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​What Should Every American Teenager Know?

Gadfly | October 30th, 2021

By Ed Raymond 

fargogadfly@gmail.com

Should White Kids Know Ancestors Went to Two Barbecues on a Saturday?

1. From a report on lynchings in Georgia: “On May 19, 1918, Mary Turner, a Black woman who was eight months pregnant, was lynched by a white mob from Brooks County , Georgia, at Folsom’s Bridge 16 miles north of Valdosta, for speaking publicly against the lynching of her husband the day before. A white mob bound her feet, hung her from a tree facing down, threw gasoline on her, and burned the clothes off her body. Mrs Turner was still alive when the mob took a large butcher’s knife to her abdomen, cutting the unborn baby from her body. When the baby fell from Mary Turner, a member of the mob crushed the crying baby’s head with his foot. The mob then riddled Mrs. Turner’s body with hundreds of bullets, killing her. Between 1870 and 1950 the state of Georgia had 594 terror lynchings.”

Postcards with pictures of hanging burning bodies were sent to relatives and friends around the country. Lynchings were often scheduled for Saturday afternoons so all adults and families with children could attend. One sender of postcards picturing a human body hanging from a tree and burning wrote these lines: “I attended a barbecue in the afternoon and then went to the country club for a barbecue supper.”

This is part of our history. Should it be taught in our K-12 schools? Yes___ No___

In the Old Days We Had Tails

2. After an analysis of numerous surveys, 54% of Americans agree with this statement: “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.” Charles Darwin shocked Victorian audiences with the idea that humans descended from other primates who had tails. He described the structure each one of us sits on. The coccyx, also called the tailbone, is a triangular arrangement of three to five bones at the very bottom of our spines. It is no longer considered necessary. Tarzan had one but did not use it much in swinging tree to tree. It does provide a connecting point for several muscles. When God made Eve from Adam, He did not forget the coccyx, but Eve had five times the trouble Adam had with it because, when sitting, the coccyx in women is more susceptible to injury.

For a half billion years our ancestors sprouted tails, and when we evolved into primates, tails helped us stay balanced as we raced from tree to tree. Genetic scientists are saying that about 25 million years ago we went through a mutation that eliminated long tails. As an example, when apes and gorillas appeared millions of years ago they did not have visible tails. So far, researchers have identified about 30 genes involved with the creation of a tail.

This is part of our science and history. Should it be taught in K-12 schools? Yes__ No___

In a Country of Family Values, Why Do We Bury 100,000 Unclaimed Bodies?

3. What does this statistic say about our family life? American coroners, county officials, and funeral administrators estimate unclaimed bodies number about 100,000 a year out of the 3.4 million who die. In a county cemetery 20 miles outside Phoenix, authorities bury an average of a dozen Costco urns a week. Last year they buried 551 unclaimed cremated bodies. Maricopa County spends about $1 million a year on tracking and burying unclaimed bodies. In some cases families refuse to claim the bodies because they have no money to bury their relatives. Funerals can run over $7,500 in many jurisdictions. Maryland buried 2,510 unclaimed bodies in 2020, most dying from COVID-19.

Do you agree with a Connecticut state legislator that unclaimed bodies represent the fact that American families are in crisis? Yes___No___

The Bible Claims God Checks Every Fetus in the Womb for Damages

4. The two largest American religions are opposed to the formation of the LBGTQIA2S+ community and same-sex marriage. The Vatican claims gays are “intrinsically disordered” (whatever that means!), and fundamentalist Christians such as Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson, and the Falwells preach that gays are under the power of Satan.

Do you agree with the positions taken by these two religious powers? Yes___No___

If Climate Change Is a Hoax, Why Are We Having the Hottest Days in History?

5. On June 20, a tropical depression formed near Micronesia in the western Pacific, then moved past Guam at 40 miles an hour, hit Japan as a typhoon with 92 mile-an-hour winds, then weakened and seemed to die near Alaska. But it had created what is called a “heat dome” (a high pressure system in which hot air is trapped), which then stalled over British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon. Perhaps you remember that 586 people died from the heat in British Columbia, where many homes and businesses are not air-conditioned. In Portland, Oregon, scientists predicted that the temperature would reach as high as 107 degrees. The heat would be life-threatening. On Sunday afternoon, June 27th, the temperature reached 124 degrees, electric cables on the streetcar system melted, asphalt buckled in the streets at 180 degrees, and eggs were fried on the sidewalks. Even in the wealthy areas of Portland the temperature reached 111 degrees. Thousands of crows in the city did not fly during the heat dome. Many people died. According to the World Health Organization, 166,000 people died from the heat between 1998 and 2017.

Do you think humans contribute to global warming—or the more popular term, climate change? Yes___ No___

Science Marches on Because of Knowledge Gained Over the Centuries

6. It took me a moment to realize that N.D. Republican State Senator Rick Becker had just made the most stupid anti-science public statement I have ever printed: “In other words, they (Biden and Democrats) are not asking you to listen to the science. Instead, they are asking you to listen to Dr. Fauci, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health organization, public health officials, and physicians.” Wha*+!!? Rick, Those are the virus experts. They have been working on viruses for more than a half-century. Science is the only way to get to a final answer in many fields. Sometimes it can take centuries.

In the 1960’s, scientists had discovered an early Viking settlement in Newfoundland between the years 990 to 1050 using carbon dating. But now we have a new and more precise method. On Oct. 13th the University of Groningen in the Netherlands reported scientists had analyzed the growth rings in three chunks of wood found at the Viking site. The Vikings were there in 1021. First, the wood had been cut by steel, not stone. No locals had steel at the time. The scientists also knew that a solar storm around 992 had shot high energy waves into the growth rings. Each wood slab had 29 subsequent growth rings. This signaled the tree had been cut in 1021, exactly. Mysteries about the settlement remain, but the date of the wood cutting is correct. That’s the way science works—sometimes. Do you agree? Yes___ No___

Only Six Countries Out of 191 Do Not Have Paid Leaves. Take a Guess About the U.S.

7. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, A Rhodes Scholar who speaks eight languages, is the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana and the first gay to run for the presidency, recently adopted new-born twins with his husband. He took a paternity leave from his job for one month to help his husband with the twins. Only six countries of the 191 in the world do not have paid paternity leave. Other industrialized countries average 12 months of paid maternity, paternity, and sick leave. Do you support paid leaves? Yes___No___

Are Religions Going Out With a Whimper Waving Collection Plates?

8. Do you have to go to church services to be religious? Inquiring ministers want to know. With the fundamentalist Christians committing religious hari-kari by supporting that most immoral man Donald Trump for president, church attendance is way down because of righteous disgust and the pandemic. Many have dropped their affiliation and turned to online services more to their liking. Meanwhile, fewer collection plates are being passed. Some judges have said God is only present in church buildings, while others say God is also available in the home. Do these Christians still believe in Jesus Christ? Not much. Recently Infinity Concepts and Grey Matter Research found that 45% of those who experienced online services now believe that online is equal or better than the in-person experience. Do you agree? Yes___No__

More Than 65 Countries Have Made Abortion Legal, and the List Is Growing

9. The evidence is overwhelming that humans have been performing abortions since early history, and written evidence to that fact has been available from the last 5,500 years. Many Roman Catholic countries have decriminalized and made abortion legal in the last three decades. Mexico, one of the most Catholic countries in our hemisphere, just made it legal in October. Irish women finally got tired of going to England for abortions, so they forced Catholic politicians to make abortions legal in very  Catholic Ireland. Catholic Brazil is going to make it legal soon. The Vatican is surrounded by Italians who have made abortion legal. And that is where Catholic churches have been sold to fast-food outlets. The Republican Party has managed to convince fundamentalist Christians that it is against abortion—only to use it as a political weapon against Democrats who are mainly pro-choice. At least 70% of the American people support Roe v. Wade. Do you? Yes___No___

How Do We Stop Firearm Deaths and Wounds? Cremate All the Guns!

10. That’s not going to happen. Not when we base our gun laws on the 18th Century musket with “originalist” judges. A rifle-barreled musket could fire one ball a minute about 300 yards, but without any degree of accuracy. I earned a Marine Corps Expert Riflemen’s Badge in 1952 by hitting a small target consistently with a semi-automatic Garand M-1 rifle at 600 yards. One AR-15 owner today has the firepower of 700 musket owners. An AR-15 style rifle today has a range of over 1,000 yards, depending on the ammunition. Any “qualified” person today can buy a .50 caliber sniper rifle that can destroy an engine block a mile away. Mexican drug cartels love them. The only way to reduce firearm deaths and wounds today is to limit magazines and clips to six rounds, limit the muzzle velocities of ammunition to less than a 1,000 ft. per second, limit the purchase of ammunition, ban ghost guns, register all weapons so they can be traced, pass good red flag laws, dramatically improve the background check system, and limit sales of possible automatic weapons and parts to civilians. This isn’t going to happen either. Do you agree with the changes I have selected? Yes___No___. 

And keep repeating your thoughts and prayers. In the 60 days of August and September this year, there were 97 firearm incidents, 56 of them with “shots fired” in the K-12 schools of the Divided States of America. In the last 50 years, the gun culture has killed 1,500,000 Americans.  

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