The Editor Responds: What have you become, America?
This is what we’ve become, fellow Americans. It’s nothing to be proud of unless you’re some sort of pervert, which most of you are; you like watching without revealing yourselves or speaking up. You like lurking and thinking no one knows your’re there. You like fake names, fake profiles, fake pictures. You like Facebook and fake friends. You like online porn and … well, I’ll stop there. Am I right? Well, now that we can agree on a starting point, here’s where you can give some thought to what you have become —
and whether there’s anything left worth redeeming.
- On September 12, 2018, 1,464 people read the articles “Riley’s Song: Verse Two” and “Riley’s Mom Responds: A mother’s perspective.”
- Since we posted “We are Reopening the Case” on September 7, 2018, to September, 13, 2018, we averaged almost 500 new readers a day with an average of almost 600 page views a day.
- In the period from “We are Reopening the Case” (September 7, 2018) to “Riley’s Mom Responds: A mother’s perspective” (September 12, 2018) we had almost 5,000 new readers on Smalbany Blog.
- We received a total of 18 comments of which 9 were from cranks with negative comments and 9 were from persons supporting Smalbany’s work on this one investigation.
- Of the total of 18 comments, 6 were from a sicko calling him/herself “Smalbany is full of crap” using an email “firstname.lastname@example.org.” 2 were from a weirdo calling him/herself “Douche” and using an email “email@example.com ; ” both of these dingleberries were trying to get a moment of cheap fame in their low lives by stealing from the real issue. The remaining negatives included 1 from a friend of Hagen’s (you can imagine what that one had to say).
- The remaining 9 were from supporters: 1 from a close friend of Riley (JH), 5 from someone close to Riley, and a touching comment from Riley’s mom (which we published with her permission at “Riley’s Mom Responds: A Mother’s Perspective”). Two others were from a reader/commenter calling him/herself “Tompkins” and more concerned with the name of the road than with the subject matter of the article, and one kind “Keep up the good work” comment.
Do the math: That’s 0.0036% or 4/1000 or 1/250 meaning that only 1 out of every 250 readers got off their ass to make a comment one way or the other. As for the positive comments versus the negative comments, they were evenly divided 9:9. But only 0.0018 or 2/1000 or 1/500 = 1 out of every 500 readers left a comment pro or con.
We can’t believe that so many readers could have been so callous as not to even have left a condolence message for the family, or at least to have insulted Smalbany. Stated another way, we are at a loss that so few of the readers had the courage to have an opinion and share it!
We have to look at these figures and wonder whether Americans have become so dehumanized and so insensitive as not to have given a second thought to a terrible tragedy and a terrible injustice. Yes, readers, this is not only a terrible tragedy, the death of a young man just beginning his life, and a terrible tragedy for his family and friends, it’s a terrible stain on what we so facilely call a country of laws, a God-fearing people, a country founded on humane values, and a country that cherishes family values.
This tragedy is not just a personal tragedy nor is it a merely family tragedy, it’s a social tragedy, an American tragedy. Your responses tell us and everyone just simply viewing the Smalbany blog that Americans are all talk. This tragedy tells the world — Yes! The WORLD! These three articles have been read by people in Canada, France, Sweden, as far away as the Philippines and Dubai, and even in Texas! — this tragedy broadcasts to the entire world what hypocrites Americans are.
I wanna see the world with you
Come on and take me by the hand
Don’t even worry about it you’ll understand
I wanna see the world with you
The way you go out we follow
What’s better than us?
Better than us?
We don’t wanna to know
Riley’s Song is a song about youth, love and future. It reminds us of the beauty of Riley “Jeremiah” Kern’s young life and saddens us that his has been cut short.
But our Riley’s Song is the tragic song of what America has become — or not become. Our Riley’s song is about injustice, incompetence, cronyism, cover-ups, infidelity, irresponsibility, lawlessness, favoritism. Our Riley’s song is about a society that has become so materialistic that it has lost all sense of morality and goodness but is so blind as not to even notice the weeping lesions all over its corrupt body.
Riley’s mom asked a question of one of our contributors just yesterday. It was a question about the Biblical prophet Jeremiah, so we had to pass it on to a theologian/clergyperson for a proper response. The fact that she asked the question had more to do with a completely different thought but sometimes things happen for inexplicable reasons. This is one of those things.
You see, she asked what we thought Jeremiah 22 meant. Jeremiah is one of the major Old Testament (First Covenant) prophets, a prophet who is revered as a major prophet by all three Abrahamic traditions: Christianity, Judaism — Jeremiah is so important that he has been made canon in Judaism—, and Islam. Not only is there a Book of Jeremiah, the Book of Lamentations is generally accepted as having been his work. Jeremiah is also known as the “Weeping Prophet,” because when you read his words describing and mourning the fall, capture and destruction of his beloved Jerusalem, and if you read Lamentations, you will hear Jeremiah’s anguish, and yes, tears, in his words. We even have an English word based on Jeremiah’s writings: “jeremiad,” a sad lamentation.
In his response, the Reverend explains:
Jeremiah sends a warning message:
“Doom to the one who builds palaces but bullies people, who makes a fine house but destroys lives, who cheats their workers and won’t pay them for their work, who says, ‘I’ll build me an elaborate mansion with spacious rooms and fancy windows and rare and expensive woods and the latest in interior decor.’” (Jer 22:13-14)
Woe, doom, to the one who takes wonderful care of themselves at the expense of others. Woe, doom, to the one who provides for their own luxuries or comfortable living at the expense of others who work for almost nothing.
We have become driven to get a good feeling without any effort — to make believe that everything is peachy. Isn’t it right to try to get a good deal, to go where we can get the best deal for the lowest price? Isn’t it wonderful when we can cheat someone out of something and feel good about it, or get a new friend with a mouse click? We love to fool ourselves. When you get a compliment on that fake profile picture on Facebook, we often enjoy telling the story of what great bargain we are. Why is it, when we get something by cheating or screwing someone, we think we’re a smart? Why is it when we have so many virtual friends we actually think we are loved or liked? Is cheap and deceptive always better?
What if we would take a moment when purchasing an item to ask questions like “Why is this so cheap?” or when we accept a friend me invitation, ask, “I wonder who this person really is?.”
We, as a culture, are so absorbed in our consumption of things and entertainment, and even people that we ignore or forget what the actual cost is to ourselves, our own humanness, the rest of the world. Think of this example, since we are a country that loves kids so much: Some countries are known to use and abuse child labor more than others, and those countries are big exporters to the USA, and Americans do love to get something cheap but they are less interested in knowing the history of the cheap; in other words, they suspend their condemnation of child abuse for a moment so they can enjoy their cheap.
We, as a society, find it very easy to suspend morality, values, ethics, humanity for cheap. But cheap is receiving the benefits without paying the cost involved.
This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. (Jer 22:3)
I hope that helps you to have at least a starter understanding of this great and sensitive prophet.
Somehow, the young man, Riley, picked up the nickname “Jeremiah,” and used it as his alter ego; it even appears on the cross, the roadside memorial, marking the place where he died. Now isn’t that something to think about?
Think of how this all began: In an article published on August 4, 2018, “Three Articles on New Baltimore Scandals: Pick One or Read All,” just days after Riley’s death, we added just a simple footnote. Just a footnote, asking the question:
“Is this a cover up to protect a prominent Ravena family? Doesn’t the young man’s life mean anything or do we just sweep the whole thing under the carpet? We need to start asking questions. The 20-year old man is not just another raccoon, Mr Contento!”
Putting all of this in a sort of perspective, most of our readers will recall a scandalous incident that occurred last March 2018, in the Village of Ravena, at Faith Plaza shopping mall. The incident involved two Coeymans police officers in two Coeymans Police Department vehicles harassing and running over a wild raccoon in full view of dozens of witnesses. The incident was videoed by a witness and appeared on Facebook and YouTube; it went viral and created an international uproar. Not only that, a petition was started called “Justice for raccoon killed by officers from Coeymans Police Department” which was signed by more than 110,000 people! The incident was addressed at the Coeymans Town Board Meeting on March 22 by no less than 5 angry citizens, some coming from as far away as Amsterdam, NY (about 50 miles from Ravena). The speakers were interviewed by local television and print media and the interviews broadcast on the evening news. The story was picked up by a large number of newspapers nationwide. It was a real scandal and it was about the inhumane treatment of an innocent wild animal.
Justice Demanded for a Raccoon. It’s a start.
Smalbany covered the story because it was just another nail in the Police Department’s coffin.
Perhaps we’re being unfair and perhaps we’re missing something. But if 110,000 people will come forward and sign an online petition and leave their comments demanding justice for a wild raccoon, and leave their comments expressing their outrage, what have we been missing in the Riley P. Kern case? Are we missing something or are we trying to avoid the perversion, the ugliness staring us directly in the face?
110,000 signatures, almost as many comments for a raccoon. Almost as many outraged comments. Coverage nationwide by numerous newspapers. Coverage by local print and television media with interviews. Outraged citizens appearing to make public statements at a public Town of Coeymans town board meeting on the record. What are we missing here?
We at Smalbany are not missing a thing, ladies and gentlemen. We are fully aware of what’s going on locally and in society. The real question is: “What are YOU missing?”
Perhaps this Smalbany blog, these articles on Riley, are in fact a jeremiad, bitterly lamenting the state of society and its morals in a serious tone of sustained invective, and even containing a prophecy of our society’s imminent downfall.
Perhaps the questions we are asking are going over your heads. Perhaps you are so far gone that you can’t even understand what we are pointing at and saying: “Wake up! This is a sickening state of affairs! Say, DO something!”
Riley Parker “Jeremiah” Kern is dead. Riley Parker “Jeremiah” Kern was a young human being, a young man, good, kind, handsome, talented, smart; he had a wonderful future ahead of him. Riley Parker “Jeremiah” Kern was killed under clearly suspicious circumstances in a freakish accident. Riley Parker “Jeremiah” Kern is crying out for justice, the justice that even a wild raccoon was able to obtain.
Riley Parker “Jeremiah” Kern has become a symbol full of meaning of what we are, have become, but can yet redeem as human beings.
Take responsibility. Meet your obligations. Demand Justice.
 Gotcha! You probably read pervert and went off on a tangent. Well, that’s only because you never got a good education. But that’s the subject of another article. Here’s what a pervert is and how we are using it here: A pervert is someone who has detoured from or altered from their original course, purpose or intendment, their meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended. Human beings were allegedly intended or created to be divine images of Good and Justice. Now can you admit you’re a pervert?
 Riley’s Song, Featuring VACAY, Alex Zaichkowski & Shane Harte. Album Songs From The Next Step, Season 3, Volume 1.
 Mr. Contento is Sgt Daniel Contento, acting chief of police in the Town of Coeymans. When we refer to a raccoon we are referring to an incident that became an international scandal: Two Coeymans police vehicles harassed and killed a wild raccoon in a public parking lot in full view of dozens of witnesses. We covered the incident in our articles “We are speechless! OMG! Coeymans Police Caught on Video Again!” and “Follow-up Report: Coeymans Raccoon Incident. We still have our doubts!, “ and two other follow-up articles: “Truth be Told: On the Heels of the Coeymans Town Board Meeting” and “Officer Identified!!! Coeymans PD Steve Prokrym Involved in Raccoon Scandal!!!”