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home : opinion : opinion July 26, 2016

2/15/2013 6:01:00 AM
The entitlement complex

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

I was mulling over the prospect of a Valentine's Day column when two Associated Press stories caught my eye Wednesday evening and got me wondering when we became a country with an entitlement complex.

The first story dealt with a Pennsylvania grad student who is suing her university and one of her former professors because the woman gave her a C-plus in class she took in 2009.

The grad student claimed in court that the professor had it out for her because she supported gay marriage and the professor did not. She said the poor grade ruined her chances of becoming a professional therapist.

The young woman is seeking a grade change and $1.3 million in lost earnings. She eventually graduated with a master's degree in another field.

According to the AP, the professor, who is also a woman, admits that she believes that marriage should be reserved for the union of a man and a woman, but said it has nothing to do with how she grades her classes.

She also stated in court that the student earned her poor grade because she acted inappropriately in class and even received a warning letter.

Her father, who works at the same university, testified that his daughter has been a straight A student and he's never heard of a student getting a zero for participation while attending all of the required classes.

Really? More that a million dollars because someone couldn't act like an adult?

I don't know all of the history between this student and her former professor. Maybe her professor is a jerk and is the only one who teaches that class. Maybe the student was a brat.

But there are better ways of figuring out how to get a degree in therapy without suing your school or your teacher.

As a student, a cashier and a journalist, I've dealt with or worked with a number of people I didn't particularly care for. In most of those cases I found a way to work around the problem. There was only one situation where I seriously considered filing a formal grievance.

It involved one of my professors who liked to give the same lecture three days a week, assigned a ton of reading that we were never tested on, wrote test questions that didn't have matching multiple choice answers, and tried to charge us for handouts.

Unfortunately, she was tenured, so I'm sure my scathing review of her class did nothing to prevent her from teaching the class the next semester.

As one of my former bosses was fond of saying, "put your big girl panties on and deal with it."

Or as my mom would put it, "there are people you are going to run into in life that you don't like working with. Just remember that this is just one small part of your life that you have to deal with and concentrate on all the good times."

But the younger crowd aren't the only ones who seem to think they're entitled to more than they've earned.

The second story involved a 75-year-old man who wants to charge the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota $4 million for a 40-acre parcel of land that sits next to where more than 300 of their ancestors are buried at Wounded Knee. The land is also the site of a trading post that burned to the ground during the 1973 Wounded Knee uprising.

According to the AP, the land was appraised for less than $7,000.

The 75-year-old gentleman recently told the tribe that if they don't purchase the land, he'll sell it to the highest bidder, regardless of whether they are a member of the tribe or not.

Tribal leaders claim the man is trying to get a portion of the $20 million settlement the tribe is expected to get from the federal government for the mismanagement of its lands.

The man claims that historical significance of the land justifies the price.

"I'm getting older now and my family and myself want to dispose of this property," the man told the AP. "We just want to see it in the hands of the Indian people rather than put it on the open market to the public."

I can understand wanting to get some compensation for selling such a large parcel of land. I can also understand that the historical significance of the property might increase the value of the land.

But to charge someone more than 560 times what a property is worth is ridiculous - especially a people who have such a horrifically tragic connection to that land.

There are some out there who will say that the guy has a right to sell his property for whatever price he can get for it. Legally he has right to do that, but I think a number of people would find it morally wrong.

When did common sense go out the window? When did it become wrong to say to someone, "I think that's a horrible idea and you should be ashamed of yourself"?

As my father-in-law would say, "some people's kids."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: Yes, You Can Fool Many (too Many All of the Time

AA, yea, the Koch's love the little people doing their bidding for them.

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

Ms Athens

“Speaking of entitlements, obamacare is throwing 8 million children on S chip off because there is no money to keep them on it.”

Not a modicum of truth in the above. First S-CHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) is not part of the ACA, it is a totally separate program and “8 million children” are not being tossed off. Just another untruth put out by the Right Wing Shouting Heads.

The S-CHIP program began in 1997 (Hmm, was Obama president in 1997?) as a program administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides matching funds to states for health insurance to families with children. The program was designed to cover uninsured children in families with incomes that are modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid. Remember the “S” in S-CHIP stands for state.

“Guess where they are being sent. To state medicaid programs....who also have no money. That obamacare...what a program. What a plan. WHAT A DISASTER!!”

Actually many states have opted to fold their SCHIP funds into their Medicaid programs as a cost savings and streamlining effort. And of course I must emphasize – once again – that the ACA has ABSULUTE NOTHING TO DO WITH SCHIP.

“Obama was the man who suggested sequestration.”

More incorrect information – no surprise there.

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

Ms Athens

“Speaking of entitlements, obamacare is throwing 8 million children on S chip off because there is no money to keep them on it.”

Not true.

“For the low information voters…”

Stealing Gasbag Limbaugh’s line over and over again is just … well, you know.

“Obama was the man who suggested sequestration.”

No, he did not and no matter how many times the Right Wing Loon Idiot Fringe and Lil Ayn Ryan makes that claim it will always be wrong.

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Athens

Origional Kingman Resident:

What great remarks! Societal shame was very useful. It said, you have done something wrong and society is letting you know. It would be helpful to you and all of society if you learned and did not do it again. That way the fabric of this society that made us so great will be kept intact.

We now say, you had a baby out of wedlock? If you have one more, we will give you even more free government money. Or...you were thrown out of high school for smoking in the bathroom, ditching too many times? You poor dear - let us build you your own special school with tax dollars. We will provide you bus service, had an out of wedlock kid along the way, bring him along and lay him on the floor under your desk. (True facts here!!). Their explanation for their own school? It will keep them off welfare rolls later. Right!!

I include myself in societal shame and learned from it as a young person. Not only didn't hurt me, it helped me.

Speaking of entitlements, obamacare is throwing 8 million children on S chip off because there is no money to keep them on it. Their families make 100 - 130% above the poverty line.

Guess where they are being sent. To state medicaid programs....who also have no money. That obamacare...what a program. What a plan. WHAT A DISASTER!!

And on sequestration. For the low information voters who don't understand. Obama was the man who suggested sequestration. It was his plan to have it happen....no off ramps for this one he said. He now says if it happens, the world will come to an end. Please, don't believe me, watch him on You Tube say so himself.

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

There is no such thing as an accident. Every "accident" that happens is caused by the negligence by someone, somewhere, somehow, sometime. No excuses. Find the negligent party and have them pay the bill. If it was you, just write yourself an IOU.

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

@ Rick O'Shea
Nice back pedaling, but that won't cut it.

You said you were thinking of "Vicki LaRocco". Hmmm... that was hot chocolate and it was her daughter not herself.

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew


“Not the lawsuit I had in mind, but nice try on the mind reading,…”

No mind reading involved because I was respondeing to your comment, to wit, “Do you remember when the woman sued McDonald's …”

“The ‘Vicki LaRocco’ suit is the one I had in mind, my bad on the ‘caution hot’, that was Liebeck's case, but you knew that didn't you.”

I am confused by the above because it appears to justify my response while bringing up another case completely and the, “but you knew that didn’t you” makes no sense at all.

However, if you would like to discuss the LeRocca case let’s do so. In April of 2009 Vicki LeRocco bought here daughter a cup of hot chocolate at a Chicago area McDonalds. When they sat down at a table the improperly secured cap popped off the cup of hot chocolate causing the ten year old girl to spill the 180 degree liquid on herself. The child suffered third degree burns along with permanent scaring to her legs. The mother sued McDonalds for medical expenses and an undisclosed (stories reported everything from $50,000 to $100,000) amount for pain and suffering. As usual McD’s settled out of court in a secret settlement.

I supposed in your world the scarring of child because of a super-heated beverage and a poorly designed cup lid is acceptable. However, many of us do not agree.

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: Rick O'Shea

Re: A. Nephew "Here we have another urban legend posted as “fact.”

Not the lawsuit I had in mind, but nice try on the mind reading, must re real hard to try and know everything another person is referring to. The "Vicki LaRocco" suit is the one I had in mind, my bad on the "caution hot", that was Liebeck's case, but you knew that didn't you.

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: Uncle Anson

I broke a tooth on ice.
I lifted a tire with my back and not my legs.
I didn't turn the light on and tripped over the coffee table.
I left the car lights on so I could see when I got off work.
But for all the stupid things I do why don't I have total protection through the courts and government systems at every level. Males a feller just want to stay in bed ( bed must be not more than 6 inches off the floor, CFR 0071)

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: R H

I thought you were supposed to DRINK coffee , not wear it ?. When I buy a coffee , I expect it to be very hot. If I want to drink it immediately , as an upright human being posessed of reasonable intelligence , I put an ice cube or two in it. I do NOT place it in a position to harm sensitive portions of my anatomy should it spill. It's the same reason I hold chainsaws by the handle rather than the big metal thing with the whirring bits of sharp metal flying around it. Defending the McDonalds coffee professional victim is the height of ignorance from the usual suspects.
I would utter Red Foreman's signature statement but it would get censored.

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: Jimi Lighfoot

Original Kingman Resident has this issue pinned down.

There is a lack of shame among Americans.

Nothing is shameful and everything is “game.”

It may seem like a progressive and enlightened movement away from weighty emotions that have us second guessing ourselves and suffering embarrassment of our bad behaviors but that is not a good thing.

We see an upswing of violence against loved ones and co-workers by 30ish and lower, year old men.

We also see an increase of giant spoiled men babies. Big dangerous babies.

Maybe it’s due to America’s intolerance of a good old fashioned butt whopping before the child is big enough to kill you.

We hear about the celebs and athletes that kill or maim during a rage but not all the other killings by the average, not famous, man babies.

Isn’t a “fit of rage” just a giant baby’s temper tantrum?

I don’t have a true handle on what is causing this upswing in man baby violence but let me assure you my sons will never be in this category. My wife used to scold me, way back then, for snapping my sons out of a temper tantrum by a swift one to the butt but I told her, “Do it now, or try it when he’s 15 and bigger than you.”

Could it be just a lack of discipline and butt whopping in their early years?

Tolerance of bad behavior has been tried and failed. The only time you hear the word “shame” anymore is when a younger man tells another, “There’s no shame in your game.”

Maybe it’s time to put”shame” IN the game. And a little butt whooping too.

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Well its offical the US tea party was a creation by billionaire Koch brothers and the tobacco Industry!


Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013
Article comment by: vock canyon

the RE speculators do exactly the same thing here. Buy for $300 per acre and then try to sell for $2000. per acre. Then they are upset when they can't seem to sell it for a outrageous profit. So sounds like it is the same there as it is here. I wonder what the indians want it for, a casino?

Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013
Article comment by: np ...

@AN.....yes, and reading instructions on packets of hot chocolate from any supermarket, every company's product says NOT to use boiling water. There is a general understanding amongst hot-drink dispensers, to mitigate burn injuries.

Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013
Article comment by: biker randy

McDonalds coffee is too too hot, IMHO. Why McDonald doesn't do something about it is beyond me. But I also know better than to put the container between my legs, no matter what's in it!

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

Don't just feed it to 'em....let them do a simple search on their own.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“Do you remember when the woman sued McDonald's restaurant because she spilled hot coffee on herself … and she won.”

Here we have another urban legend posted as “fact.”

Stella Liebeck, 79, of Albuquerque was severely burned by McDonalds' coffee in February 1992 after ordering coffee at a drive through window.

After receiving the order she placed the cup between her knees and as she removed the lid, the contents of the cup spilled into her lap.

The clothing Liebeck was wearing absorbed the coffee and held it next to her skin. A vascular surgeon determined she suffered full thickness burns (third-degree) over 6 percent of her body. She was hospitalized for eight days and
underwent skin grafting.

During discovery, McDonalds produced documents showing more than 700 claims by people burned by its coffee between 1982 and 1992. This history documented McDonalds' knowledge about the extent and nature of this hazard.

McDonalds also said that it held its coffee at 180 to 190 degrees and admitted they had not evaluated the safety. McDonalds' quality assurance manager testified the company enforces a requirement coffee be held at 185 degrees, plus/minus five degrees. He testified a burn hazard exists with any food served at 140 degrees or above, and McDonalds coffee, at 180 degrees, was not fit for consumption because it would burn the mouth and throat.

The jury awarded Liebeck $200,000 in compensatory damages and $2.7 million in punitive damages, equaling two days of McDonalds' coffee sales. The court reduced the punitive award to $480,000 even though the judge called McDonalds' conduct reckless, callous and willful.

The parties entered into a secret settlement which has never been revealed to the public, despite the fact that this was a public case, litigated in public and subjected to extensive media reporting.


Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

@Rick O'Shea
You may want to actually get the facts on that lady who was burned by the coffee.

See how you feel if you accidentally spill 180 degree coffee in your groin and then go in the hospital for 8 days for treatment including skin grafts.

Originally she wanted to settle for about $20K but McD only offered $800. When she sued, the jury gave her $2.6M. The award was eventually reduced way down from that, which it should have been.

The frivolous part was the lawyers wanting their pound of flesh and the big corporation trying to brush off the problem.

Did you know that there had been over 700 claims of scalding in the prior 10 yrs and that McD had paid claims up to $500K?

That aside....I agree with the jist of this story. people feel they are entitled...just because....

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: No One No Where

This is what happens when you get rid of history in the class room and teach "Social Studies" instead. This is what happens when parents and teachers are more concerned with teaching touchy-feely, we should all be exactly the same BS in our schools instead of preparing our children for the realities of life, that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch and life simply is not fair. Some people just can't seem to get that through their thick heads.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Rick O'Shea

Personally I believe a lot of this started when frivolous lawsuits started being granted by the courts. Do you remember when the woman sued McDonald's restaurant because she spilled hot coffee on herself and the cup did not display the "caution hot" message and she won. People are more now than ever tying to push the blame for their own mistakes, incompetence and lack of common sense on others by trying to shift the blame instead of acting like a person with good morals and admitting they were wrong. America has become a "political correctness" joke.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Common Sense

I agree completely with your first situation of the college student. She's obviously one of the people who think it's always someone else's fault and that she is owed something. On the second scenario I have to disagree. It is his land. He can ask whatever he wants for it. Being Indian shouldn't give me or anyone else special rights. If they don't think it's worth $4mil. then let it go to the highest bidder. They can bid just like everyone else and if they are right, they will get it for a lot less than that.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: desert dweller

We would like to think that someone that has reached the age of 75 would have developed something resembling honor, decency....! This guy is a thief!

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Origional Kingman Resident

Your last question gets right to the crux of the problem. Sometime in the 4 decades shame has become un-politically correct.

We should no longer judge the behavior of others. There is no longer a socially acceptable standard of behavior. Values have become what ever you want to do, despite the effect on others.

The person who expresses any dislike of the negative behavior of someone else is the villain. How dare we judge someone else?! We don't know their background, or their childhood traumas.

Instead of holding high expectations of our selves and others we have been strongly persuaded to don the cloak of victim-hood, which is a very comfortable cloak to wear since there are no responsibilities that go along with it.

Bring back societal shame and high standards and we will bring back a good and decent society.

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