Monday, October 24, 2011

Hammer versus the Velvet Glove

I was recently asked my solution preference when dealing with political correctness. Am I more likely to use the hammer or the velvet glove when people take very simple things and make them difficult, or when someone is so concerned with political correctness that they ignore common sense? My answer – the hammer. Why? Because I believe political correctness is a major bane on American society. We’re so concerned about not offending the minority that we step on the majority.

A good knock in the head with a hammer is just what this country needs. We trample the rights of the very people that make this country great. For example, if a child doesn’t want to pray or exercise any religious beliefs in school, let them read a book or just sit quietly. But don’t deny my child his right to pray and exercise his religious beliefs for fear of offending yours. If an atheist athlete wants to give the glory of his touchdown to the coach, fine, let him. But don’t deny the Christian athlete the right to kneel in the end zone and thank God for giving him the strength, skill, and ability to make the run.

Another prime example for the need of hammer versus the velvet glove is the argument of the legality of gay marriage. The whole gay and legal community is up in arms arguing with each other, trying to legalize or condemn gay marriage. A good knock in the head would allow both sides to clearly see that gay marriage is and has always been legal in all fifty states of this country. Two gay people can legally marry any time they wish as long as they are of majority age or receive permission from their parents or guardian. There is no standing law against gay marriage in any state in this union.

The real question on the table is not the legality of gay marriage – it’s the definition of marriage. If a gay man and a gay woman want to marry, they can, and it’s perfectly legal. It’s the question of two people of the same sex marrying each other that is causing the argument. This country does not recognize the marriage union of two men or two women especially when sexual intercourse is the primary motive. So why are we bogged down in this meaningless argument?

Personally, I like the hammer approach. It’s just what we need in this country from time to time. But let’s discuss it in terms of religion. The hammer may not really be a good approach when working with religious people. Christians, especially Pentecostals which is my personal religious background, are a hard-headed bunch, and often hard-hearted. And let’s face it, your church or religion isn’t the only game in town. People can go to church anywhere, not just your particular little patch of sacred ground. It’s an atmosphere of love that will keep people coming back to your church instead of going across town. If you offer a nurturing place to worship, eventually people will find the love and peace of God they desperately need in their lives.

Hammer or velvet glove? They’re both viable tools if used in the proper context. Political correctness needs a good knock in the head, but religion needs ministries that care about the people in the pew, not just the size of the offering. For this, only the velvet glove will work.


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Well, that's it for this week. I hope you enjoyed my blog. If you did, please pass my link on to your friends and family. If you've never read a Jim Laughter book, I believe you would enjoy any (and all) of them. I'd love to hear from you. See ya next time.....

Monday, October 10, 2011

They are at it again

I am flabbergasted and disgusted at the ignorance and audacity of this pack of scam artists preying on elderly citizens in the country and our apparent inability to do anything about it.

If you’ve read my last two postings, you know that I was the target of a scam artist, and that I filed an official report with the United States Secret Service and the Bessemer, Alabama police department. Both ordeals were frustrating days for me and I’m not sure I accomplished anything except to spend a lot of time on the phone.

But you’re not going to believe the phone call I got today. I know I couldn’t believe it when I answered the phone and another one of those Nigerian con artist thieves was on the line again. This time he said his name was Mr. Parkinson. I couldn’t understand him very clearly and had to have him repeat himself several times, but I finally to the bottom of it.

I guess my stock has gone down a little in the scammer’s eyes. Today I only won $150,000, and no new car. But the investment wasn’t as much either. Today the scam was for only $150, only 1/10th of 1 percent of the total prize. And all I had to do today was go to a local CVS drug store or Radio Shack and buy one of their Brown Dot gift cards, and then call the Nigerian crook back. He said when I got the gift card; his courier would come to my house to pick up the card in exchange for the $150,000 check.

Well, I really hate being taken for a fool, and to have these low-life, sewer-crawling, slime-bellied, vomit-eating Nigerian sons-of-hyenas call me twice in an eight day period just makes me crazy. But I try to be a gentleman, so I listened to this hairball until I just couldn’t take it any longer. So I told him that I knew who and what he was, then I told him what I thought he was, and in no uncertain terms. Then I hung up the phone because my time is valuable to me and I have better things to do than talk to a crook.

Then my phone rang again and this arrogant jerk weed asked me why I hung up on him as if he was doing me some kind of favor by assuming I was a total fool that can’t tell when my backside is on fire.

I didn’t spend much time on the phone with Mr. Parkinson because by this time I was really upset. I tried to pick my words carefully and small enough that this scavenger could understand. I don’t think they’ll call back, but you never know. Ignorance and arrogance run in packs.

But as Paul Harvey used to say, now for the rest of the story.

I thought that since these low-life dirt bags are using local businesses to finance their thievery, I should call CVS Pharmacy and Radio Shack and alert them to watch for elderly people coming in to their stores to buy gift cards, and to have their clerks ask these people why they are buying the card. Then if the person says they’re buying it because they’ve won money, the clerk can advise the senior citizen of the scam and advise them not to buy the card.

I spoke to the manager on duty at CVS Pharmacy and he took my call graciously and assured me he would pass the information on up his management ladder to send out a nationwide memo to all CVS Pharmacies. Radio Shack, on the other hand, was a different story. I guess their focus is on selling the merchandise, not just good customer service. The manager I spoke to wasn’t really interested in my story, so I asked for their corporate contact information. She gave me the names of their two district managers, which I called. I wasn’t able to speak to either manager, so I left my name and phone numbers and a message that I needed to speak to them about the possibility of their business being used as a part of a scam. I’ve still not heard back from either of them. We’ll just have to wait and see.

I wish I had been thinking more clearly when I was on the phone with Mr. Parkinson, and before I told him to never call me back, and before I called him every dirty name I could think of without actually cursing at him. If I had been thinking, I would have gone to CVS and purchased the gift card, but for $1.50 instead of $150. Then I would have called the police and had them at my house when the courier arrived to pick up the card in exchange for the bogus check.

But I wasn’t thinking straight. I was just plain old mad. I just wonder if these people are really as stupid as I think they are. I wonder if these fools will call me again next Friday. I think I’ll stay home by my phone and hope to hear from another Nigerian scumbag that preys on elderly U.S. citizens that don’t have anyone watching out for their interests.

Come on, sucker ….! Call me again… I dare you….

Let me invite you to visit my website to take a look at my books. I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll like. And if you have a Kindle or Nook reader or application, you can purchase any of my novels for only $2.99 (Strangers in the Stable children's book excluded).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I'm a new millionaire --- Part 2

I guess I should follow-up on my September 30 blog about the scam that a person with no moral fiber tried to pull on me. I got to thinking about this unscrupulous criminal that doesn’t have the backbone to get a real job or do honest work. Instead, this Nigerian crook sits in a rat hole somewhere and uses his talents to call elderly people around the United States to cheat them out of their savings, pensions, or social security. He has figured out that people are hurting, and they’re looking for easy escapes, so they make themselves vulnerable to scam artists. He smiles his wicked smile and laughs his wicked laugh while he brings tears to elderly Americans, possibly your mother or grandmother.

I really hate being taken advantage of or being treated like a fool. So I decided to do the only thing I could do and keep a clear conscious. Since I had the name of a person and an address in Bessemer, Alabama where the requested fraudulent funds were supposed to be sent, I decided it was my civic duty to report this illegal activity to the police.

Now you’d think that since a river of dirty money was pouring through Bessemer, Alabama, that a criminal activity reported to the Bessemer police department would garner a certain amount of concern and attention. So I called the Bessemer police department within an hour of hanging up from Mr. Robertson (see my September 30 blog for details about Mr. Robertson) and spoke to the officer on duty, explaining the events of my day. Her response was that since I live in Mounds, Oklahoma, the jurisdiction for this crime wasn’t in Bessemer, Alabama, but instead was the jurisdiction of the Mounds, Oklahoma police department. My response to her was the question, “Doesn’t it make more sense to have the police in the town where the crime is taking place to investigate instead of relying on a police department in a town with 3 cops, 120 people, 2 cows and one three-legged dog?” This didn’t move her either.

Well, I knew this person didn’t know what she was talking about. I figured she was high on donut sugar or pastry filling, so I decided to wait and call back the next day. I guess I lost track of time and forgot that it was Saturday, and I forgot that crime stops below the Mason-Dixon Line because there are no detectives on duty on the weekend. However, I did call early enough Saturday to speak to a very nice desk sergeant that hadn’t had time to overdose on Krispy Kreme yet. Although she wouldn’t take my report, she did refer me to the Bessemer police department detective division and gave me the name of the detective that handles these sorts of things. Oh joy, I was making progress! So I called the detective division, but being Saturday, I could only leave my name and phone number, briefly outline the fraudulent activity, and hope for a call from down south so justice could prevail.

Monday arrived and I was home all day working in my office. I figured I’d get that phone call so we could start the ball rolling to stop at least a little piece of this fraudulent activity. But the call didn’t come Monday, regardless how diligently I waited by the phone. And it didn’t come Tuesday either. So I decided that perhaps since the Bessemer detective department didn’t work on the weekend, perhaps their answering service didn’t either. So I called again and left my name and number, along with the details of the crime, then sat back and waited for my phone to ring. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch.

When I hadn’t heard from the Bessemer police department by Wednesday, I began to wonder if Bessemer, Alabama actually existed. When I can get the squirrel in my magneto cage to run fast enough, it generates enough electricity to power my computer so I can access a miracle of technology called the internet where I can look up information all over the world. It’s truly an amazing tool but I’m not sure it will ever catch on.

Anyway, I managed to look up Bessemer, Alabama and discovered they have a city government and everything, so I sent an email to their mayor.

Mr. Mayor,

I've contacted your police department several times since this past Friday to report a case of interstate wire fraud being operated out of your city. I spoke to one of your receptionists at the police department on Friday and gave her the details of the wire fraud headquartered in your city, but she didn't seem overly interested. I called back on Saturday and spoke to a very nice lady that gave me the phone number to your detective division and referred me to Sgt _____. I've called his number several times, but it is picked up by another officer's voice mail whose name I can't recall at the moment. However, no matter how often I leave my name and contact phone number, no one from your police department has returned my calls.

I guess my question is, are you and your police department interested in crime taking place in your city?

If you'd like to read a tongue-in-cheek article I wrote about the crime taking place in your city, please read it at I can also tell you that this exact same fraud was perpetrated on a friend of mine at almost the same time it happened to me. The details in my blog are correct, complete with name and address of the criminal operating not far from your police department.

So Mr. Mayor, the ball is in your court now. Let's see if you can run with it.

Jim Laughter

Well, needless to say, when I got home Wednesday, I had a message on my answering machine from the Bessemer police department, and on Thursday (today) I received a personal phone call from the detective I’d been trying to contact. He listened to my story then told me that this was a clear case of wire fraud. He told me that he had indeed looked into my complaint, and that the address where I was supposed to send the fraudulent money existed, and that a little old lady actually lived there. Oh boy, progress! Then he dropped the second shoe and told me that since this was a federal crime, it was out of his jurisdiction and I would have to file a report with the United States Secret Service. And since I had received the phone call in my home in Mounds, Oklahoma, I would have to report the crime to the Secret Service office in Tulsa. That way they could get the paperwork started, and they would notify their office in Birmingham, Alabama, who would in turn contact the Bessemer police department, so they could drive down the street to see if Mary Robinson was indeed receiving fraudulently wired money.

So today (Thursday – six days after the fraudulent phone call and my first attempt to report it) I called the United States Secret Service office in Tulsa to file my report and spoke to a receptionist that I’m fairly sure was a blood relative of the first receptionist I’d spoken to in Bessemer. Every time I tried to file my report, she would spin off on a tangent and try to explain to me the ins and outs of the interstate law. She wasn’t an agent herself and she refused to connect me to an agent. When the dust settled, she told me that I would have to contact the Secret Service office in Birmingham, Alabama to file my complaint so they could contact the Bessemer police department to start an official investigation. She gave me the number I needed and told me to ask for the duty agent.

Boy, these long distance phone calls started to get annoying. But being the good citizen that I am, I called the Birmingham office of the United States Secret Service and asked the receptionist to let me speak to the duty agent. She put me right through to his voice mail where I again left my name, phone number, and a detailed message. It only took another hour for an agent from Birmingham to call. I don’t remember his name, but by the tenor of his voice, I’m pretty sure he was at least 20, maybe 25 years old with at least 30 years of investigative experience. But he was a nice kid, and he informed me that he had indeed contacted the Bessemer police department and they would launch an official investigation into my reported case of wire fraud. He didn’t seem to think that anything would come of it, and he wasn’t sure if they’d be able to prosecute anyone even if they were able to justify an arrest.

Well, that’s my follow-up report. I just want you to know that if you receive a phone call from Mr. Robertson like I did telling you that you’ve won 2.5 million dollars and a new Mercedes Benz from the Publishers Clearing House sweepstake, and all you have to do is wire $299 to an address in Bessemer, Alabama, I have already taken care filing the report. So enjoy your money and new car. I’ve already done the dirty work.


I'd love for you to visit my website to catch up on all of the good stuff going on in my camp, particularly the release of my latest two new books. My murder suspense, The Apostle Murders, released July 15th. It is a fast-moving modern-day suspense based on the martyrdom of the original apostle of Jesus Christ. And releasing October 1st was my new children's book, Strangers in the Stable. This full-color illustrated book a look at the nativity on the night of Christ's birth, and is seen from the viewpoint of the animals in the stable.

So visit my website and place your orders. With exception to Strangers in the Stable, all of my books are available in paperback, Kindle, and Nook formats.