As somebody whose opinions on some things definitely differ from the majority here,
I, too, am a human being, who has not only met, made friends with, and talked with a number of people who've been caught up in given situations in some way oir other (notably Boston's busing crisis during the mid to late 1970's, as well as the years leading up to it), but I have also done a good bit of research and reading on this subject as well, hence enabling me to form opinions on it, even though I grew up in a suburb roughly 20 miles northwest of Boston, moving into the city later, which I'm glad I did.
The same thing holds true, to a certain extent, with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even though I've never met or talked to anyone who's been caught up in this conflict in any way. Yet, doing my own research/reading on the subject has enabled me to come up with and form my own opinions on this matter also. I believe that the time for Israel to withdraw its troops from West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, evacuate the Israeli jewish settlers from those territories, and to either dismantle the settler's housing or hand it over to the Palestinians, is long overdue and must be started in earnest....now.
Withdrawing from the Occupied Territories and allowing the Palestinians to create their own independent, sovereign nation-state alongside Israel would relieve Israel, its people, and its military of the onus of occupation. Israel would also regain much of the higher moral ground as well as the sympathy and support of the international community. Withdrawing from the Occupied Territories would also preserve Israel's jewish majority and character, and help it to become the Jewish Democratic Israel that it claims to be and is capable, imo, of becoming.
I also believe, however, that both Israel and the Arab world, including the Palestinian leadership, could/should also do its part by coming out and openly acknowledging their accountability in the decade-long conflict. This seemingly small step, imo, would be a big, important step forward in the right direction, without which peace cannot happen.
I also believe that there has to be a happy medium with regards to cops. While it's true that there are rogue cops who flagrantly abuse their power and should be brought to justice, it's also true that cops are needed around. As I pointed out on another thread, I believe that, very often, poor people, whoever they may be, have often received worse treatment from the cops. While it's true that cops see the uglier side of human life every day, hence having whatever prejudices they may harbor reinforced, part of it is due to the fact that the cop culture, in itself, creates the possibilities for this kind of abuse of power on the part of many cops, and partly because, unfortunately ( sorry to say this, folks), there are many more miscreants in the poorer neighborhoods, regardless of ethnicity/color.
All this, however, does not excuse the indiscriminate shootings, beatings, and raidings of wrong apartments, etc., that frequently take place in communities of color, making people justifiably distrustful of the cops. Yet, it's also true that poorer whites have not been exempt from rough treatment at the hands of cops either, which was what I was trying to explain earlier; while it definitely happens less often to poorer whites, it happens, nonetheless.
Regarding gun control--I believe that some form of gun control is necessary, and the school shootings, including the latest shootout at Virginia Tech by a clearly deranged person, underscores the necessity for gun control. One has to ask why people who are mentally ill, have a history of substance/alcohol abuse, or a criminal record continue to to get access to firearms, and why guns tend to flow illegally into various areas, resulting in countless deaths by handbuns in a number of neighborhoods, and why the United States has the highest murder rate by handguns in the Western World. Our society and culture has long been dependent upon and revolved around the gun, and, sadly, it's come home to roost. We're now witnessing the net results.
Most murders are crimes of passion, whether premeditated or not, that are committed by and against people that're known to each other. Most murders also occur in the home, during barroom brawls, or on streetcorners. There's no question but that someone who's really hell-bent on murder could beat, bludgeon, stab or strangle their victim to death. Tragically, however, the advent of handguns makes murder much, much easier--and more likely, to boot. The chances of surviving and/or fully recovering from a stabbing, beating, or even an attempted strangulation can be and sometimes are a little bit better, depending on how intense it is, and how deep it goes. A life is either abruptly ended or irrevocably altered, however, by the squeeze of a trigger and the crack of a pistol.
I firmly believe that more has to be done to prevent teenaged pregnancy, which is much more endemic here in the United States than it was some 40-50 years ago, even though it's always been an occurrence in this country. A teen who becomes pregnant not only ends up endangering her physical and mental health, but also impedes her chances for meaningful education and/or employment later on in life, at least in part because they often fail to finish school. They often end up on public assistance because it's their only option.
It's also clear that "abstinence-only" programs don't work. Programs that teach teens responsibility, the availabililty of birth control (emergency-plan B, and otherwise), and prudent sex education in the schools, as well as open adult/parental discussions about sex with teens would also help teens make more prudent decisions about sex and its consequences.
The gradual gutting and eroding of the 34-year-old Roe v. Wade ruling by subtle and not-so-subtle harassment of women who opt for abortions for whatever reason(s), plus the recent waiting period requirement for abortions that was just passed in Florida, have set a dangerous precedent, and will have equally dangerous consequences, not only for teens, but for adults as well, and for society aas a whole.
many conservatives are anti-welfare, but seem willfully ignorant of the fact that the outlawing of abortions of any kind, and the denial of access to birth control to minors, as well as the denial of sex education programs, will invariably make bad situations worse and increase the welfare roles.
A welfare system is necesssary in a democratic society. Many conservatives complain about the "lazy moochers" on welfare, but they're an infinitessimal minority, as opposed to being in the majority of people receiving welfare. Any large institution is bound to have afew people abusing it, but the vast majority of people on welfare are not abusers of welfare, are not lazy, and go on welfare because they're going through some sort of crisis (i. e. divorce, illness, loss of job, etc.), are physically and/or mentally challenged and therefore unable to work, who are elderly, not to mention young, pregnant teens, who're the tip of the iceberg. All of the above-mentioned factors point to why the so-called "welfare-to-work" programs proposed by many conservatives have not worked.
Now....regarding Boston's busing program: Here's yet another aspect of it: In the mid-1970's, when mandated school busing came to and took Boston by storm, much of Boston was still reeling--and seething from the affects of urban renewal policies gone awry, neighborhoods being bulldozed out of existence only to be replaced by not-so-attractive highrises, or being ghettoized by unscrupulous blockbusting tactics, as well as things such as airport and highway expansion that sliced through and/or encroached upon many neighborhoods across the city.
Many of Boston's workingclass whites, particularly those residing in neighborhoods such as Southie, Charlestown and East Boston, and who were as poor as the blacks in Roxbury, North Dorchester and mattapan, were also hurt by and/or had witnessed many of the above-mentioned occurrences, including airport and highway expansion, and became alarmed.
The all-white Boston Public School Committee, under the auspices of politicians such as (the late) Louise Day Hicks and John Kerrigan (who was no relation to ice-skater Nancy Kerrigan, btw), rode on the coattails of white workingclass anger, frustrations and resentments along the lines of race and class, playing to their fears and worst instincts, affectively coaching and bending them into belligerence and resistance. The highly political Boston School Committee back then, which was also steeped in much patronage and no small amount of opportunism, fought desegregation of Boston's public schools tooth and nail, at every turn, whipping up much of Boston's white workingclass population into doing likewise.
Inotherwords, the Boston School Committee back then frequently made bad situations far, far worse.
Years of intransigence and malfeasance on the part of the all-white Boston School Committee back then
ultimately resulted in the implementation of a poorly-designed, poorly-executed, far-reaching and large-scale cross-city busing program, which sent pre-existing racial tensions and hostilities in Boston soaring way, way up over the top, to the point where it was out of control.
All of the above having been said, I believe that all of the above-mentioned factors, along with the equally disastrous and maliciously-administered B-BURG program, which had ostensibly been designed to help low-income, first-time black homebuyers to break out of the ghetto and achieve homeownership for the first tiime, provided the recipe for a disaster, which ultimately came to pass.