SoCS — Critical Thinking

CCC61B4A-216B-413F-8C70-FB434D45AC91For this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday post, Linda has asked us to write something using the word “critic” and/or “critical.”

As some of you may know, I have been a fairly harsh critic of Donald Trump. And one of the reasons I’ve been critical of him is because I believe he is incapable of critical thinking. Don’t get me wrong. Donald Trump is critical of anyone who is critical of him, but that doesn’t mean that he’s exercising critical thinking.

So what is critical thinking? It means that you make reasoned judgments that are logical and well-thought out. It is a way of thinking in which you don’t simply accept what you read, hear, have been told, or are exposed to. Rather, you are capable of weighing the facts in evidence, considering the sources of the information, and questioning the arguments and conclusions. In other words, critical thinking is the objective analysis of facts to form a judgment.

Have you ever seen Donald Trump — the leader of the free world, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States, and arguably the most powerful man on the globe — demonstrate that he can conduct an objective analysis of facts to form a judgment? I didn’t think so.

Does he ever engage in reflection that is directed at truth and guided by evidence? Or does he more typically demonstrate a willingness to dispense with evidence altogether in his rhetoric and his actions? Does he listen to and carefully assess the information and guidance provided to him by subject matter experts, or does he dismiss them and go with his gut…his ample and uninformed gut?

Think about it. This man, who is the President of the United States, is incapable of critical thinking.DD950FC1-8E15-4A67-B099-FAA56649D8A0Shouldn’t the ability to think critically be a critical requirement of the office he holds?

Yes, I’m a critic of Donald Trump. I don’t know about you, but the fact that he is president and that 40% of my fellow Americans think, uncritically, that he’s the greatest thing since sliced white bread scares the shit out of me.

#writephoto — From the Gut

4F3B9FDE-E543-4EBA-92BD-8930EB83B992The first snow of the season. It wasn’t much, maybe a few inches, but it was enough to blanket the fields in snow and to cover the trails and paths.

“It’s early, John,” Maria said. “Is this a harbinger of a cold, wet, white winter?”

“It’s late November, dear,” John said. “So this first snow is actually a little late, in contrast to the past few years.”

“The weather seems to be changing,” Maria said. “Summers seem to be longer, dryer, and hotter. Fall is shorter, winters are colder and wetter, and spring has just about disappeared.”

“Oh come on, Maria,” John said. “Are you going to start going off on that climate change crap again?”

“But, John, are you unaware of the climate change assessment report that was prepared with input from 13 federal agencies involving around 300 scientists?” Maria said.

“Of course I’m aware of it,” John said. “But you know that Trump said that people like him, who have very high levels of intelligence, don’t believe it.”

“Why doesn’t he believe it, John? Where does he get his information?”

“He gets it from his gut,” John said. “He said that his gut tells him more than anybody else’s  brain can ever tell him. So he’s going with his gut.”

“But did you hear the nonsense he spewed when he said this?”

“You look at our air and our water, and it’s right now at a record clean. But when you look at China and you look at parts of Asia and when you look at South America, and when you look at many other places in this world, including Russia, including — just many other places — the air is incredibly dirty. And when you’re talking about an atmosphere, oceans are very small. And it blows over and it sails over. I mean, we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific, it flows, and we say where does this come from. And it takes many people to start off with.”

“Does any of that word salad make sense to you, John?” Maria asked.

“Okay, maybe his gut was a little off when he said that,” John admitted. “Let’s just enjoy the first snow of the season, shall we?”

“I’m good with that, John,” Maria said, squeezing her husband’s hand.

Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. I also fit in these prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (contrast), Ragtag Daily Prompt (unaware), and Your Daily Word Prompt (information).

FFfAW — Missing Person

C86A5E24-F7F2-4E9E-B0AE-0BCD7BFD2E52“They haven’t found the body yet, Ron,” Jim Morrisey told his partner, Ron Hayden. “Until they do, we have no jurisdiction. It’s only a suspected homicide.”

“I know,” said Hayden. “But they found her clothing laid out on that bench over there. Unless she went skinny dipping, the likelihood is that foul play is involved.”

“We’re homicide detectives, Ron,” Morrissey said. “All we have at this point is a missing persons case. They’ve taken her clothing to the lab and they’re going to start dragging the pond within an hour. We can check again for any evidence that the uniforms might have missed, but that’s just busywork, I’m afraid.”

“Dammit, Jim, we can’t just do nothing,” Hayden argued. “We’re detectives, for crissake, so let’s detect.”

“There’s no point in chasing our tails if the alleged vic was so high on something that she stripped and ran naked into the woods.”

“C’mon, Jim,” Hayden said, “what does your gut tell you?”

“They’ll find her body soon,” Morrisey admitted.

(167 words)

Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers from Priceless Joy. Photo credit: wildverbs.

Book ’em, Danno

It was a Friday night. I had been away for a few days on a business trip and was eager to get home, to unpack, and to have a nice, relaxing weekend.

Carrying my laptop bag and rollaboard, I walked up the two flights of stairs to my apartment. I got to my door, inserted the key, turned the knob, and walked into the narrow hallway.

I put my laptop bag down next to the door and started to roll my rollaboard toward my bedroom when I noticed a light on in the living room. I also heard what sounded like the TV. I never leave any lights on when I travel, much less leave the TV on.

I stopped short of my bedroom, turned around and walked toward the light and sound coming from the living room.

When I got there, I saw two young men, maybe in their early twenties, sitting on my sofa and watching TV. I had no idea who they were, why they were in my apartment, or how they got in.

I saw a small glass vial containing some white, powdery substance on my coffee table, along with a rectangular mirror with two short lines of the white powder neatly lined up on its surface.

These two men, total strangers to me, were snorting cocaine in my living room and watching my TV. They had apparently not heard me walk in.

“Who the fuck are you and what are you doing in my apartment?” I yelled. They both looked up, shock on their faces. And then I saw one of them reach behind his back, pull a pistol from his waistband, and aim it at me.

It all happened so fast, so unexpectedly, that I didn’t have time to react, to move. I heard the shot and immediately I felt a pinching sensation in my stomach.

I was surprised that it didn’t hurt more; the pain wasn’t as intense as I would have expected it to be. I looked down and saw the red stain spreading rapidly across my shirt. I reached down and felt the warm stickiness on my hand.

My knees weakened and I started to feel light-headed. That’s when I felt the intense pain that I would have anticipated after having been shot. I fell to my knees as a veil of blackness began to drape my consciousness.

The last thing I remember seeing was my blood dripping and spreading onto the carpeting beneath me and knew that I would never get my security deposit back.

I could hear one of the men say, “Grab the shit and let’s get outta here,” and I sensed, more than saw or heard, the two men run past me and out the door.

Even though the darkness had descended fully upon me, I could still hear the TV. I think it was Hawaii Five-0, but I can’t be sure.

It’s funny, but “Book ‘em, Danno” ran through my mind. In fact, that was the last conscious thought I can remember.

“Book ‘em, Danno.”

And then I passed out.