The Steps to Nowhere

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The Steps to Nowhere

 

I pass by those steps every day.

Sometimes more than once.

Up to step three and then nothing.

 

Why are they there?

Maybe a reminder to someone?

A sign of what used to be, or could be?

 

Those concrete steps sit there alone.

Just a few weeds on their sides.

Up to step three and then nothing.

 

A child’s playhouse, a tool shed?

A small roadside store long ago?

Maybe a small home for a young couple?

 

Worn and rough with small rocks you see.

Refined and smooth edges gone away.

Up to step three and then nothing.

 

Possibly what is left of something that burned?

A glimpse of the what remains to remind them of the past.

Or maybe, could they be steps to the future?

 

A beautiful field with flowers and trees.

A picture of beauty is behind those steps.

Up to step three and then something.

 

Those steps almost call out for someone to use them.

For someone to see them for more than they appear.

Driving at a slower pace to get a glance.

 

They draw you to them and make you curious.

Maybe I’ll stop and take a look.

Up to step three and then something.

 

A very visible path led the way.

Up to step one. Don’t worry what others think.

Stepping on the first one and everything grew brighter.

 

Then, two and three were like I didn’t take them myself.

What was not visible before now sprawled out before me.

Up to step three and then everything.

 

By David P. Smith, MD

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Mississippi Sudafed Law May Be Short-Sighted

The State of Mississippi passed a law in 2010 which banned sales of pseudoephedrine without a prescription. The law has resulted in a dramatic improvement in which 698 total methamphetamine (meth) incidents with 314 operational labs were identified in 2010 while there were 119 incidents with only 8 labs in 2013. Other states such as Tennessee are considering similar laws and Oregon already has a law in place as restrictive as the Mississippi law. In Tennessee, there has been a product tracking program which restricts sales, but has not resulted in a decline in the number of meth lab incidents. These statistics make it clear that banning sale of pseudoephedrine without a prescription has stopped a large number of the producers from operating within the state with precursors obtained in the state.

Along with the numbers of incidents and labs decreasing, usage has decreased. According to the Center for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, among Mississippi 9th through 12th grade students, usage dropped from 6.3% in 1999 to 3% in 2011. Usage of certain drugs is well known to follow trends and there was already a decline is usage occurring even prior to Mississippi’s law being enacted. Educational programs have attempted to teach youth about the dangers of meth usage and this has helped to have a positive effect along with the law changes. The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the number of homes with drugs where Mississippi children were present fell by 81 percent after the Mississippi law took effect.

This all looks great, however, the current improvements may only be temporary. Oregon has had a law similar to Mississippi’s since 2006 and then saw arrest rates related to methamphetamine increase by 36 % from 2009 to 2012. The Tupelo Daily Journal reported that there had been an increase in the number of meth arrests in 2013. While local meth labs have declined in Mississippi since 2010, in Alabama, they saw a decline in the rate of meth labs in 2011 and have only a tracking program in place. Therefore, the picture is not completely clear how effective the law will be in the long term.

Initial declines in meth incidents may result from product being initially unavailable until drug trafficking can bring it back into the state through other means. The primary supply (80%) of meth now comes from Mexico, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Mexican drug cartels are now replacing the small in-state producers. Coastal areas of Mississippi have had an increase in local production. In Hinds County, MS, nearly ten kilograms of meth was found during an arrest valued at $1.3 million; it originated in Mexico. It has taken time for these drug cartels to get their distribution linkage of small groups together so that they provide for the demand that will increase if the supply is here available and they would not be supplying it if it were not being used. The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics has had to shift its focus from the local small suppliers to having to track the drug cartels which are fewer in number, but have the potential to supply even more meth than what used to be available. While a home lab can produce a few ounces of meth, these Mexican “super labs” can produce a reported ten pounds of “ice” daily, according to a GAO report to Congress. Also, the homemade meth is only half as potent and dingy colored compared to the crystalline appearing ice which is said to look like rock candy.

With the passage of more time, it will be more clear if Mississippi’s law will continue to have the effect that was intended. While the users of meth now are getting greater access to more potent forms of the drug, Mississippi consumers are still frustrated with not being able to treat their colds without greater expense and inconvenience which results in lost productivity at home and in the workplace. Those leaders, such as State Senator Chris McDaniel (currently running for the seat held by Thad Cochran), who urged caution and voted against the more restrictive laws in Mississippi, already look much more intelligent than they used to appear to the more short-sighted among us.

KKK Monument Next to MLK’s ?

The Satanic Temple, a group represented by the ACLU, wants to place on the Statehouse lawn in Oklahoma City a bronze monument featuring Baphomet, a symbol of The Church of Satan. The Satanic Temple group doesn’t like it that, on the Oklahoma Statehouse lawn, there is a monument of the Ten Commandments so they want to put their monument right next to it. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin’s spokesman, Alex Weintz, told Fox News, “There will never be a satanic monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol and the suggestion that there might be is absurd.” As might be anticipated, the courts will have to weigh in on this matter along with all of the other attacks from the emboldened people of recent years who do not like hearing or seeing anything regarding God.

Lucien Graves, spokesman for the Satanic Temple, stated that they were “really coming along fast” and had raised $20,000 for this project. Baphomet has features including the head of a goat, two angelic wings, a raised right arm and left arm down symbolizing the Hierophant (as if to bless, with two fingers pointing skyward and two pointing down as if to form a bridge between Heaven and Earth), and hooves sticking out below its robe. Baphomet is thought to be a demon and was first named in writings dating back to 1098, but also which for several hundred years, at least, represents Satan.

The monument has a pentagram in the background and two smiling children in the foreground standing and looking up to Baphomet. Also visible on the figure of their monument is a caduceus in the place of phallus emerging from under the robe, which is right in front of the two standing children. The robed figure, however, has hidden other features of Baphomet which represent male and female, including female breasts; if that had been featured on this statue it would have been even more shocking. Even with this ghastly symbolism, this monument is designed to give the appearance of Baphomet being admired and revered by these children. Just as the deceiving robe allows for hiding some of the shocking features of this demon, the monument is deceptive also with the blatant usage of children. If The Satanic Temple wanted to be truthful about Satanists, they should have placed an altar in front of the demon to symbolize their ritualistic sexual abuse, torture, and murder of children as sacrifices.

The Oklahoma chapter of the ACLU has already filed suit against the state for placing the Ten Commandments monument and thinks there should be no monuments to anything religious on state property. Quoted on FoxNews.com, Brady Henderson, Oklahoma ACLU’s legal director, stated, “We don’t think the state should place religious artifacts on state property unless the people of the entire state agree with its message. One of the concerns is that even if you allow all faiths to place something in a public area, it quickly becomes a farce.” He pointed out that when Florida recently allowed for other religious expression near a manger scene, “What happened is that you had someone placing a festivus pole made out of beer cans and one group placing a pile of spaghetti on top of a chair. So these types of things do nothing to uplift people’s faiths and beliefs. There’s nothing served by belittling them.” What Mr. Henderson should consider is the federal holiday of Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ and it is not about anything else. Even considering allowing the side show like happened in Florida is ludicrous. Allowing a manger scene, which depicts what the Christmas holiday actually represents, to be shared by other unrelated displays makes no logical sense.

The Ten Commandments is a logical display to be on the lawn of Oklahoma Statehouse and other displays should not be allowed. This monument does not represent the establishment of a state religion any more than it does above the east entrance to the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.; Moses is sculpted there along with two tablets, inspired by the Ten Commandments. The Oklahoma Statehouse is displaying the truth about our laws being based upon Judeo-Christian concepts; no knowledgeable person can deny that fact.

Putting a monument depicting a demon next to the Ten Commandments is just another move by those who do not want to acknowledge God, or hate God. If their illogical approach to trying to get this monument placed succeeds, then the ACLU may want to also consider filing suit in Washington, D.C., regarding the monument of Martin Luther King, who was a Christian preacher. If a group wanted the right to have a monument extolling the Ku Klux Klan next the Martin Luther King statue, because they objected to King’s representing Christian faith, then they could use this same approach. Most would recognize such a blatant and disrespectful attempt for what it was and not for what it claimed to be. It should be the same for the Oklahoma Statehouse Ten Commandments monument. Of America’s fifty -five founders of the Constitution, fifty-two were members of established orthodox churches in the colonies. The chaplaincy of the U.S. Senate has been in place since 1789. There are Bible verses etched in stone on buildings and monuments all over our nation’s capital. It is truly a very significant part of our history; can the adherents of Satanism claim the same? I think not. Atheists and Satanists need to get over it – there was a very strong influence of the Ten Commandments upon our nation’s founding fathers, and the laws and institutions they founded, from the start and this display simply acknowledges that fact.