A Little Woodworking

There is only the truth of God’s word. It is timeless and it covers every possible contingency.

There are times when I listen to a speech or sermon; even read an article, and I find parts of the message which are inconsistent appear clear to me. Inconsistencies within an article on the components of a spiritually filled life, such as trust in God for all things has been troubling me. The article was all about trust and how we can completely, totally rely on God, the magnificent Creator. Yet, I look around at our society with the folks, those who claim a Christian faith, so terrified about being without a mask, searching for places to get their vaccine and even churches still doing only parking lot services and I am deeply concerned. I was beside myself! (Not literally, that would have been a violation of the six foot rule!)

I thought, who are we trusting? Is it God who created our bodies with our amazing immunity and a protection system of skin and noses with membranes and cells designed to stop infection or were we trusting some politician who was told something by someone, not a believer in Christ? We must not be trusting God because now we wear man-made masks not designed to prevent infection. Instead, these masks are more likely to hold onto germs and nasty things in the air so we can breathe them directly into our own lungs? It is not possible to believe what was being taught and rely on masks which are proven to do more harm than good. That was where I came down on the question. How would God respond to such a lack of faith? I began to chew on the spiritual questions here. Realizing that at least more than once in my life I have been wrong about something, I decided I needed to think and pray this through.

When it comes to the issues with COVID, I know all the data, the 99.5 plus percent that survive COVID, the numbers of people who are affected even worse by the flu, those mostly at risk being over 70 years of age, same as the flu. I was pretty certain I was on the correct side of the issue. We trust God, toss the masks, and get our churches open and running!

Then, Matthew 7:3-5 hit me like a wooden spike right through the eyes.  

Years ago, my doctoral dissertation was titled, “In Times of Crisis:  A Plan for Creating Contingency Management Teams in Missionary Sending Churches and Agencies.” Based on scriptural truth including the work of Nehemiah in rebuilding the temple with workmen and armed protectors working side by side, the entire concept is that God gives us the tools and ability to help ourselves while at the same time being completely in charge of all events in our lives. Our natural fears which prevent us from stepping in front of a train are part of God’s survival system for us. With the violence in our world and because of my experience as a police officer, now retired, I carry a firearm every day, everywhere. It provides me the capability of intervening on behalf of those at risk of serious harm. There are people within certain church circles who would say (and have said directly to me) that my contingency planning and other preparations are hypocritical. They say, God is in charge of all things so any preparation on our part is a sign of not trusting in Him. One mission agency leader staunchly opposed my arguments for preparation, and made his opinion quite clear.  (Anyone who says Baptists don’t ‘ex-communicate’ don’t know how some organizations work!)

It was time for me to really get down into the desert and wrestle this one out. I already have severe hip pain so, here we go! Where is the line between using the tools God has given us to prepare and protect ourselves and others and ‘letting go and let God’?

I still maintain the truth worked out within my dissertation is correct. God is in charge of all things. The day we are to die is known to Him before we are born, as is every day of our life. From before time began He knew this of us. Nothing is outside His control. He also gives us the ability to protect ourselves and others. If this weren’t so, we would have no need of police. Jesus taught in some instances to go prepared for whatever might come and other times He instructed His disciples to go and allow God to provide completely for them. I believe God has given us gifted physicians and surgeons, researchers, and care-givers. God still determines our length of days, but these gifted persons help us preserve our quality of life, if not our quantity. The planning by Nehemiah was with God’s favor and the use of armed men guarding the workers was prudent because of the risk. Could God have totally protected them? Of course. Most often, particularly in today’s economy, He chooses to work through humans, often Christians. Could the guards have also been a ‘Linus VanPelt security blanket’ to ease the minds of those under the threats and with God’s approval? I believe the answer to that is also, ‘yes’.

So, what about the masks and opening services? I passionately believe they should be open and, if anyone feels the need to wear a mask, whether because of age or illness, they should do so without any awkward stares from folks who suddenly judge themselves as ‘more spiritual’ because they are ‘simply trusting God.’ Still, my time woodworking (or perhaps in the woodshed) was not finished. I still had some wrestling God wanted me to do.

There is an old story of a young farmer trying to get his mule to move. Pulling and tugging on the reins, screaming, and cussing at the mule were all to no avail. An old farmer stood watching with interest. He told the young farmer the only way to get the mule to move was to talk softly, lovingly, encouragingly to the mule. The young farmer scoffed and, handing the old farmer the reins said, ‘Go right ahead!’ The old farmer smiled, picked up a 2×4 and smacked the mule right across the head. The young farmer was shocked! “I thought you said to talk kindly and softly to him?” The old farmer replied, “You do, but first you have to get his attention!” Sometimes, I can be a mule in need of a 2×4. (More woodworking!)

As if it was important to test my thesis, before I finished writing this short article, I had to see the doctor to determine why I was having such extreme episodes of shortness of breath. The doctor’s visit turned into a CAT scan which led to appointments with a pulmonologist and in-home oxygen. As I write this I am waiting for a biopsy of my lung tissue to be scheduled. I’m told it’s not expected to be a cancer. It isn’t COVID. Could it be the remnants of an old Covid infection? Possibly. Still, though, there are a lot of variants that don’t fit that. I’m also told that if I get COVID now, the flu, or a similar infection; it could be life-threatening. Do I make sure I wear a mask now every time I go out? Which side of the faith fence does that fall on?

After much consideration of this new question, I can say to you I am 100 percent comfortable not wearing a mask anywhere. I am not afraid that I will get an infection and I totally trust God to do whatever He wants to do. However…

What about the oxygen? That becomes a common-sense method to help with quality of life, not quantity for me, at least.

There is yet another consideration. If my family, those I care for more than any, ask me to wear a mask and do other things to prevent the risk of any infection, what would I do? If the doctor, who is a born-again believer tells me to prevent infection of any kind  I should mask up, what do I do? If I wear it to keep them comfortable and because I respect their wishes, but I know God knows my heart and He knows I trust Him, is it Okay? What if it impairs my Christian witness for others who do not know the back story, they just see me, “Mr. No-Mask” suddenly wearing one. Is my testimony hurt?

Sometimes a question doesn’t have an immediately clear answer. Sometimes, maybe there is more than one good option. That is where we can trust God’s word. You can be certain, there is only one truth. Regardless of what the Oregon school board believes, 2+2 still only equals 4. There is only the truth of God’s word. It is timeless and it covers every possible contingency. The truth is that God is in control. He will always do what is best and will bring glory and honor to Himself. If I can trust God with my every breath, I can trust Him to make certain my testimony is not damaged while I take the prudent course of action and do as I am asked by family and instructed by my physician. If I say that God has placed physicians in our lives to help us with our quality of life and then I refuse to follow their admonitions, I am not honoring God. I will do as I am told.

According to God’s word, every individual is responsible to God for his or her own actions, for the condition of their heart. That said, no one can dictate to you on an issue such as whether you are trusting God either by wearing a mask or by not wearing a mask. That is between you and God. He knows your heart and you can always ask Him to strengthen your faith. I am certain I will do that as I go through whatever lay ahead. I believe our churches need to open up and trust God and not allow politicians to push us by decrees that are not laws and are not passed in an open session of our legislatures (state or federal) to make laws, by votes of elected representatives. That, honestly, has always been my biggest sticking point regarding ‘mask decrees’.

If the governor decreed all Christians to wear a yellow crucifix sewn to our outer garment, would we do it just because he said so? Just wondering. If it is under the threat of death, would we? I am not judging any past groups of peoples. The Jews persecuted by the Nazi 3rd Reich showed incredible fortitude and no one can walk in their shoes today. But we, as a church, better decide now, before it happens, where do we draw our line in the sand? The time is coming when we will either hold that line or acquiesce. Prepare now to stand strong when it comes, not if it comes.

My time woodworking has been beneficial to me. I hope maybe it might help you think through some things for yourself. I’m not as ‘spiritual’ as I was before. Now, I am just thankful for each breath and I’ll keep on, one breath at a time.

50 Years of ‘CQ, and Standing By…’

“…it gets into your blood and there’s nothing you can do about it but live it.”

The National NC57 was built as a ‘high-end’ receiver just after WWII.

In the late 1960’s, a twelve-year-old boy was regularly visiting his uncle and staying (on non-school nights) sometimes into the early morning hours. Luckily for him, his uncle lived just across the street! Of course, I was that young boy and my uncle, was Vernon Clarke. He was a ‘ham’ radio operator whose callsign was W8TJS or topless jazz singer! My fascination in the hobby was with the phone-patch traffic Vern would run for U.S. Navy ships at sea allowing sailors to talk to their loved-ones by phone connected through Vern’s radio. He ran phone-patch traffic for scientific expedition stations in Antarctica and for missionaries all over the world. It wasn’t so much that I chose Amateur Radio as a hobby as ham radio chose me. Vern used to say that it gets into your blood and there is nothing you can do about it but live it.

Back in my day… (I’m allowed to say that now, I get ‘senior discounts’ at Denny’s!) Back in my day, to get a ‘Novice’ license from the FCC to operate a ham radio, you first had to pass a sending and receiving Morse Code at a rate of 5 words per minute. I would tune my receiver to code sending stations and try to copy what they sent. I had a Radio Shack practice key that would allow me to tap out code and I’d hear it on its built in speaker. It wasn’t attached to a transmitter so only I (and most everyone else in my house, none of whom cared to listen) could hear my code sending. My father, though never into ham radio had been a radioman aboard the PC1261 in WWII, and could copy code and type it onto an old manual typewriter at a speed of 60 wpm. My attempts at 5 wpm were like nails on a chalkboard to him but he never complained!

“Straight Key” used for basic CW (continuous wave) Morse Code

In addition to the 5 wpm code test, a written test on radio basic electronics, FCC rules and federal laws related to radio operation. Thankfully, the Novice test could be given by a ham radio operator with a minimum of an Advanced grade license which Vern had. I sat at his radio and he gave me the code test. Once I passed it, he ordered the written exam. I sat at his kitchen counter where I had sat more times than I can remember for soup or hot chocolate on a cold winter day, so it was comfortable, and I was as at ease as I could possibly have been. After what seemed like an interminable 6 weeks, I received my Novice license in the mail. I was now officially a ‘ham’ with a callsign of WN8KMP. Vern proudly loaned me a Heathkit HW01 crystal controlled (rock-bound) transmitter. Pictured here are some typical crystals. Each was good for one frequency. If there wasn’t someone available on the specific frequencies matching your crystals, you were out of luck. You could not tune until you found someone. Hence the term rock bound.  I would pound out in code, “CQ, CQ CQ” which is ham radio code for ‘is there anyone out there who wants to talk?’ It is followed by your callsign and then you ‘standby’ or wait to see if anyone answers.

The Novice license was good for just two years and was not renewable. This was designed to push you on to a higher grade license which included Technician, General, Advanced and Extra. Not all of those grades exist today but I still hold my General class license I finally received just before my Novice ticket expired. The code test for General Class was 13 wpm which after two years wasn’t as bad as it seemed, but test jitters having to take the code exam at a federal building in Cleveland, Columbus or Detroit was a bit unnerving. Hence two failed attempts, but the third time was a charm! That was an adventure all its own for another day.

I began enjoying DXing which means reaching out to people in faraway places and often times we would ‘Rag Chew’ which was slang for just talking about our hobby, our families, and what it is like to live where we do. Still, on voice, a ham will call, “CQ, CQ, CQ” when looking to meet a new contact.

When I got my General class license and became WB8KMP, I dropped the ‘N’ and picked up a ‘B’.  I bought a used Heathkit HW 101 which did CW and SSB (voice) on multiple bands and with a VFO or variable frequency oscillator. That meant, basically, I was no longer rock bound! I could go anywhere in the ham bands my license would permit! The HW 101 I bought was three years old when I got it in 1973. I eventually upgraded to the Heathkit SB104 which I still have, and it still works.

The world has changed drastically in my 50 year ride as a ham particularly in electronics! The things a small transceiver can do that will fit in the palm of a hand go far beyond anything the large transmitter-receiver sets of the 60’s! Hams now communicate by satellite and by SSTV and computer links. For me, though, I still love DXing and Rag Chewing! I have radios on bands that use repeaters to rebroadcast signals and are used a great deal in local emergency communications. The world of Amateur Radio is as expansive as the inventive minds of hams can make it. I’m pleased to still be hamming it up after 50 years, but I certainly cannot believe that it got here this quickly!

A QSL Card – a card used to confirm or QSL a contact – exchanged between operating stations

Even now, long after my wonderful uncle became a ‘silent-key’, I am still scanning the frequencies and every now and again, someone just might here, ‘This is WB8KMP calling CQ and standing by…”

In ‘ham speak’ I will say 73’s for now, which is so-long or see you later! Back in the day you could also say 88’s which was ‘hugs and kisses’ if you were speaking with a female ham or referring to a ham operator’s ‘XYL’ – another term probably not politically correct today. You see an unmarried lady in Morse Code abbreviations or cw slang which was used in voice communications, too; was a ‘YL’ or young lady. A married lady was, by someone’s logic, an ‘XYL’ – sell that to Cosmopolitan today!

Best 73’s and I hope to talk with you later on down the log.

DEATH WATCH

God bless the men and women in law enforcement, our first responders, our military. They deserve better than we have given them. America, it is time to put up or shut up.

No greater love has anyone than he lays down his life for his friend… John 15:13

Can there be any sadder thought than to realize how men and women, dedicated to serving in an extremely dangerous role for people they do not even know, not only are hurt and maimed, but they also die? They leave behind families, wives, husbands, children to mourn them and miss them for a lifetime. Thank God, others stand up to take their place.

The year 2020 has been horrific for many reasons, perhaps at the top of the list is not just the sky-rocketing numbers of police officer deaths, it is the unconscionable disgrace of those in political office, specifically the Democratic Party, to not rale in angst against those who would violate the very core of our civil society. This, however, is not intended to be a political statement. Politics is NOT the source of the problem, it is we, the people.

Here are the issues: In 2019, police agencies suffered 48 felonious deaths in 19 states and in Puerto Rico which was a drop of 8 over 2018. That, in its way, was good news. Still it was 8 over just four years earlier in 2015 as well as 2019.

But here is the hard part – In 2020 on November 10th with still 51 days to go in the year, the total number of officers killed is 146, 8 percent higher than all of 2019. Fifty officers killed by firearms: 13 percent higher than all of 2019.

If the trend continues, at least 32 more officers will die by before New Year’s Eve. Eight by firearms and another twenty-four will die by other causes.

In 2019 19 states and Puerto Rico…

In 2020, Officers died in 35 states 2 territories plus 4 federal agents were killed, 2 tribal officers and 1 in the U.S. military.

Don’t let our men and women who stand on that thin blue line stand alone. Support them amongst all the political garbage being thrown at them. Stand for them every single day with all your energy and know that it is not just that they earned it, they more than deserve it. The deserve the support of every true American. What is happening in law enforcement, the hurt, the hate, the depression and officers, good officers, leaving for any work other than that which they once loved is a symptom of something much deeper.

Personally, I am sick of people degrading our country, and I don’t mean people from other lands. I mean Americans who bad-mouth everything, it seems, that stands for right, for justice, for decency. It is time we took back America from the left-wingers who want to socialize the woke and who want to close shops and desecrate families in the name of what is, at the very best, limited real truth about a virus from which 99.9 percent of people have survived. They would lock us in our homes while demanding we relinquish our unalienable rights to worship together, to live our lives free from tyranny and oppression while demanding we give up our constitutionally protected firearms. Would they even stoop to criminally interfere with each American’s right to be heard at the ballot box, in the public square? These same people claim that violent carnage in the streets are freedom of speech not crimes. They coddle the criminals and victimize the poor and under-educated with welfare designed to rob them of their right, their ability to pursue happiness.

We are Americans. Our police, our first responders and people deserve better than what political whore-mongers are giving us. We have forgotten that WE are the PEOPLE. It doesn’t say at the beginning of the Declaration of Independence, ‘We the sheep…’ Antifa and the two or three women who are raking in millions being the actual core of BLM are working to subvert everything about our law enforcement. It is time to say, ‘We have had enough! We are not going to be written off any longer! The ‘silent majority’ must find its voice or America is finished!

God bless the men and women in law enforcement, our first responders, our military. They deserve better than we have given them. America, it is time to put up or shut up.

The following is a short anecdote I picked up from the site I credited at the end and the photos are from that same site and another. Please visit those sites and, if you are so inspired, patronize the businesses there listed. But listen closely to the words, though written, as they reach out to you. Thank you to @ammoandgrace for sharing it.

“Last night I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner when my officer came downstairs, almost ready to leave for work. He handed me his badge with a mourning band pulled over it and asked, “can you help me with this?” I pinned it on his uniform with steady hands, gave him a kiss, said a prayer, and sent him out into the night. To do the very same job that killed an officer the evening prior. As the garage door shut and I watched his patrol car drive away, I felt my heart shatter into a thousand tiny pieces. I thought of the dozens (of) officers we’ve lost in the line of duty this year alone and the thousands of officers we’ve lost before that. I thought about their families left behind, and the holes they now have in their lives where their loved ones used to be. I thought about the LEOW just like me who kissed her officer goodbye two days ago and never got to kiss him again. I thought about our broken world and the hurt and hatred around every corner. I felt a literal pain in my chest. But at the same time as I felt my heart shattering, I also felt it swell. I am PROUD of my husband for choosing to dedicate his life to serving and protecting others. I am humbled by his servant heart. I am awed by his steadiness and certainty. I am forever indebted to him and the thousands of other first responders all-across our country who make the choice to keep showing up for their communities, regardless of the price and sacrifice. Last night, my heart broke for our blue family, and I know it will break again. But today, my heart overflows, knowing that my officer and thousands of others are answering their calls to serve, no matter how high the cost.” – @ammoandgrace

CREDITS

https://www.thinbluelineusa.com/  A Wife’s Heart

https://www.ebay.com/  Tattered Blue

https://pin.it/2DaXGuK

TREE of LIBERTY

May the lessons of the Spring of 2020 give us wisdom, encourage us to use our own common sense and embolden us to stand for what we know to be right.

               If you enjoy writing, like I do, there are times when something comes to mind and it almost writes itself as you sit before the blank ‘paper’ on the computer screen. The text flows like a mountain stream, careening over rocks and splashing into small pools as it winds its way down to the valley. Other times, there is a tug inside you, letting you know there is something you are to write and you hope it will burst forth like that stream and give you what you are to say. Still though, at times the tug is just that, a tug. There is a piece you are to write but no matter how long you stare at that blank screen, the only thing that envelopes you is how blank the screen truly is. Instead of a mountain stream you feel like a dustbowl farmer following a diviner with his crooked y shaped  stick, hoping he will find a trickle of water somewhere! You couldn’t put two sentences together to make an interesting opening line if the threat of three more weeks of quarantine hung over your head! If there were no tug, no sense of something worth writing and, more importantly, something worthwhile for others to read, it would be no big deal. Without the feel of something to write, you turn off the computer and go take up couch-potato duty. Thankfully, revelation struck almost simultaneously with me stubbing the pinky toe of my foot on the leg of my desk. Of course, it was the same foot that carries the weight of the recovering broken ankle. Such an event is the confluence of the Laws of Physics and the Laws of Natural Stupidity.    

            Like many Americans, if I see come across my news feed another COVID-19 update, I will not be responsible for my actions. Anyone who sees a desk or laptop computer come sailing out of my study window or an I-phone hurled from my F-150 at 70 mph will know that likely, the saturation level for COVID-19 news has been breached. It is difficult enough to deal with America’s 24/7 news casts which have as many talking heads as there are opinions. When there is no new news, the editors and producers beat the bushes looking for someone who has trained their pet to don a mask and protective gear whenever it goes out to do its business.                            

            At the risk of violating my own restriction and perhaps stretching the limits of my personal sanity just a bit further, there is something I would like to explore not about COVID-19 but because of it. I promise not to even refer to the 19 word again. If I do so, may the writing gods Penna and Pencilius  and their elder minions, White-us Outus and Carbona Paperia, wreak havoc upon my writing forever more.   

            Most have seen a shortened version of a quote by Thomas Jefferson from a letter he penned while serving in Paris. A few know the background and some know the extended version of the quote. It is replicated here.

   “And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms… The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Thomas Paine

A bold statement for any man in those days and particularly one serving as a representative of his fledgling country. Jefferson wrote this in a letter dated November 13, 1787, to William S. Smith who was in London. It reflects upon poetry by Thomas Paine. The ballad was written in 1775 upon the eve of the American Revolution. In the ballad he paid homage to a 130 year-old elm tree that stood in Boston Commons, under which, according to historians, colonists gathered to discuss the events leading to revolution. He  dubbed it Liberty Tree. The first stanza reads:

“In a chariot of light, from the regions of the day,
The Goddess of Liberty came,
Ten thousand celestials directed her way,
And hither conducted the dame.
A fair budding branch from the gardens above,
Where millions with millions agree,
She brought in her hand as a pledge of her love,

 And the plant she named Liberty Tree.”

Liberty Tree on Boston Commons

Delicate is the balance of the branches of the Tree which upholds a diverse nation of peoples gathered in unique states, each united together ‘with the consent of the governed to permit representatives to conduct national affairs for their common good. The sacred document ratified by the diverse states permits the national government to do only those few things enumerated within this Constitution. In times of national crisis, certain powers are given to both the federal government and the state-houses of the individual states which can impose upon and restrict the rights of the individual citizen when it is deemed as in the best interest of the common good. The viability of such decrees are tenuous at best and it is very much a sure bet, those who find themselves wielding such new power will do two things.

            First, they will stretch the permission they have been given to decree from on-high too far. It will come almost to the breaking-point of the citizens’ willingness to obey, even if it truly is for ‘their own good.’ The citizen unused to such restraint will chafe at the bit and will not take kindly to the whip,

            Second, they will battle against the disassembly of their new-found power, seeking to maintain such power as the new status-quo. The public should be vigilant of any efforts to codify the new powers into legislation that would extend the usurpation of citizens’ rights beyond the crisis for which they have been approved.

            These two axioms are all but written in celestial stone as the negative result of the extension of power to fallible mankind. Therefore, citizens must consider at great length the nature of crises for which they are willing to subject themselves and their posterity to a curtailing of their basic rights. Persons in positions of power can always find enough experts, enough people of a single-mind who urge the restriction of citizens’ freedoms. They will claim to endow power to those who know best  what is  good for the majority.  For that reason alone, citizens must refuse to permit such a transfer of rights from the many to the few except in the most grievous of circumstances and for a specific period of time. Yes, even under the declaration of a national emergency, there are limitations and such a forfeiture of rights cannot continue without the consent of the governed through their representatives. The people must also be vigilant to revoke their permission when the true common good dictates. To do less, is to invite tyranny where there once was a republic.

            James Monroe understood the principle of certain basic rights which must never be traded for the promise of security. He wrote:

        Of the liberty of conscience in matters of religious faith, of speech and of the press; of the trial by jury of the vicinage in civil and criminal cases; of the benefit of the writ of habeas corpus; of the right to keep and bear arms…if these rights are well defined, and secured against encroachment, it is impossible that government should ever degenerate into tyranny.

            As an aside, for those who choose to twist the 2nd Amendment to refer only to the possession and carrying of firearms for sport and hunting or with some other imagined restriction, the mind of the founding fathers is clear in both Jefferson’s and Monroe’s quotes included here.  The same follows for James Madison’s and Patrick Henry’s statements which follow. Tyranny cannot exist minus the voluntary or coerced acceptance by the majority. The latter cannot be coerced when the inalienable rights of the citizens as outlined by Monroe in the quote above are kept sacrosanct and inviolate.

In a brief titled, Second Opinion two others from the earliest days of our nation’s founding make their stand on the bearing of arms and the keeping of American government (or any government) in check regarding the rights of the citizens, James Madison and Patrick Henry write convincingly on the subject.

 James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, wrote in Federalist No. 26: “The advantage of being armed…the Americans possess over the people of all other nations…. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several Kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”

In Virginia, Patrick Henry argued: “The great object is that every man be armed…. Everyone who is able may have a gun. … Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel.” George Mason said of the need to bear arms, “To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

These Founders are not talking about defending individual liberty from foreign invasion — but from tyranny within.[i]

May the lessons of the Spring of 2020 give us wisdom, encourage us to use our own common sense and embolden us to stand for what we know to be right.                                

CLOSING THOUGHTS                      

Patriots met at the 130 year old Liberty Tree in Boston during the late 1760s. The tree got its nickname from an act of rebellion that occurred on August 14, 1765.  On September 11 of that year, a plaque was placed on the elm tree commemorating the event with the words, The Tree of Liberty. [ii] The tree was chopped down by loyalists and British soldiers during the siege of Boston, August 1775 ten years following its rise to fame.

Author’s notes:

Circumstantial events lie the aligning of dates is cause for reflection. Notice the date the plaque was placed at the tree.

The aligning of the Laws of Physics and Laws of Stupidity (page 1 paragraph 1) do not take full responsibility for the inspiration of this piece. Next to the desk upon which I stubbed my toe is a credenza upon which I caught my balance. Resting in a locked case on that credenza is my custom made “We the People” Colt .45 1911 firearm. My epiphany came between the outbursts exclaiming pain and holding onto the table to keep from falling!


[i] CelebrateBoston.com

[ii ] https://www.tysknews.com/Depts/2nd_Amend/tree_of_liberty.htm

A Story

One bright and sunny summer day, an old man came walking into town. He was a quizzical looking old man with a dusty hat that hung low over his eyes.

All good stories begin with Once Upon a Time, except the best story ever, it begins with “In the beginning…” Well, I can’t match the Bible’s story so, let’s start out with the classic line.

Once upon a time, in a land that would look very much like America today, there was a small town, in a vastly rural area in which some of the richest people in the world lived. They had so much of everything. Whenever what they possessed broke, they just bought new. They could go where they wanted and, pretty much, do as they pleased. They had to obey the laws and pay their taxes, but they were still very much free to do whatever they liked. One thing was certain, they believed that they were never going to have to answer for anything they did which may have been in some way wrong.  They were masters of their fate.

One bright and sunny summer day, an old man came walking into town. He was a quizzical looking old man with a dusty hat that hung low over his eyes. The only thing you could see was long silver grey beard sticking out from under the hat. His hair was the shiniest silver grey anyone had ever seen. It was disheveled but clean and incredible to look at. His flowing beard was of the same lustrous silver grey and the mustache adorning his upper lip nearly covered his mouth completely, each end coming down and laying gently across his beard.

His clothes were certainly unique. He looked something like a cross between Indiana Jones and a motorcycle cop! His wore a tan shirt and jacket, a dark brown leather jacket to be precise. He carried a pouch slung across his shoulder, much in the Indiana Jones style and he carried along a worn backpack, the straps frayed and the canvas worn almost through in a couple of places. His ‘cargo’ style pants were tucked neatly into a pair of knee-high brown boots, the kind you might have seen a turn of the 20th Century motorcycle cop or maybe a ‘dough-boy’ cavalry soldier from WWI wear. He didn’t so much use a cane, as he did carry a stick that was also worn and well-marked from what must have been years of traveling by foot. His right hand gnarled and thick from hard work and long years clutched the crown of the stick that had the appearance of an eagle in flight.

The old man walked to the center of the city, strolling up to a bench in front of the magnificent city hall. There was just enough breeze to catch the flags and slap them against the wind. As he lay his pack on the bench, he took off his hat, running his forearm sleeve across his brow. He sat down with a sigh and began to gaze out across the city hall courtyard of marbled fountains and intricate stone-work patios. A valiant-looking bronze eagle was perched atop a design of the city’s seal which bore on it pictures of industry, farming and business. Yes, it was a fairly grand looking courtyard, the bushes neatly trimmed, the grass watered just enough and manicured so that no weed would dare poke its ugly head up to the sunlight. After a short time, it seemed the man dozed, but a curious thing was happening as people seemed drawn to come look at him. He had said nothing, was offering nothing; yet folks were hearing about him and coming, even from their homes, to stop by and stare at this old gentleman as he reposed upon the bench in the afternoon sun.

As the crowd grew, a hushed murmur was evident across the group, for it seemed no one wanted to disturb the gentleman in the flowing silver-grey hair now taken up residence in their city center. A slight hint of a smile seemed to cross his face, even as his eyes remained closed and his hands rested, crossed on top of the walking stick’s eagle crown. His eyes opened slowly and the smile grew brighter as he looked across at the crowd which had gathered to gawk at this strange sight of a man. And then, he spoke.

How long will you simple people continue to live in your simple ways? His question caught the townspeople off-guard. “What does he mean simple? We have some of the best technology money can buy!” Another remarked, “How dare he call us simple! Haven’t we got a fine university here and so many of our citizens are well-educated!” The old man was silent, looking out; his blue eyes seeming to pierce into the hearts of those who met his gaze.

“How long,” he said quietly, “will those who laugh and scorn others continue their derision and the foolish ones of you hate knowledge?” The townspeople were not sure whether to be angry at the old man or if he was just a simple-minded old man, off his medications and his mouth uttering whatever entered his feeble mind. The old man slowly began to rise from his bench, his right hand firmly grasping the cane for support.

“You should regret what I must say to you and you must turn from your pride and mocking and beg forgiveness to God for not taking time to understand His ways!”

Now the people began to think the old man was mentally off and maybe he could be dangerous! Someone thought the police should be called to control the old man and take him away if necessary. Still he spoke again. “I will be here and I will teach you the right way to live. None of you will listen, though. You will close off your ears and not pay attention to what I try to tell you. I will have no choice but to punish you for the way you are.” His last statement was said with a mixture of emotions. It was at once forceful and commanding and at the same time, so very sad. It was if his heart was breaking to say it.

Some of those standing near, laughed at the old man. Most laughed in a heckling way, while others, had just a bit of nervousness in their laugh. They called out to one another that the old man was mad and should be locked up and then they, too, laughed.

Now standing, his arm outstretched, the cane pointing menacingly at the crowd. “I will laugh,” he said, “when disaster, which I bring upon you, strikes you down and fills you with fear!”

Some of the people now backed away, but none could seem to just leave. They remained drawn to this old man dangerously threatening to strike them. He called out in a strong voice, “When disaster comes and blows away this majestic city and you cry out to me to protect you, I will not answer you.” The old man turned his gaze heavenward, then returning his eyes to the crowd, he declared, “You will search for me but you will not be able to find me.”

It was, as if, the sunny summer afternoon with the light breeze had turned ominous. The sky was now grey and clouds were gathering. The sun was blocked by growing clouds.

The old man looked, with pity, upon the young children standing there. As if to explain, he spoke gently to them. “They would not listen to me. They hated the knowledge I tried to share and they refused to even acknowledge how God has blessed them. Now, they must face what comes to those who do not know, honor and share God. It is their own foolishness that will destroy them.”

The children, unafraid, came closer to the old man as he sank back to the bench, exhausted. Some climbed up and sat next to him but all were staring longingly into his tired eyes. It was as though they hoped for good news from him after such bad.

Gently, the old man placed his hands on the heads of the children closest to him, leaning down, he spoke reassuringly to them. “Whoever listens to me will live safely and never have any fear of harm.” As he spoke, a hint of sunshine broke through the clouds and brightened the bench with its strange occupant and all the children sitting near. The old man slowly rose, slinging his pack onto his back, he started walking away.

“When will these things be? When will the disaster come?” some of the men hollered after the old man as he walked away. He just kept walking. Some of them laughed even more loudly, calling out insults to the old man as he left. Many more stood silent, lost in their thoughts as the figure of the old man faded from sight.

(The preceding was an adaptation of Proverbs 1:20-33)

Reflecting Further

For me, the line in the sand of the Arabian deserts is drawn with two sticks. One stick is the expansion… of Iran’s nuclear capability…The second stick is… in the hands of a young American soldier in the desert with a wife and child back home in the States.

Recently I posted a blog about a Bully… In it I wrote:

 If there are any U.S. veterans or current military personnel out there not completely livid with the actions of this Congress to limit our military’s right to defend itself and our Commander in Chief’s right to exercise that military to protect others and America’s interests,  I have got to hear from you… I look across the Middle East and I have to ask myself, who has allowed this 3rd world upstart of a country to gain such bully status? Although it is the second largest country in the Middle East, it is barely larger in square miles than our single state of Alaska!…

Iran has permitted the likes of the Taliban, ISIS, and al Qaeda while building a nuclear capability allied with North Korea, Russia and China.  

Here is where we find ourselves on 10 January 2020… Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday that ballistic missile attacks targeting U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq Wednesday morning were “a slap in the face” to the United States.

IRAN – the BULLY in the neighborhood… Why? Because we are allowing it. The ruling Ayatollah and those loyal to him are killing their own people, jailing those who object and it is morally wrong for those in Congress to hamper the legitimate efforts of our military and its Commander in Chief to do everything it can to protect the lives of American soldiers who are in harm’s way, American citizens and private individuals in Iraq and those in Iran who choose to stand against the ruling regime. The Ayatollah has vowed to pursue nuclear weapons with the only goal of striking against America and Israel. At what point will our Congress wake up rather than be ‘woke’?

And I put in this plea:  Remember the name of each and every Representative and Senator who has voted to keep our military from being able to defend themselves when you go next to the ballot box.

I’ve been giving a great bit of thought to things even as the circus of impeachment continues and members of Congress are so far out of touch with America and its people, it is scary. There is another side of the Iran issue I think needs to be considered. Here are my ruminations on that subject.

So far I have considered the American side of the coin. We, (the royal we including most Western nations), own a good piece of the blame for allowing Iran to be the bully, to have the military, to threaten with nuclear weaponry… Certainly, other western countries can point their finger at America and say it is our fault, and they are partially correct. We have had the most capability to put a stop to it during past administrations and we haven’t. Still, there is enough blame to go around.

HOWEVER, a very large part of the blame (for lack of a better term) lies with the Iranian people. How long are they going to put up with these bullies in black robes? There is a point that lies vaguely out in the cosmos somewhere. It is the place where people either fix what is wrong or they refuse to right the wrongs of the government over them choosing to ignore the abuses of that government. Their non-action, or ineffective action, becomes collusion. No longer can they maintain innocent bystander status, if there even is such a thing in today’s world.

The Christian who is also a patriot to his country walks a fine line. His first allegiance is to Christ, everything else is second. Some Christians take the words of Jesus, “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s” to mark the dichotomy between the two and it is an appropriate line. Others turn to Paul’s remarks in Romans, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same…” They then declare that any action taken against even an evil or oppressive government is wrong and we are to bide our time and let God deal with it.

How do we follow that thinking when faced with demonic rulers such as Adolph Hitler and the bullies we see currently in Iran? To be very open, I don’t know. Remember, when Paul wrote, Romans were killing Christians for sport. The Roman lions were the unbeatable opponent. Allow me to take a line from the United States’ Declaration of Independence.

“…all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.”

The point is made here that people are more likely to continue to permit suffering rather than get rid of the familiar as long as the suffering is tolerable, (more likely that it is on someone else’s front porch and not my own). How much stronger is the desire to not go against the authorities when the authorities claim divine position and to go against them is to assure oneself of hell? This is particularly true when the religion being so used has been inculcated into their very DNA since they were born.

I must choose how to correctly interpret what Paul’s words meant to the people of his day and how that applies to people today. After much soul-searching and prayerful consideration, I determined that if I must err, if it is an error, I choose to stand on the side of protecting those who are unable to protect themselves. When any person, organization, political body, government or military does evil against any person, particularly those most vulnerable, the weak, infirm, the widows and orphans, the children, then I must stand between them and that evil. I believe the weight of the biblical evidence supports such action. I pray and thank God that He continues to have mercy upon me when such decisions must be rendered. I encourage anyone who might read this to determine for yourself where you stand. There will be no time to contemplate it when the time comes. The following poem by Martin Niemoller says it best. It’s titled, First They Came for the Jews.

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.
Martin Niemöller

The Nazis imposed identification of the Jews

Will there be a time when the people of Iran have heard enough lies and seen enough abuse, felt the crush of unbridled power to that undefinable point and take a stand to demand there be revolution? In a bold move recently, rather than face a possible showdown with the IRGC, (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), Ayatollah Khamenei played a slick card trick. He has moved to declare those who were killed by Iranian forces in the street riots over the past few weeks as martyrs. What does that mean? It means the families of those killed are set financially for life. They have an honored status now in Iran. What better way to quell a rebellion than buying off those responsible for it.

Israel apparently has decided to allow the U.S. to take the lead in actions against Iran. Strategists suggest that as long as the U.S. is pushing back against Iran, Israel will be able to allow the U.S. to take the lead and perhaps ease the threat against itself for a short time. Still others believe it is only a matter of time until Tehran acts against Israel again.

Courtesy STRATFOR

SUMMARY

“So, now what?” In the movie, Big Jake, (you knew it was coming, right?), John Wayne is an absentee father now reconnected with two of his sons to retrieve a kidnapped grandson. Events make the sons believe their father stole the $1M meant as ransom and when they challenge him, he towers over them, hands on his hips and defiantly says, “So, now what?” The sons had a choice to make. Do they challenge or cower?

Does the United States wait for Israel to act? Do we wait and encourage the Iranian people to act? To think that U.S. resources are not currently in place creating incentives for insurrection is to be going about with one’s head in the sand. Will government changes at the top in Moscow make a difference?

Iran has threatened just this week that if the Western countries open the Iranian nuclear file before the U.N. Security Council, they will leave the non-proliferation agreement… Whoopi! As if anyone believed they were following it anyway!

For me, the line in the sand of the Arabian deserts is drawn with two sticks. One stick is the expansion and development of Iran’s nuclear capability. If they approach weaponization, all deals are off and the Iranian people need to know they are in a time crunch for acting in their own best interests. When that line is crossed, there is no doubt there will be collateral damage. Notice, I did not say of innocent bystanders because, at some point, inaction becomes collusion. If nothing else, they should remove themselves from harm’s way for their children’s sake if not their own. The children, sadly, will be at risk because of their parents’ choices.

The second stick is best visualized in the hands of a young American soldier in the desert with a wife and child back home in the States. When he and his brothers are fired upon, the green flag is down, the gate is up and America responds for as many furlongs as it takes.

In every smallest detail, we pray. We pray for peace in the region. We pray for the safety of our troops. We pray for the salvation of every individual in Iran and beyond and we pray for divine guidance for our leaders, particularly for wisdom for our Commander in Chief.

I thank God that He has allowed me to be a citizen of this great nation which I have sworn to defend. I thank Him all the more that He sought me out to be a citizen of His heavenly kingdom and may I never do, say or write anything to tarnish His Name.

“I solemnly swear… I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States… against all enemies foreign and domestic…that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…so help me God.

Bully on the Block

We still have the finest military in the world and America is great even with some real pieces of work sitting in positions of authority in Congress!

The BULLY in the HOOD who NANCY loves!

Apparently, it is not just Nancy!

Nancy new math and a new Non-Bully for Ali Zone

If you’re in Congress and consider yourself a “progressive – D” or just a “good ‘ol – D” then you are responsible for the bully in the neighborhood who loves to not just beat up but has sworn to kill as many Americans as possible and has threatened to kill the President of the United States! This same bully has openly declared war on the United States, it appears his military shot down an unarmed Ukrainian passenger plane killing everyone on board and now appears to have hidden or destroyed the black box from the wreckage. You, if you are a progressive liberal ‘D’ know this bully, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and you apparently also see him like Nancy Pelosi sees him… Yes, you see him as a super-hero! I can hear Nancy droning on…

 “Oh, of course all of those things they do are baaaad,” she might say. “But the bully gives us leverage to use against a president we hate and that makes this bully goooood!”

AND then came the TV version of Bachelor Bully…

GAMESHOW HOST: “Okay, Robin, it’s time to meet our next bully bachelor (or a married guy whose religion says he can have as many wives as he wants – even if they are still in elementary school…) Let’s bring him out, now, straight from the carnage of a civilian airline crash caused by his military, here he is, that tough guy of Tehran… Ali – ‘Come on inee!

According to RedWire News and USA Today

The camera scans the audience to show Nancy Pelosi in rapt attention as Ali, who she wants to be her ‘Ali-baabaa’ strolls majestically to the podium by our host. (A black box of some size can be seen hidden in his robe… go to commercial to fix the robe!)

Back in the 8th District of California, Nancy’s handlers are rapidly struggling to find a way to smooth out the erasure marks on the red line drawn across “No Bullies in Our Communities” posters and hiding the posters with the photo op of Nancy: “Vacation in Iran – Air fare is at its cheapest and lodging for Americans is paid for by the government!” The poster also promises a chance for a trip from Tehran to Bagdad to view the American Embassy at your leisure!

Okay, a little tongue-in-cheek sarcasm designed to abate my anger for a few minutes while I try to pen something not frothing across the page.

If there are any U.S. veterans or current military personnel out there not completely livid with the actions of this Congress, I have got to hear from you. Right now, as I sit in my warm home, in a comfortable chair, the streets outside safe and quiet thanks to all of the cops whose efforts we mark annually as we did recently with a Day of Appreciation. I have no fear tonight of an air to ground missile or a long-range ICBM landing in my horse barn because our American military is on the job. They are standing their watch and all is secure.

But about a dozen or so time zones away, young American soldiers, volunteers every single one of them, is waiting for the next shell burst and loud whistling noise of incoming missiles and they have no idea what might wait just past the concertina wire. I snuggle in next to my wife tonight. They hunker down with their M-16 while people like Nancy Pelosi and the self-aggrandizing, liberal pantywaists are arguing about whether these young soldiers’ Commander in Chief can give them the green light to protect themselves! How dare they!

Yes, our Constitution requires the civilian oversight of the military and for good reason. That civilian is our Commander in Chief. There are millions of Americans, civilians – mostly veterans, who would jump on a plane tonight, if they could, to stand shoulder to shoulder with their brothers and sisters in arms. We want nothing to do with the Progressive Pablum suckers who have kowtowed to Khamenei and his like, groveling like Obama did before the Saudi royalty. It’s enough to make me retch.

Bullies worldwide need to know that America will not kowtow to them or to the leftest, socialists who think they control the school-yard and the White House.

I look across the Middle East and I have to ask myself, who has allowed this 3rd world upstart of a country to gain such bully status? Although it is the second largest country in the Middle East, it is barely larger in square miles than our single state of Alaska! Its population is roughly similar to that of Germany whose unemployment rate is 3.3% while Iran’s is over 12%. Iran’s GDP is $458.5 Billion and Germany’s is $3.86 Trillion.

Iran has permitted the likes of the Taliban, ISIS, and al Qaeda while building a nuclear capability allied with North Korea, Russia and China. I personally don’t believe any of those allies would truly push for a hot war with the U.S. The leaders of those nations may be nuts but they’re not crazy.

Inside sources indicate over 1,500 Iranians have been killed and more than 7,000 incarcerated for protesting or other signs of dissent from Soleimani or the Tehran government.

Here is where we find ourselves on 12 January 2020…

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday that ballistic missile attacks targeting U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq Wednesday morning were “a slap in the face” to the United States.

Khamenei said the U.S. should leave the region, adding, “Military action like this is not sufficient. What is important is ending the corrupting presence of America in the region,” Reuters reported.

15 Missiles fired into Iraq at US/Iraqi Military Bases January 10, 2020

Video also appears to indicate that Iranian forces shot down the Ukrainian 737 airline, a passenger flight on 8 January immediately after its takeoff killing all 176 on board.

Intelligence sources indicate that Iran air defense radar locked onto the aircraft minutes after takeoff and fired two SA-15 surface to air missiles. Iran first refused to give up the black box from the airliner and later said to reporters that it had been lost. A short clip of that video is available at: https://youtu.be/7npI8InUVDQ

Iranian Government Faces Internal Pressure

The BBC reports that unrest in Iran is mounting following the admission of the horrific downing of the Ukrainian airliner, a ‘mistake’ by the Iran military, according to officials.  

One large departure from the U.S. news media and Congress has to do with Soleimani. Among Congressional Democrats, there seems as much cooing over Ali as there was for Soleimani but it seems, now weeks later, the people of Iran aren’t quite in step with the US news outlets and Congress who want to throw laurels on Soleimani’s grave, it’s more like invectives (if not incendiaries)!

In Tehran, large demonstrations have continued to occur. The one pictured below, the demonstrators are chanting that Soleimani is a murderer! Reports indicate he was quick to imprison or kill any who disagreed with his policies. Unlike the Democrats who seem to vindicate their actions against President Trump’s war powers by claiming he abused power by ordering the killing of Soleimani, U.S. Representative, Tom Cotton, (R) Arkansas and a veteran of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan said on the 12th, Soleimani was plotting “something large… something very dangerous” and he was “a sadistic terrorist mastermind and there is no country in the Middle East whose citizens have not suffered from his depredations.” He wrote of having received 1000’s of emails complaining of being forced to attend pro-government demonstrations over Soleimani.

Protestors chanting Soleimani was a murderer ignites in Tehran

According to The Guardian, Dominic Raah claims that Iran has “pariah status” after the arrest of the UK Foreign Minister on charges of inciting protestors and CNN reports Iran’s sole female Olympic medalist Kimia Alizadeh announced that she has permanently left her country for Europe.

Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin, of Iran, celebrates after winning a bronze medal in women’s 57-kg taekwondo competition at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

IRAN – the BULLY in the neighborhood… Why?

Because we are allowing it. The ruling Ayatollah and those loyal to him are killing their own people, jailing those who object and it is morally wrong for those in Congress to hamper the legitimate efforts of our military and its Commander in Chief to do everything it can to protect the lives of American soldiers who are in harm’s way, American citizens and private individuals in Iraq and those in Iran who choose to stand against the ruling regime. The Ayatollah has vowed to pursue nuclear weapons with the only goal of striking against America and Israel. At what point will our Congress wake up rather than be ‘woke’? Remember the name of each and every Representative and Senator who has voted to keep our military from being able to defend themselves when you go next to the ballot box.

How amazing it is that Ali Khamenei and the deceased General Soleimani have more support, apparently, in the U.S. Congress than among his own people!

“I solemnly swear… I will support and defend the constitution of the united states… against all enemies foreign and domestic…that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…so help me God.”

MBA Millennial Beautifully Astute

Just this week my lovely wife sent me a copy of a post tweeted as #Pleaseshare and it is worth the sharing. Alyssa Ahlgren, writing on an assignment, puts together some great explanation about how mistaken the Millennial view of socialism and capitalism is. Her words are great. I want to share with her though, don’t get discouraged. I have attended military graduations and the parade fields are full. The military recruits are so fortunate to be where they are and we, as Americans are so blessed to have them. The military turns away less qualified of the new recruits. Many are still excellent citizens with skills but not exactly what our military needs right now and we are in a position, we can be choosy. Our positions open in the military are often high-tech and the competition for those positions is very stiff. We still have the finest military in the world and America is great even with some real pieces of work sitting in positions of authority in Congress!

May God bless you and may God bless our fighting forces, their families and our Commander in Chief. May America bless God and may God bless America!

Arm Our Un-ARMED Forces

Lunch is over! Grab your rifles!

Naval Air Station Pensacola shooter was Saudi aviation student, investigators eye potential terror link

The gunman who opened fire Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, fatally shooting three people, has been identified as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, an aviation student from Saudi Arabia, and investigators are looking into whether the attack is terrorism-related, a U.S. official told Fox News.

Suicide by any person is a sadness brought about by stressors out of control. We  here at SCI, grieve the loss of life this week at the Hawaii Naval Base at Pearl Harbor.

The killings at Pensacola Naval Air Station reek of a possibly heinous and criminal motive which federal authorities are investigating.

However, what must not be missed is the speed at which both shootings occurred and how, at least in the second, if the U.S. would follow the lead of the IDF, casualties could be avoided. 

One of the ways average, otherwise loyal Americans give aid to our enemies comes through complacency. America has been at war with extremist Islamic terrorists since before 2001. Americans grow weary of war. Americans become complacent fearing that vigilance morphs into hyper-vigilance and we somehow become crazy extremists from the other side.  However, appropriate vigilance, situational awareness and the ability to act in the event of a crisis is not wrong, it is every American’s duty. 

What lesson should we learn from our Israeli allies who have been under attack since 1947, surrounded by enemies at every border?

A soldier in the IDF in uniform is armed. A soldier in the IDF not in uniform is armed. Why are the vast majority of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines living and working on and around U.S.military bases not armed? If the answer is lack of proficiency due to MOS, then make them proficient.

In the movie, The Battle of the Bulge, a 1965 Hollywood retelling of the events of December 1944 in WWII, Major Wolenski, a tired, battle weary American commander confronted a group of cooks as the city was being overrun. U.S. forces were scrambling between retreat and holding their positions. Wolenski, played by Charles Bronson:

Maj. Wolenski: Where do you think you’re going?

1st Cook: To the shelter.

Maj. Wolenski: No you’re not. Grab your rifles and come with me.

1st Cook: But we’re cooks!

Maj. Wolenski: [pauses] Lunch is over! Grab your rifles!

Well, America, lunch is over!

A U.S. serviceman regardless of age, sex or MOS is a walking target in uniform. They are also sworn to protect this country from all enemies foreign and domestic. It’s time we gave them the tools to fulfill their duty. Arm our troops at home and abroad and give them the authority to use those arms in the defense of their lives, the lives of their families, friends co- workers and  fellow Americans.

Whether the actions at Pensacola are learned to be a terrorist act or the results of a broken soul, the point remains that persons employed as members of the ARMED SERVICES should be ARMED.

Impeachment – The Enemy Within

“America will never be destroyed from the outside.  If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Abraham Lincoln

1838 speech – Springfield, Illinois

I am driven to write this, not out of a desire to share something of good that has come to my soul and it would near strike me down if I did not share it; rather, this is something heart-rending which tears at my soul and longs to be set down in print for others to consider.

I was not far from a local school recently and as I got closer to it, just about at the ‘School Zone’ signs, I saw a yard sign. Written upon it was a celebratory exclamation because the House had moved forward on impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Gladness and celebration at the prospect of taking the leader of our nation, the most powerful position in the world and attempt to show he has committed high crimes and/or misdemeanors worthy of being driven from office? How many children see that sign every day and what do they think about what they hear concerning America?

No American should revel in the fact that our nation is at a horrendous crossroads requiring us to consider such a trial. We should, rather, be broken and saddened by the state of our nation. This is not a political ‘we win – you lose’ game. This is all about the vibrant life of the greatest nation the world has ever known, so blessed by God; yet, so ardently denying Him.

Yes, it is a good thing we have a system which allows us to hold the President of our nation accountable to the people. But it is a sad and unnerving thing to think we have come to this point. The move toward impeachment should be a very last resort and one which is undertaken with deep sadness and regret, desiring any other option than this one to be possible, regardless of which side of the political fence – because we are Americans first over political party.

It matters not whether you like President Trump or despise him. If the Democrats are doing this solely out of malice and a whimsical belief that to bring President Trump down is to elevate their party, how very wrong it is! Neither American party will be enhanced by an impeachment. Both will lie, wounded and bleeding in the morass of the swamp they are creating. America’s enemies will win the day when we are so divided as to spend our elected representatives’ time dealing with a witch hunt, at its worst and the lawful taking down of a president over what may prove to be another red herring. They all have so much more pressing work to accomplish.

There may never have been a time in our history when the two principal parties in America’s system are so opposite one-another in their beliefs. To bring it to its simplest, the Democratic Party is widely endorsing the socialist economic methods which seek to evenly distribute the wealth of the people, no matter who worked harder or who achieved more. Those who have will give to those who have not, so everyone has a similar station in life. Healthcare is no cost to the individual because everyone is paying for it. That is translated, those who have worked hard and earned the most are paying for it for everyone else. Margaret Thatcher, once Prime Minister of England is reported to have said, “The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of someone else’s money.” If Communism is so wonderful, if socialized medicine so great… why do the citizens of countries where such can be had are clamoring at our borders trying to get in?

Sadly, such rhetoric as free healthcare, free college education, a monthly income guaranteed by the government for everyone whether you work or not, whether you are a citizen, or not still comes with a cost. Someone must pay for all these things. The richest will have loopholes to avoid being the ones to pay and, yes, that includes the Democrat politicians who are advocating it. All these bright juicy apples of temptation hang just within reach of those who advocate for this system, but more Democrats are needed. The answer, for them, is open borders. Let those who want to come, come regardless of any previous immigration limits and, yes, they all can have all the benefits – the freebies and they can have the right to vote, too! Problem solved, more Democrats. If one can get past the allure of all the free stuff, common sense tells you such a system cannot work. Why model ourselves after a system which failed so badly across Eastern Europe and the former U.S.S.R.

The Republican Party claims allegiance to ‘conservative’ governance with capitalism or free enterprise being the standard applied for economic planning. You earn it, you keep it minus a fair share to the government for services such as the military protection we value so greatly. Immigration is strictly limited to those who, coming in will be income producing and a positive benefit to the nation. Healthcare, insurance and as much of everything else as possible is privatized getting the government out of running every portion of our lives. The failure of Social Security should prove to anyone the government has no business trying to manage your money!

 The federal government has a very limited role, constitutionally. However, those roles have morphed over time by more stretching than any elastic has ever done – except for some Walmart shoppers’ wardrobes. Limited government, greater home (local) rule and the private lives of people being private; such is where the Republican Party has historically stood. They need to return to their roots.

Many who read this will say I have incorrectly stated this position or that and want to argue the fine points of each party’s platforms. Remember two things. First, I gave the caveat that I was stating the sides at their simplest. Second, this is not about which party is saying or doing whatever. This is focusing only on the issue of factionalism which is tearing our country apart. Every single one of us is to blame. If we have voted, we are to blame. If we have not voted, we are to blame. It is time we, the American people, held our representatives accountable to do the job we have sent them to do and to stop trying to destroy one another in hopes of improving their own station. If self advancement or even party advancement is what this entire impeachment is about then those behind it should be seen as traitors to the people they are supposed to represent.

Impeachment without true cause is horrific abuse of a political answer to the most grievous of situations with a President – using impeachments as a party tool to create division, confusion, and prevent progress to an administration simply because you disagree with him and long for something you think is better, but haven’t been able to win at the ballot box, is itself a misuse of authority and should be prosecuted.

 Any elected official who uses their Congressional power to advocate and vote for impeachment with the only motive being obstruction of the administration in office should be held accountable for their own misuse of power. Voting for impeachment should be a very heavy, last resort kind of move; when there truly are high crimes and misdemeanors being committed and every other remedy has been attempted and come up short then is the time to wrestle over the need to impeach. Not before every other possible solution has been exhausted. When people begin to clamor for impeachment before a person has even taken office is more than ridiculous, it is criminal.

Abraham Lincoln was right about many things. His quote, written at the beginning of this is so sadly correct. May God help us.

Art provided courtesy of Nathan Greene Studios.

The ‘Father of our Country’ our first president, General George Washington was elected to office before there was such a thing as political parties. As he prepared to retire after 8 years, when he was encouraged by many to seek a third term; he wrote an impassioned letter on his retirement from public office. He believed the Constitution needed to be ratified and he sought that through his pleas. To promote the strength of the Union, he urges the people to place their identity as Americans above their identities as members of a state, city, or region, and to focus their efforts and affection on the country above all other local interests. He reminds the people that they do not have more than slight differences in religion, manners, habits, and political principles, and their triumph and possession of independence and liberty is a result of working together.

Copy of lithograph courtesy of http://www.thefederalistpapers.org

President Washington was very wary of political parties and the sectionalism and greed for power and wealth may have on those in government service. Washington warns the people that political factions may seek to obstruct the execution of the laws created by the government, or to prevent the branches of government from enacting the powers provided them by the constitution. Such factions may claim to be trying to answer popular demands or solve pressing problems, but their true intentions are to take the power from the people and place it in the hands of unjust men. His wisdom echoes down through the centuries and should shake us from our slumber and urge us to watch with prayerful resolve the outworking of today’s political power-hungry despots. These political swankpots may actually have convinced themselves they are the answer to America’s concerns. Some who push for impeachment may truly believe our government will be so much better off with them at the helm. More likely, they have no altruistic motives but desire only the self-aggrandizement which pulls at their already grossly inflated egos.

Allow me to close on a more up-beat note. I have had the pleasure of knowing some very bright, dedicated and patriotic political persons. These truly seek office in order to serve their local communities, their state and our nation. Some of these are veterans who put their life on the line in countless ways and remain excited about coming to work in the people’s house daily. They too are bothered by what I have described here because they see it up-close and personally. These men and women long for a better day in America and they fear the demise we have outlined here. They deserve our prayerful support. Their’s is not an easy task and it is one which can be overwhelming to the point of despair. If you know of such a one also, please let them know you are in their corner. They need to hear from you.

Front Steps and Back Patios

t may be a pity too few may read this post for, even though many seem driven to cast a pall over America’s horizon and bemoan how Americans will never be what they once were, there is a brighter hope I see emanating from the shadows cast by all the nay say-ers

                    InSCIghts is one of a half-dozen titles under which this author writes some basic and other more detailed and complex concepts of law enforcement relations with their communities. Sadly, it is also one which has been bereft of any serious works of late. In thinking about why and trying to explain it to my son, I made the comment, ‘life happened’ but such has more in common with an excuse than an explanation. In hopes of filling the void on my web’s blog sites and reviving what once was a plethora of article submissions – to which several quality magazine editors would let out a long sigh when they saw the familiar SCI logo in their ‘in-box’ – I take pen and paper in hand and begin to swipe at the cobwebs of my mind and see what awakens! Okay, so I use a laptop and mouse not pen and paper and most of the cobwebs which have begun to take over my ‘attic’ are too entrenched to go with just a swipe. It is going to take a shop-vac on full suction to get those bad-boys out of the corners!

                    It is a combination of the ‘Patriot Day’ just passed which brought with it friends lamenting how communities and neighbors were so much closer in the weeks following 9-11 and the simple realization that students now high school seniors, to graduate in the Spring of 2020, were not yet born in 2001. They cannot share the common experience of Americans from that fateful day; nor can any of their classmates who come after them. These thoughts began to stir in me a desire to write. I realize when I pen an article or blog, there may be only a handful of people taking the time to read it. But, that’s okay. Writing is cathartic for me and if, by chance, it does some smattering of good for someone who is inclined to read it; all the better.

                     It may be a pity too few may read this post for, even though many seem driven to cast a pall over America’s horizon and bemoan how Americans will never be what they once were, there is a brighter hope I see emanating from the shadows cast by all the nay say-ers. What began as a faint glow and then was just an unsteady glimmer has begun to brighten and is overcoming the darkness one front porch at a time, or perhaps a back deck; maybe one kitchen at a time or within the family rooms of people who share a common bond. 

                    When traveling abroad for many years; Karin and I were taken by how a sense of community existed in a bond between people of the town and it seemed founded upon the small groups which would appear like magic on front steps or back patios, even along fence rows, as men and women, their work done for the day did not retreat  behind closed doors, shuttered windows and loud televisions. Instead in what were some of the  most financially destitute villages, we enjoyed these visits; when the evening light was fading and the one or two streetlights would crackle and buzz until the dim light within came on, brightening and lessening as the available amount of electrical current along the line would fluctuate and neighbors sought out neighbors to do nothing more than share time. In a world driven by money and possessions, those with the most of each seem to have less time than those who could not afford a cellphone, even if service was available. These folks were rich because of the way they valued and used their time.

                    The people who graciously gave us of their time and allowed us to share ours, in these far-flung villages were Christ followers. Not Christians because their names were dutifully entered into a ledger of some national church at their birth but people who had found the richness of the grace of God irresistible and they had given in, fully and completely plunging themselves into the love of Christ and learning what it meant to live in a community of believers. The New Testament has a name for such communities of believers, they are called the church.

                    What I am finding refreshing and the provider of hope for America, is these ‘old-world’ ways – the appreciation of time, the enjoyment of being involved in an event for the event’s sake and not for what each may get out of the event as another notch on their social status belt or recognition of their worldly wisdom. Men and women of America, more and more, are re-learning the joys of being. They are enjoying being together, being involved in others lives, being accepted and even needed – not for some thing they offer to the group but needed to just be part of the group. Those who seem to be succeeding at this new adventure seem as if they are living in an older, simpler time. Likely it was not truly simpler – maybe – just less complex, but not simpler. What I mean by that is; those who lives were less complex back in my parent’s and grandparent’s days were still not simple lives. There was pain and hurt, financial troubles, World Wars and much more. Still, their lives were less complex. They took time to have time and to share time with others. Family time was held sacrosanct. You did not find an excuse to miss family time, no matter how, as a teenager one might believe family time to be lame; or as a young adult might have too much work or something else as a priority, there was no excuse for missing family time.

                    There is, thankfully, an extension of family time. People, some related by DNA matches but many more who are together, making time, sharing time, enjoying time in simpler ways on front steps and back patios, even over fence rows and no one is looking to see what time it is or how late it is getting. These people begin to grow together and learn to care for one another building into one another’s lives. It all happens because they are blood relatives. All are saved by the precious blood of Jesus. They are Christ followers, not perfect people, hopefully not legalistic people or judgmental but similarly they have come from a past of yuckiness and brown stuff and found how Christ can forgive and forget and He loves them all the same, anyway. These followers of the Yeshuah are laughing and loving; learning and praying; hurting and crying; living and thriving – enjoying time together. Seldom is the television on (unless its football season – there can be a little leeway here – and it doesn’t matter because you would not be able to hear it over the talking and laughter anyway. Sometimes when they gather, they study their Bible or discuss ways to cope. No matter the mix – within it is hope. They are communities of believers in Jesus Christ who love one another and love getting together – the New Testament called it the church.

                    Is it perfect and without problems? Nope. But, there’s hope.

                    In this group, when it is believers who are mostly American citizens, there can be a range of political beliefs but politics which divide are not part of the ingredients of these groups. What is incredible is how these groups can become the strongest fiber, the most level foundation, the walls of support for a nation such as ours who desperately needs to know Jesus. These men, women, both young and older people of prayer will be what holds the American experiment together – not just because America is exceptional but also because these Americans are exceptional. What makes them exceptional? The God who made them. Their faith and trust in Him will hold them while the ship of state rocks on heavy seas.

                    If there was ever a time in America’s history when people of faith needed to be strongly united in being Behind the Line – the Thin Blue Line – it’s now. Together, prayerfully asking for God’s blessing and faithfully following His lead; Americans can overcome all of the dark forces which are vying for America’s lifeblood. Behind the Line – that is where I want to be – yet at the same time, Christ has asked His believers to be on the front line and it is possible be both. Christ is who He says He is, and He will do what He has said He will do. In the in-between time; when the day’s work is done and the streetlights falter, then flicker on; its good to get together and spend the most valuable resource you have in life – time, and it’s better when you spend it together.