delighted by the things that can and will be accomplished if they would only take the first step.

Last Friday’s post about Jordan Brown got over 7,600 views in only three days—and the traffic is still continuing today. This kind of response would have been unimaginable in the dark days long ago before you began following Jordan’ s case through this blog.

A couple weeks ago I announced an initiative we are undertaking with our law firm, Kutmus, Pennington and Hook, on behalf of four young men in Texas who were convicted as adults for acts committed when they were juveniles. In Texas v. Cameron Moon, the juvenile court was found to have erred in failing to conduct an individualized assessment of a 16-year-old’s circumstances before ordering that the youth to be tried for murder as an adult. The Texas high court affirmed a ruling vacating Cameron’s transfer to adult court, finding the record factually insufficient to justify the decision. We intend to use this ruling to vacate our young men’s wavers into adult court and initiate an appeal for each. They are languishing in prison for terms of 40 to 99 years.

It is time now to get started. I estimate that about $40,000 will need to be raised in order to cover the legal fees for the four young inmates—though the ultimate goal will depend on what we find through our research and experience, and is hence unknowable. In the meantime, we need to continue making deposits to their commissary accounts and continue to provide a safety net for the young people who have been—and will be—released from prison.

The fact remains that it is up to us to make the first step. Will you begin making this journey with me?

Will you please make it possible for us to try?

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Noah Francis Johnson performing “Try”


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