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

NORMAL

Alfred E. Newman MAD Magazine courtesy USA Today

A social media pass-along that was popular about four years ago is making its rounds again. I want to gratefully acknowledge the work of the original author and add my own perspective to it. The piece explains how the fake news and social media worlds have tried to redefine me. (That would be the corporate ‘me’ – all of us white, American, over-60 types.) 

I will tell you up front I reject the new definitions and if you read to the end I’ll explain why. I still enjoy what he wrote because it is poignant and thought provoking.  I’ll send a note of regrets to the author of the original monograph if I ever learn who it is because what he wrote is well done. I just think I need to add some qualifiers of my own.  So here goes. My additions are italicized. 

I Used to Be A Normal Person and I think I still am mostly normal, except when I make a joke and my young grandchildren just shake their heads or roll their eyes!  

As a man, I used to think I was pretty much just a regular person, but I was born white, into a two-parent household which now, whether I like it or not, some define me as “Privileged”, a racist & responsible for slavery. Some say tax dollars should be taken from those who never owned slaves to pay reparations to those who never were slaves. The logic in that escapes me. 

I am a fiscal & moral conservative, which by today’s standards, has folks try to define me a fascist because I plan, budget & support myself. I assume that has to do with fascism’s strict regimentation of society and the economy, but the rest of the connection escapes me completely. 

Advantages of church as family

I went to High School, paid my way thru college, earned a degree, & have always held a job. But I now find out that these same folks try to tell me I’m not here because I earned it, but because I was “advantaged.” I suppose I was advantaged that I lived in a country that permitted me to get an education if I chose to continue, even if I had to pay for it after the government gave me 12 or 13 years of ‘free education’. I was advantaged because I had parents who taught me to earn what I desired and not expect it  be given to me and I saw my parents scrimp and save, sometimes ‘borrowing’ from our allowance in our piggy banks to buy milk a few days before their own pay day even when they were both working long hours to make ‘ends meet’. I always saw them pay back that which they ‘borrowed’ from us, too. I was advantaged because I had parents who loved me enough to go with me to church, often three times a week, regardless of the weather. So, to those who claim I was ‘advantaged’ – you are sort of correct but not in the way you think.  

I am heterosexual, which according to some “gay” folks, now makes me a homophobe. In inserted the word ‘some’ because to say here, that all gay persons would think of me as a homophobe because I am heterosexual is as prejudiced and demeaning to all gays as it is to all non-gays. We may not always think and act as individuals, but we are responsible for what we think and do as an individual and should not be cast into any mass definition no matter what side of the issue one finds themselves 

I am not a Muslim, which now labels me as an infidel. If the actual definition of infidel is one who does not believe in the god of Mohammad, then I accept that moniker gladly. Does it mean I hate those who define themselves as Muslims? No, absolutely not! I absolutely adore and love some who profess the Muslim faith, or have it as their heritage, with whom I shared many life experiences. I long to see them again and I pray for them very frequently. Some of them are among the finest people I have known. 

I believe in the 2nd Amendment, which pushes others to label me a Defacto member of the “vast NRA gun lobby” For many reasons I am a member of the NRA but I fight against and speak strongly against some of the things I disagree with in the organization. The NRA does much good; but they do not speak for me, nor does anyone else speak for me, excepting, the representatives who have been elected by majority vote to do so. Still, to those I regularly make my singular opinions known. My voice is my own, and if I do not choose to use it, the fault is mine not the systems’.  

I am older than 60, who some would say makes me a useless person who doesn’t understand Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. That, to quote a television personality of the 1970’s, is ‘straight off the stable floor’. (Col. Potter, M*A*S*H played by Henry Morgan) 

Harry Morgan as Col. Sherman Potter, MASH 4077

I think & I reason, and I doubt much of what the “mainstream” media tells me, which makes me a “Right-wing conspiracy nut” according to people whose opinions mean nothing to me. 

I am proud of my heritage & our inclusive American culture, making me a xenophobe. Having spent over fifteen years ministering across Central and Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Balkans, and the Near East while also having an ‘adopted’ Filipino daughter and her family, also numbered in my grandchildren, that too is buffalo bagels.  

I believe in hard work, fair play, & fair compensation according to each individual’s merits, which today some say makes me an anti-socialist. I am against socialism as a political platform alongside Communism. I am also against socialism as an economic theory. I am for the caring for those who are least able to care for themselves, particularly widows, orphans and the infirm. It is the responsibility of individuals, families and the universal church, however, to provide for their care and not the ‘government’ I.e. taxpayer. If family members would meet their responsibilities to the best of their abilities and the local churches would heed the command of Christ to care for those, particularly those of the household of faith, rather than expecting the government to provide the safety net for all things; then the high prices of prescriptions and health care could be driven by the economic forces responsive to a capitalist structure rather than a no-price-is-too-high welfare system. 

I believe our system guarantees freedom of effort – not freedom of outcome or subsidies which must make me according to some a borderline sociopath. Those who truly know me, know I am not ‘borderline’ anything. I am either all in or not at all. If I were truly a sociopath, there would be no question!  

I believe in the defense & protection of America for & by all citizens, now causing me to be defined as a militant. Former President Obama  became infamous for saying about those of us in the mid-west, “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Thus, we become either considered militant or just plain bitter. I saw an interesting quote recently concerning gun control. It said, to the effect of, “There are 393 million gun-owners in America. If we were the problem, you’d know it.” Bitter Militants would be a force with which a left-wing socialist dare not reckon.  

Redefining Patriot?

I am proud of our flag, what it stands for and the many who died to let it fly, so I stand & salute during our National Anthem – so I must be a racist according to this myth woven by the ignorant unknown mass of society.  

Here the original author wrote using sarcasm to make his point:  

Please help me come to terms with the new me because I’m just not sure who I am anymore! 

Of course, that isn’t true, or it wouldn’t be sarcasm. But in all honesty, I know exactly who I am and my sixty plus years so far have helped me to be more certain of it than ever. (This is the part I promised at the beginning). 

I am a child of the One true God, creator of heaven and earth, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The triune God who exists from eternity past and was not created but is Creator who exists as One God in three persons, God the Father, God the Son-Jesus Christ who came as Messiah and lived a sinless life, was crucified, buried and resurrected completing payment for the sins of all mankind giving grace for forgiveness to all who believe and repent, who reigns on high for evermore, and God the Holy Spirit who indwells every born-again believer sanctifying them as they grow in their Christian walk and calls the unredeemed allowing those who are dead in their sins to know their sin condition and leads them to repentance. I am not perfect but am being made complete. I am positionally already in heaven so I need never doubt or question what will become of me when I die.  

The original author wrote: 

It all took place over the last 8 years of Socialist Democratic political control; (I believe he is referring to the Obama administration) it’s time to finally get rid of these fools. (He is referring to the quantifying of persons by some obtuse methods as he lists above. I’d prefer to be more specific on who to ‘get rid of’ and if he wants to use the term fool, I’ll let him, but I might have another term I’d use!)  

He concludes in great sarcastic form 

If all this nonsense wasn’t enough to deal with, now I don’t even know which restroom to use… and I gotta go more FREQUENTLY! 

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

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.

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.

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.

Holding the Line

A citizen, then, who stands alongside one whose faculties may be diminished, or who, simply, is under duress by persons in some place of authority with the power to negatively impact that person’s standard of living, the protector is most honorable.

Perhaps few people will be required across their life time to take a stand for their principles on behalf of others. It is a noble thing to be true to one’s self and to maintain those principles one has decided for themselves, “this is a truth I will not disavow, for it is a belief, a practice, or a rule for my own self-care, which I know is best for me to follow for my personal well-being.” A person who struggles with alcoholism may maintain such a personal practice, knowing that to violate this one specific rule, such as the frequenting of a certain tavern, will lead eventually to his own self’s relenting to drinking which will lead to negative consequences.

Wise individuals will set and adhere to such personal lines of discipline. Such is not uncommon and often, these wise folks will enlist the aid of friends or confidants to provide help in times of temptation. For these people, the issue is personal, the negative consequences are personal as well. The line that they have drawn is a personal one and, other than those who will provide assistance, everything about the possible challenge to it will come to the individual as a private matter. The individual is motivated to keep his or her standard out of a sense of care for one’s self.

Fewer are the people who are in situations where they have either a moral or legal obligation to maintain a specific principle or uphold a value on behalf of someone else, not a family member. Certain professions have a code of ethics that demands certain discretions. Others have legal mandates requiring such privilege. An attorney may hold to an attorney-client privilege that forbids the attorney from disclosing specific types of information, except under very narrow circumstances. A physician holds a moral obligation to privileged communication which is enforced in the U.S. by very specific federal legislation, which places the physician in the position of legal liability if they or a member of their staff discloses medical information considered privileged. Clergy also hold to a strict level of confidentiality between the clergy and a counselee and on a higher moral line is the revered sanctity of the confessional and the priest and petitioner. In each of these, some higher level is enforcing the maintenance of the confidence. Avoiding legal liability or a perceived moral or spiritual liability is often the primary motivator for adhering to the standard.

What is most unusual currently in the 21st Century is a person who, by the profession in which they are employed has access to another’s personal information and chooses. because of their respect for the privacy rights of their client, their own personal moral or spiritual convictions, to protect the privacy of another person, whether client or other similar relationship, at the risk of their job, their career standing and their own personal well-being.

When such a person takes a stand to protect another individual’s privacy and there is no information on a criminal act or information that could harm someone if not released, our American society is the better. Our founding fathers prized personal freedom and the protection of privacy higher than any other. A citizen, then, who stands alongside one whose faculties may be diminished, or who, simply, is under duress by persons in some place of authority with the power to negatively impact that person’s standard of living, the protector is most honorable. When those unconscionable persons put an individual in a situation where they need a protector, the guardian should be given every assistance possible by others within our society who have the potential to be a positive help. When the protector-guardian is threatened with a loss of job or other punitive action and the protector remains resolute in their protection of their charge’s privacy, every person with any voice should raise a clarion call to aid the protector in their role.

When the guardian’s charge, who requires the protection of their privacy is a veteran of the United States’ armed forces, the guardian is, without hyperbole, a hero. A veteran, who, because of their own service to protect the rights of others, now faces some diminished capacity and becomes a victim of duress by a bureaucratic organization and that organization then terminates the job of the guardian and verbally assaults the protector of the veteran’s rights – that organization should feel the full weight of the federal government charged to protect the inalienable rights of its citizens. A full and formal investigation of the company is in order. May the protector of this veteran experience the gratitude and respect of our nation at the highest levels.

May God richly bless the guardian and all who walk in their shoes.

MAY, A Month for Memories

MayMay is a month for memories,  for remembering. It is the month we, here in the United States, remember mothers for their magnificent role in all our lives. Mostly good, some with sadder memories, still the women who are our mothers and grandmothers impacted our lives in ways we will never even fully know. So, we choose, a weekend, a particular Sunday, to remember particularly those to whom we owe so much.

We remember others, as well in the month of May. One weekend, in particular, has become synonymous with the month, with the ushering in of summer time, a time for picnics and family outings. Memorial Day weekend has become a time-honored tradition. Thankfully, many communities still honor the weekend with a parade, a quiet and solemn ceremony at a local cemetery; and events not marked so much by frivolity and fun; but, reflection and reverence. It is a time we remember the sacrifices of all the men and women who have given their lives in the guarding of our freedom in wars all across the globe. First begun immediately following the end of World War I, known then as, The Great War or the War to End All Wars, a new organization, the American Legion set out to honor the fallen soldiers from that war.

What became an enduring symbol of that war, is the poppy fields that cover the French hillsides. A poem made famous from that time and often read on Memorial Day in ceremonies across the country is called In Flanders Fields. I present its short verse to you here:

In Flanders Fields                 by John McCrae, 1872 – 1918

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place, and in the sky,

The larks, still bravely singing, fly,

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead; short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe!

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high!

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields

Flanders Fields

Today, a small, paper poppy is worn by many to remind the rest of us that this weekend of Memorial Day, we have many people for whom to be grateful.  From the 40 million men and women injured or killed in that Great War, about fifty percent died. The photo of fields from the movie, Atonement by Alex Bailey gives a short glimpse back to those fields.

Since that war, another 1.5 million Americans have been wounded in war and of those at least a quarter were killed.  So, it is appropriate that we remember their sacrifices for us, for our way of life, for the freedoms we have to enjoy those picnics and parades. This Memorial Day, remember those who gave you the America you have today, with all its sores and stubbed toes; she is still our America where we have the freedoms so preciously bought for us by those long gone and by those yet born who will walk their own walk, in Flanders Fields.

On a weekend before Memorial Day; Americans have chosen to honor yet another group of heroes. Men and women who, every day in America walk the thin blue line to keep our homes, neighborhoods and communities safe. Our law enforcement gathers with family and friends each year in May at the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial where those killed in the line of duty over the past year are immortalized with their name etched in the marble walls that, sadly, grow longer and fuller with each new year. This year, over three-hundred names will be added to the wall from the U.S. and her territories.  The war against police must stop but, until it does, those of us honored to be watched over by the men and women of the thin blue line should take this time in May to remember those who have given the last full measure of devotion to their brothers and sisters in blue, their communities and their nation. We should especially remember the families of those officers who have been murdered and re-commit ourselves to seeing that not only is justice done; but, those families never want for any single necessity because of the sacrifices made.

LEOMF

Yes, May, a month of memories. Let us never forget to remember.

 

Written by Dr. Ross l. Riggs, Chief of Police Retired, Member American Legion Post 44 Canton, Ohio