Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

Shameless self-promotion of my writing skills or lack there of.

Monday, January 31, 2005

The Reverend Tom Poorme

I was watching the news the other night and saw a story that I can’t quite shake out of my mind. It began with a clip of card dealers being trained to work the Black Jack tables in a casino. The voice over began describing the plan that Governor Henry set into motion and how it will bring millions of dollars into our state that will go towards healthcare and education. Sounds good so far; we have some of the lowest teacher salaries in the nation. Oklahoma could really use the money.
They went on to interview several people who proudly declared that they used to go to Tunica, Kansas City, or any of a number of casinos once a year, but now would be able to keep that money in our community. What’s more since they have less expenses without a room or travel fare, they had larger budgets to gamble with.
Then they dropped the bomb: Of course not all Oklahomans are excited about the extended gaming. Opponents say that we will experience many painful and very expensive social consequences. We spoke to a man that we will call Tom. He lost his marriage and home because he developed a gambling problem.
They begin rolling footage of a dimly lit room with a large plant in the corner. Sitting beside the plant but obscured by shadows, is Tom. “What you will see is a dramatic rise in bankruptcy. The Divorce rates are going to soar and families will be torn apart. This is a vicious cycle that starts here.”
I half expected him to break into a southern Baptist preacher voice and declare that cards are evil, Capitol E, little v, little I, and giant L, evil. It wasn’t my fault that I took my mortgage to the blackjack table, the devil made me do it. Give me a freaking break. If you can’t afford to gamble, don’t and if you can’t control yourself, get help. But don’t expect the rest of us to deny an opportunity to better our children’s future, just because you are too weak to say no, Tom.
To further my point, since we have just legalized the extended gambling, I can only assume that he lost his home and marriage by throwing his money away in another state. If we would have had the games here, his stupidity could have help reduce the size of my son’s classroom. If they are going to gamble, they will do it whether we benefit from it or not. Don’t give me any of that, but now it is more accessible B.S. either. Where there’s a will there’s a way. There have been bookies and underground gambling in this state for a century. Which led to a certain amount of criminal activity that was by it’s nature forced to be associated with it. You lose big, can’t pay and get beat down or worse. Now these nefarious establishments should whither up and go away. What’s more, than money that was putting their children through private school will now improve the schools for all of our children.
I know I am coming off a little insensitive to the plight of the weak minded, but I do sympathize with them to a certain extent. Maybe they really don’t realize that they are flushing their whole lives down the toilet until they see the swirl picking up speed. Maybe they think their life is just a roller coaster ride with bigger peaks and valleys. It just so happens that their current valley is really deep. It is always possible that they don’t care enough to help themselves. Whatever, I just wished they would quit finding these assholes and putting them on TV.

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