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.

A Word from the Fair on Patriots’ Day

May God bless America, may America bless God

What is more mid-West America than a county fair? The horse events, cattle and pig judging, craftsmen and artists presenting their work for sale and, of course, the sausage sandwiches and scores of other fair fares all combine to make the county fair the place to be! When I was in elementary school (a few years ago) we would receive a free ticket to be used on ‘Fair Day’ when schools were closed to allow students to attend the fair. In rural areas, like Wayne County Ohio, many of the kids had animals in the fair to show.

If you have followed SCI this week on FB you know that we are spending the week at the Wayne County Fair with a booth all our own which means I have been staying at the fair quite a bit, aided greatly by my wife and family. This morning, I took a walk across the fairgrounds around 5 a.m. Other than the occasional sounds of sheep, horses, cows and even a squealing pig, most of the human animals who had spent the night were still asleep. Long before dawn, though, those who own cows were up and walking their animals to the milking stations.

What caught my attention in the pre-dawn coolness of the night was the Memorial Pavilion. There, in a nicely kept section of lawn was a set of flags around a large stone declaring the community’s support for all those who serve or have served in the U.S. military and the seals of each of the branches of the Armed Forces. Dawn was just beginning to break as I stood there lost in thought about what occurred on this Patriot’s Day in 2001. I stepped around the side of the memorial stone and lowered the American flag to half-mast as is required by Executive Order these past sixteen-years. As I secured the rope to the pole, I stepped back, rendered a hand salute and said a brief prayer, “May God bless America and may America bless God.”fair booth.jpg

On this Patriot’s Day, at our SCI booth, right in the middle of the doorway will be a flag with the Twin Towers on it and a simple statement, “We will not forget.” My hope for America this Patriot’s Day is that we truly do not forget. We must rehearse to our children and grandchildren who were not here to watch as the story unfolded, nor to hear the stories that came from the moments of horrific fear and incredible bravery, such as “Let’s Roll!” to try to help them feel the depth of the agony and the anger that was ours that day. They must realize, too, the number of young men and women who have given so much of themselves to battle the evil that seeks to destroy our nation. So many families have been torn apart since that fateful day in 2001, but their determination and resilience remains strong.

In the weeks after 9-11, American flags were everywhere. To find a house in a neighborhood that was not flying an American flag was a rarity. Pride in American exceptionalism was high. Much too soon that began to wane and then came eight years of a president who did not believe in American exceptionalism and in many ways, he did not believe in the strength of the American people.

On this Patriot’s Day may we recommit to flying our nation’s colors, reminding ourselves that we are a nation of strength, diversity, of laws that protect and that we are served by some of the best and brightest in self-sacrificing ways through our military and our first-responders. We have a duty to render to them that which they are due. May God bless America and may America bless God…

Not long after I posted this article, I was sitting under the grandstand here at the fair, in the booth where SCI is represented. While I talked with my daughter who has been working with me today, a woman who appeared to be middle-age and not physically well came in and was obviously feeling emotional as she reached out and took both mine and my daughter’s hand, thanking us for displaying the ‘We Shall Never Forget’ 9-11 September 11, 2001 flag. Then she told us how she had been on one of the first in ambulances to the Towers on that day. Her partner perished in the Second Tower, after having helped several out of the First Tower. She related how much it meant to her to see people who cared enough to remember those who served on that day. It was an honor for me to shake her hand and thank her for her service, that I was sad for the loss of her partner and that I hoped the years ahead find her well.

An Exceptional New Year

“…if you are still certain that America is no longer great or is no longer exceptional, the I encourage you to stay wherever you are and we’ll send you your things. We really don’t need you here.

The first blog of the New Year, 2017; it is an almost a duty driven effort to write something which offers a perspective on the year past and/or the new one yet ahead. Usually, the effort is verbose and so mundane that it drives the writer and the reader to the brink of the first hurl of the season. That is, unless of course, one counts that cheap champagne at the boss’ New Year’s Eve party.

This blog will not have much to do with 2016 or 2017 from the typical standpoint. Rather, it is the culmination of eight years of being subjected to a bombastic spewing of anti-American rhetoric usually driven from, but certainly not limited to, the Office of Bombastard[i] in Chief. From such mind-warping dogma comes a numbness to the point where many cannot recognize the use of certain descriptors of America that, though perhaps well-meant, are also very caustic.

The most recent spillage of the corrosive catch-phrase that, in this writer’s opinion, disparages the United States of America came to me in a letter just last week. It was an advertisement from a group considered very patriotic, The Heritage Foundation. Allow me to quote the offending lines of the letter I received from the office of The Heritage Foundation President, Jim DeMint.

“…And now… we have the best opportunity since Ronald Reagan’s presidency to make America great again!”[ii]

Certainly, you have heard that same line from some well-meaning source… we need to make America great again!

When, exactly, did America STOP being great? Absolutely, we have lots of problems including heroin addiction run rampant, abortion, veterans left homeless, and the list can go on and on.

Have you stood on a military parade ground to watch a field full of servicemen and women completing training, standing tall, supporting our country with their very lives? Have you traveled internationally to any other country in the world and, upon returning home, breathed a sigh of relief as you passed by the large American flag hanging in the Passport/Customs area and the uniformed officer hands you back your passport and says, “Welcome Home”?

The USA stands at 5th for Countries with the Highest Quality of Life in the World separated from Norway who is first by .029 percentage points.[iii]

“As the world’s largest economy by far, the economic vitality and high standards of living in the U.S. speak for themselves.

The United States boasts the 6th highest GPD per capita in the world at $47,440 and serves, in the words of Wikipedia, as ‘the epicenter of world trade.’ Total GDP stood at over $14 trillion for 2008, which is more than three times that of the world’s second largest economy (Japan).

American citizens also have the highest income per hour worked of any nation surveyed. By any objective measure, the United States and its relatively low tax rates offer the best of both worlds — reasonable social safety nets, and extraordinary economic capacity stemming from essentially free market policies.

The standard of living in the US is evidenced by consistently being the most immigrated-to nation on earth — 38,355,000 immigrants currently call the US home, more than double that of Russia, which is second on the list.”[iv]

For providing international aid, as a government, not including the private sector donations, the US tops the list in 2015 with $31.8 billion given in aide. Britain was second at $18.7 billion. Sweden is first when it comes to the percentage of their GNP.[v]

Private citizens, In America, and the charities they support rank Number 1 in the world for giving to those in need. In its second annual study of 153 countries, the Charity Aid Foundation concluded that the U.S. has demonstrated ‘strong’ behavior across all three criteria measured   — volunteering, helping strangers and donating money. The U.S. has increased its charity by 3 percentage points this year, up to $212 billion.[vi]

The Global Firepower List ranks countries’ military strength and readiness using a system based on over 50 factors that combine technology, training, capability and actual firepower to give countries their aggregate scores. The United States ranked first in the world when all factors were computed.[vii]

I could go on and on. You do not need to depend upon a chart, graph or news release to determine how you believe America to rank. However, if you are ready to follow the lead of one who bows before Saudi kings or who denigrates America before other nations, then I recommend highly that you travel to any country you choose and stay for a while and see how things work. Then, if you are still certain that America is no longer great or is no longer exceptional, the I encourage you to stay wherever you are and we’ll send you your things. We really don’t need you here.

For organizations who have the best intentions for America, I respectfully ask that you stop using the line about making America great AGAIN. We are far from perfect and we may be many things in the eyes of many folks; but, one thing I assure you: America is GREAT! She’s my country and I think I’ll keep her! And, for Congressman DeMint, I do appreciate your service and I appreciate what The Heritage Foundation seeks to do. As it happens, I have been a supporting member of The Heritage Foundation for some time prior to your recent letter. That letter included my 2017 membership card and my Acceptance Form went back in the mail shortly after it arrived.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[i] Bombastard, noun, a syncretic compound word; joining bombast (high-sounding language with little meaning, used to impress people) and the French word, tard, adj., meaning later or latest, ergo. the latest of persons misusing their position to speak nonsense that is meant to impress

[ii] Letter to Author from Jim DeMint, The Heritage Foundation, December 2016

[iii] http://www.mapsofworld.com/world-top-ten/world-top-ten-quality-of-life-map.html

[iv] http://www.businesspundit.com/12-countries-with-the-highest-lowest-tax-rates/9/

[v] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_development_aid_country_donors

[vi] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/19/world-giving-index-us-ran_n_1159562.html

[vii] http://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-listing.asp

On a Scale

We have all been asked that question in some form or another… On a scale from 1 to 10 how would you rate…? In 1978, I received my first collegiate ring. With a stone of deep blue, it was crested on its center with the scales of justice, reflective of my degree in criminal justice. The scale of justice is held high in the one hand of Lady Justice, who is blindfolded and carrying a sword in her other hand. Blind to preference, to position, status, race or creed, wealth or poverty; she remains in our history as a noble representative of what our system of justice should be. I know many noble minded persons who have dedicated their lives to being certain that the scales of justice are, in fact, balanced before the weight of true and tested evidence can be brought before determiners of guilt or innocence. Her shelforiginal name in the Latin is Justitia, the Roman goddess of justice and she is often accompanied by Prudentia the goddess whose name is contracted from providentia the ability to see the future as a sage might discern how best to proceed.  Representing the ideal of governing and disciplining oneself by reason, Prudentia’s accoutrements of a mirror and a snake allude to careful reflection and caution in moving forward. The Greek’s, whose gods and goddesses aligned with most of the Roman’s, called Prudentia ϕρονησιϛ (https://fellowshipoftheminds.com/tag/prudence-latin-prudentia) which is now usually translated as practical wisdom or rational choice. Together the pair would call for a careful weighing of all evidence upon the merits of each, alone and then choosing the best course for discipline.

What brought me to consider Lady Justice was a set of the scales of justice which I own. I was looking over a few items that adorn the library area of my study when it caught my eye. There sits, front and center the scales of justice and above it is the American and Christian flags, two symbols of my heritage, my faith, and my loyalty. Immediately to the left of the American flag is a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Immediately to the right of the Christian flag is a Bible from my father, which was given to him by a military chaplain, as he was recovering from wounds received when his ship was sunk off the coast of Normandy, June 6, 1944. Also there, among a few of the memories of my police and military service, stand three American Eagles from a larger set. These three are titled, “Courage Honor Sacrifice”, “Never Surrender” and “Never Forget”. The trio set the tone for what this small display means to me.

Among the books visible in the photograph are ones from the Ohio Retired Police Chiefs’ Association, a book from my time at the FBI National Academy and a book from my basic training days with the United States Air Force. More than my article or the information about me inside these books, each reminds me of people that reflect the titles carried by the three eagle sculptures.

Two retired chiefs, one who was gone before the Ohio Retired Police Chiefs Association was born and another who has been the heartbeat of the organization and the motivation behind many of my writings on honor within our ranks. They represent well Courage, Honor, Sacrifice. One was Chief George Ziga of the Alliance, Ohio Police Department and the other Chief Marion Taylor of the North Olmsted, Ohio Police Department. Near death, Chief Ziga admonished me, a young chief then, to stay true to my God, my values, my family and my profession. Anyone who ever knew Chief Ziga would tell you he represented the model for each of those objectives. Knowing Chief Taylor, his professionalism is informed by his Christian faith.

From the NA came a man, an FBI Special Agent, that I got to know while he was an instructor at Quantico. Now, a plaque and an annual service award commemorate his service which ended while on special assignment in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the war in the mid-1990’s; less than ten years since I first met Livio A. Beccaccio. He is the epitome of Never Surrender. The award named for him is inscribed as follows: “The Livio A. Beccaccio Award is a living memorial presented to a FBI National Academy Associate member who has demonstrated exemplary character through an act of heroism, outstanding community service, innovation in law enforcement, or leadership reflective of that by which FBI Special Agent Livio A. Beccaccio lived.”

(http://www.fbinaa.org/FBINAA/About_Us/Awards___Scholarships/FBINAA/Members_Only/Awards_and_Scholarships.aspx?hkey=0346bbf8-a0ce-4a5b-87cc-65f5ffb87148)

Finally, from my days at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas, at the tail-end of the Vietnam War, a SSgt who took on a rag-tag flight of trainees, who had been to hell and back with our first TI who suffered severely with PTSD in the days of Vietnam when such a diagnosis was unknown. He was likely tagged as ‘shell shocked sergeant’ who probably never received any help. Our second TI, SSgt Gillam was a man of character and morals who knew his own true north. He took us from not knowing which end of the rifle the bullets exited to men prepared to move on in training and ready to head into harm’s way, if so ordered. He had seen and understood the cost of Vietnam and he stands strong as a model airman to never forget our POWs & MIAs, all our veterans, but particularly those from Vietnam; nor would SSgt. Gillam ever expect us to forget 9-11. Four men who represent the strength of the U.S.A.’s justice.

The bedrock of our criminal justice system, here in America, rests upon the scales of Lady Justice. Our honor is passed as a torch from those chiefs who took their oath with their hand upon the Bible and their hearts indwelt by the God of that Bible. Our freedom comes from the sacrifices like Livio Beccaccio, thousands of other fallen officers and even more men and women who don the shield every day and stand that thin blue line. Our heritage is passed to our next generations when we remember those who fought valiantly on foreign shores and here at home to keep the flag of America flying high.

Just as the banner of red and white stripes and shining white stars on a field of blue continue to fly and represent the most blessed nation on the face of the Earth, so too must our faith in the One Lord God who made us One in Him, compel us to live by faith and not by sight. We will always know times of trouble in our land and often they come from our own actions or our failure to act. But we, as citizens of America and saints of the Kingdom of God can know that Christ has already won the final victory. He calls us to remain faithful to our calling and to take up our cross and follow Him!

I know that there isn’t some fantasy goddess who holds the scales of justice in her hands. God’s Word informs me that it is Christ who brings justice. Isaiah prophesied and Matthew recorded Jesus quoting the prophet, ““Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will declare justice to the Gentiles.” (Matthew 12:18 NKJV) Speaking of the role of police officers, Jesus also said, “For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” (Romans 13:4 NKJV)

It should be no wonder to us that, as I thought about those items on my shelf, those men came to mind in such a context. Each one of them were men of faith. They lived out remarkable witnesses because of that faith. Not one would claim any greatness on his own and certainly none would lay any claim to being anything apart from what they are within the Lord.

Law enforcement today is much maligned by the liberal media. Christians are too. Both are in good company since Christ, Himself, was counted among the criminals, scoffed at, beaten and abused. In America, the system may not be perfect, still though, the admonition of John Adams, a founding father and president concerning our legal system is upheld. “Better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man convicted.” The scales of justice balance out pretty well. Compared to other places I have seen firsthand, I’m proud to live and have served in America’s criminal justice system where restoration is possible for those who choose wisely. Likewise, for those who choose unwisely, there are consequences. On a scale of 1 to 10… I’ll score a ten that I’d rather be tried for something I’ve been alleged to do here in the United States than anywhere else in the world. I praise God that my life and my family are under the protection of American police officers and I thank Him daily for every single one of them and pray for their safety.

 

UNPINNED REVISITED

Sometime back I began a post that I titled, ‘Unpinned’. It was a reference to those of us who have retired from law enforcement. I realized this evening that I never finished that post. Allow me to begin again. Here are the first lines from the long ago post that never posted…

I have been connected, as most of you that have been following my writing for any period of time know, for several decades with law enforcement. It has been very difficult to ever see myself as ever truly separated from it. I have written, in times past, under the blog title of “Unpinned” which carried the picture of a badge with the pin open. My argument is that for those of us who are retired, the badge may be unpinned but it is never gone. You hear, at times, that there is no such thing as an ex-Marine and I think, for those who truly bleed blue as a life-long law enforcement officer, it is as true. That can have positive and negative consequences and it remains always for those who have such a dedication to their given profession, (many of us would use the term calling), to keep in a healthy balance family life and the job.

Even as I write this, my son is on patrol on midnight shift for the department from which I retired as Chief. I see, in him and in the comradery he has with the other cops (as well as some of the frustrations that come) quite a bit of myself so many years ago. However, he is going into the crucible of public police work in a much different era than I. When I began, America was just post-Vietnam. I was one of the last to enter the military during the time designated, the Vietnam Era. There was plenty of social unrest; but, it was mostly name calling and rock throwing. Today, it is assassinations from snipers at multiple locations without mercy.

Most of the retired – unpinned – cops I know still carry their credentials and with thanks to the H.W. Bush Administration, their firearms under the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act. We maintain our regular qualification at the same standards of officers working the streets. The retirees I know would stop to help an officer in trouble without a second thought for their own safety. Some might say that such retirees are not just unpinned, they’re unhinged! That may be more true than we want to admit! The inexplicable bond that comes from such a shared experience of law enforcement cannot be severed by time, age or distance. Many retirees may have angst toward the system which they left; but, never would they permit a brother officer to stand alone if they were in any way capable of standing with them… and when I use the term brother that is neutral to sex and determined only by the blue blood that courses through the veins.

This is a time when such a brotherhood must band together. At the same time, it must not erect a fortress wall against every citizen because there are armies of citizens who support that for which cops stand and are prepared to link arm-in-arm with them to keep the thin blue line resilient and strong. In my upcoming book, I use the term stretching the thin blue line for the way in which supportive citizens and the blue officers can stand as a force against evil and defy those who would seek to terrorize our homes.

Our local church now has a hired off-duty law enforcement officer at each service. Men of the church have dedicated themselves to meet with whichever officer happens to have the duty and before the day begins to pray with him. They pray for his safety, for the church, for his family and the community. Not once has the offer to pray been declined; but, every time it has been appreciated.

A local Christian university has just begun a four-year degree program in criminal justice. There is no better time for men and women studying to enter law enforcement or to improve their knowledge while in the career to receive such training from a faith-based, biblical standpoint. If you have never questioned and studied why you believe what you believe, you will believe anything. A bumper sticker bit of wisdom says that if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything! An unexamined faith will never grow and the days in which police officers are now doing battle with the forces of evil requires a vibrant and burgeoning faith. Such a faith does not recoil for political correctness and as the Apostle Paul admonished, it does not grow weary in doing good.

If ever there was a time of vibrant opportunity for seasoned and retired law enforcement officers, who are men and women of faith, to take a hand in helping to nurture and challenge these current officers, it is now. America needs law enforcement officers who understand their work to be more than a calling. It is a ministry, God-given and God-blessed. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9 NKJV) Law enforcement officers walk every day and night along the thin line that touches evil on every point yet also touches goodness at corresponding points. To live within such a tension requires a strong faith in something. Most, who do know have a personal relationship with Christ Jesus, would struggle to define what it is that founds their faith except that they know there is something greater than themselves which is holding that line taut. It is little wonder, though, that when Jesus met a Gentile man of whom He declared had greater faith than any of the nation of Israel, that man was a 1st Century Roman police officer, a Centurion. (Matthew 8:10) Today is a day when America needs New Centurions of Faith. Thankfully, there are multitudes of them on the streets this very night holding strong in the battle against evil. If you have not prayed for them lately, please pray for them now. If you have not spoken to one lately and told them you support them, commit to doing so today and, if you have never asked a police officer if you can pray for him or her, I challenge you to do so. You will be overwhelmed by the response you receive.

On the back of my motorcycle helmet is a shield with a blue line through a field of black. It says, ‘to some this is just a thin blue line… to others it is a family crest.’ I may be unpinned. My family may even tell you that I’m unhinged. One thing I’m certain of and that is my Christ is who saw me through my career, even when I did not acknowledge Him and He stands ready to carry the next generation of cops to the end of their tours of duty, in whatever way that may come. I would ask every retired cop, who has faith in Christ, to join me in a strong commitment to do whatever it takes to uphold these new centurions in prayer each and every day.

 

I Could Spit

When I was a boy, a few decades back, I was often intrigued by some of my father’s sayings. Many of them still make no sense to me even this many years after I have become full-grown. One of those sayings meant little to me until today. On this particular day, the day following the horrific terrorist attack at a nightclub in Florida by a self-proclaimed supporter of ISIS, a day full of liberal pandering and political bovine excrement deep enough to cover the White House lawn three feet in all directions, and the reports of the cataclysmic failure of the FBI to identify one individual terrorist who literally shouted at the world his intentions, I finally understand my father’s homespun descriptive. When I add to the volcanic angst I already have for the total failure of America to bring to the fore not even one truly qualified candidate for the office of President; my father’s quote makes even more sense.

What is this statement that has found its fruition in today’s events? “I’m so mad I could spit!” It helps to describe a feeling of such intense anger at the events of the day and a total frustration with the seemingly impossible actions anyone might take to fix the situation. There is such pent-up ire that it approaches a completely overwhelming anger at the ineptitude of those in whom we have placed our trust that they will do their best, under sacred vow, to keep this from happening; and, if it does happen, the people expect that rather than using it as an opportunity to push a worn-out political agenda, those in positions of authority might actually vow to combat the source of such evil and conquer it in order to prevent like events from happening in the future.

I am sick and tired (another great colloquialism) of hearing how such events wouldn’t happen if there was gun control –which is translated, American citizens cannot own guns privately and that only strict government control will fix it!  They mean the same kind of control that the government has now over who can get their hands on C-4 or on a stick of dynamite; which, by the way, were the initial weapons used by this crazy ISIS terrorist!

Allow me to state this plainly. Without second-guessing any individual’s actions in that club that night; if one person in that crowd would have been carrying a legally concealed firearm, the death toll may have been substantially less. I am so angry about politicians using every single violent crime as a soapbox for taking guns out of the hands of law-abiding American citizens instead of crusading to find and eliminate this evil that lurks in the shadows of our civilization.

I posted a quote by Noah Webster on my Facebook yesterday before this entire event began. Allow me to share it with you here:

Noah Webster

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.”

In case you are interested, NoahWebsterHouse.org gives this summary statement about Mr. Webster: “Noah Webster accomplished many things in his life. Not only did he fight for an American language, he also fought for copyright laws, a strong federal government, universal education, and the abolition of slavery. In between fighting for these causes, he wrote textbooks, edited magazines, corresponded with men like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, helped found Amherst College, created his own version of an “American” Bible, raised eight children, and celebrated 54 anniversaries with his beloved wife. When Noah Webster died in 1843, he was an American hero.”

Wouldn’t it be great if some two hundred years after our lives to have written for you and me that we were ‘American heroes’? Perhaps the time is short coming when we will have to take a stand for what we truly believe to be right in America. History will be our judge.

I am also completely appalled that the FBI could have interviewed this radical not once but twice and have given him a clear pass to continue to go about his Islamic terrorist plans. As an American citizen, as a retired Chief of Police, and as a member of the FBI National Academy Associates, I want to demand that a complete and above-board investigation be made of those interviews, the agents that performed them, the supervisors that approved them and to learn whether a fear of labelling someone and not being politically correct under the microscope of the Obama administration was the root cause for these interviews to go nowhere. I suspect that unless the agents and their supervisors are not complete morons, then some political cleansing of those interviews was required due to his ethnicity. Americans deserve answers to these questions.

Who are we supposed to be able to trust? I have an answer for you. In the movie RED, John Malkovich played Marvin Boggs, a somewhat psychotic, paranoid-schizophrenic former intelligence operative. His explanation is simple, here it is as portrayed to ‘Frank’ (Bruce Willis). “Frank, what have I always told you? You cannot trust the system…” There you go, straight from the lips of a psychotic, paranoid-schizophrenic who was given “daily doses of LSD for eleven years.” There is no better authority nor is it more succinctly phrased!

I have written articles for professional magazines dealing with responses to physical attacks and crime prevention. I also have a book at the publisher on a detailed plan for America’s law enforcement for combatting terrorists at the community level. In every article or chapter of the book which deals with who it is you can ultimately depend on to stop an attack, the answer is only you. You are the only one guaranteed to be present when you are being attacked. You cannot count on your spouse, your sibling or parent. When that psychotic Islāmic terrorist is about to blow up you and a hundred of your closest friends, if you do not have the capability to draw your legally concealed and carried firearm and immediately dispatch him to his mistaken idea of a heavenly reward; no one else will. The Orlando police and safety services did an amazing job and I take nothing away from them. What they faced and what they were able to accomplish, as well as what the hospital staffs were required to face, is absolutely overwhelming. They all deserve our admiration, respect and our prayers. As much as they will always be ready to go into the line of fire on behalf of the citizens they serve, their response time will always prevent them from being able to stop the carnage once it has begun.

By the same token, if you allow the sleazy politicians parading around Washington to divest you of your Second Amendment right, you have no one to blame but yourself. It is up to you. It is up to me. It is up to the millions of Americans who truly believe that the Constitution means what it says. But it remains an individual battle. I cannot assume that the NRA will fix it. I cannot assume that some Congressman who pledged something over a rubbery Rotarian chicken dinner will actually be able to do something. I have to take responsibility for my own rights and so do you. We must not allow ourselves to go silently into the night.

I have always said that there are very few things for which I am willing to go to jail. Standing strong for my faith in Jesus Christ, protecting my family and upholding the Constitution. That’s it. Everything else can get checked at the door. But on those three, I must vow to remain inviolate.

Do I believe that America is reaping the God-given consequences for our sins? God is completely holy and He is completely gracious. When Abraham bartered with the pre-Incarnate Christ about saving Sodom, God was willing to forego the annihilation of the city if only ten righteous people remained. (Gen. 18:19) As we know, there were not ten. There are many more God-fearing, born-again believers, followers of Jesus Christ in America than ten. The Bible does make it clear that governments cannot stand without God’s blessing so perhaps we are in a time of a lesson that we must learn. Who can we trust? We can trust God to be who He is – the Holy, Omnipotent, Gracious God who was and is and is to come. His plan for you and I and for America will not be subverted regardless of who sits in the Oval Office. As Christians first, Americans second, we must seek God’s mercy and “Humble (ourselves) under the mighty hand of God so that He might exalt (us) in due time. (1 Peter 5:6)

I am so mad I could spit and yes, I am sick and tired. I may not be able to change the actions and attitudes of the people who are in Washington D.C. However, I can recommit myself to being as physically, mentally and spiritually ready to face whatever might happen within my sphere of influence. I can be involved by keeping my voice heard in the public arena and I can vote intelligently. I can pray, every day, for my country, its leaders, and for Christ’s church that God will guide and direct; protect and preserve this great Republic.

May God bless America and may America bless God.

Security Forecasting in Historical Contexts

“America will never be destroyed from the outside… if we falter…because we destroyed ourselves”

 SCI on global view

The following article is produced and presented under the auspices of Security Consulting Investigations, LLC (SCI). Any reprint, reproduction or presentation of this material must provide the name of the author, the title of the article in full and an accurate portrayal of the information presented. Written permission from the author or from SCI is not required. Notification of republication or reprinting of the article would be appreciated by the author and by SCI. Our purpose is to assist the security and intelligence world through dialogue.Sec Forecasting

Dr. Ross L. Riggs

On May 18, 2016, Egypt Air Flight 804 disappears from 37,000 feet over the Mediterranean Sea. A blip disappears from an air traffic controller’s radar screen and 66 people vanish. Before noon in Belgium on March 22, 2016 three separate bombs packed with nails explode killing 32 and injuring over 300 in an airport and a metro station. According to one source, in the last 30 days (prior to May 19, 2016), “During this time period, there were 174 Islamic attacks in 23 countries, in which 1491 people were killed and 2103 injured.”[i] (A full list of those attacks are available on the website.) What are we to do? Do we wring our hands and declare All is Lost, like the frantic cartoon character in an animated movie about the ice age? Do we reject all facts that have been uncovered about terrorism in the 21st Century? Perhaps we should simply heed a quote by a 19th century author, “When all is lost, there is always the future.”[ii] (emphasis added)

HISTORY, recent American history that is within the last two centuries, has shown thoughtful leaders to be incredibly astute and foreseeing the very future that the world is living in during this second decade of the 21st century. A review of some of the specific statements is appropriate. A good place to begin is with Theodore Roosevelt. In 1901, Mr. T. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States. He was the youngest man ever elected to this high office; but even still, he had amassed a great deal of experience upon the international scene before becoming president. He had been Secretary of the Navy and during the Spanish American War he organized the first volunteer cavalry unit which became known as the Rough Riders. In 1916 he penned a book titled, “Fear God, Take Your Part.” In it he foretells the tragedies we have brought upon ourselves in America and across the world. Why do I say that we have brought it upon ourselves? Very simply, we did not heed the words of such men as Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.

Mr. Roosevelt wrote, “Christianity is not the creed of Asia and Africa at this moment solely because the seventh century Christians of Asia and Africa had trained themselves not to fight, whereas the Moslems were trained to fight. Christianity was saved in Europe solely because the peoples of Europe fought. If the peoples of Europe in the 7th and 8th centuries, and on up to and including the 17th century, had not possessed a military equality with, and gradually a growing superiority over the Mohammedans who invaded Europe, Europe would at this moment be Mohammedan and the Christian religion would be exterminated.”  He went on to say that, “Wherever the Mohammedans have had complete sway, wherever the Christians have been unable to resist them by the sword, Christianity has ultimately disappeared. From the hammer of Charles Martel to the sword of Jan Sobieski, Christianity owed its safety in Europe to the fact that it was able to show that it could and would fight as well as the Mohammedan aggression.”[iii] A quick statement for clarity may be in order here. For those readers not well-informed regarding the history of al Qaeda or ISIS; who are known today as radical Islamists are followers of Mohammad from the late 6th and early 7th century and in the parlance of the early 20th century, they would be known as Mohammedans.

TR

In 1838, 22 years before the Civil War and 78 years before President Roosevelt’s writing, another American president warned the citizens of the United States about what could eventually destroy America. Then, a young lawyer, Abraham Lincoln wrote: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”[iv] Of course, during the dark years of the Civil War and even the rocky re-start in the years following Lincoln’s assassination, America almost did destroy itself from the inside, literally.

Yet, his words were not just foretelling the peril of those Civil War years. ALA much deeper and long-term warning is also captured in his words. By the shear arrogance of the citizens of the U.S. to believe that their shores were inviolate, that no force would ever dare reach out a hand again against the greatest nation in the world that had been born in the conflict and fiery conflagrations that were World War II; we failed to understand what was going on in the rest of the world. Across the seas Islam was continuing to make in-roads across the Middle East and into the Balkans and tearing at the soft-underbelly of Europe, all-the-while, much of Africa was in flames from the radical Wahhabi Muslims.

Of course, in those post-WWII years, Americans did worry that Communists would seek to find some way to destroy their nation. Communism loomed so large in the minds of Americans that the U.S. became myopic and saw no other threat to the American way of life except the Communists. Thousands upon thousands of young men and women would die to repel that threat in far-flung nations across the globe.

Another popular president voiced those concerns of Communism very succinctly and in doing so, he brought that threat to what appeared to be its end. Astutely, he redirected America’s mindset to begin to see a different threat, as yet unperceived in 1980. It was the same Mohammedans that President Roosevelt had forewarned the U.S. about sixty-four years earlier. President Ronald Reagan went before the American people on a weekly radio address May 31st, 1986, almost exactly thirty years ago. He declared the following:

My fellow Americans:

History is likely to record that 1986 was the year when the world, at long last, came to grips with the plague of terrorism. For too long, the world was paralyzed by the argument that terrorism could not be stopped until the grievances of terrorists were addressed. The complicated and heartrending issues that perplex mankind are no excuse for violent, inhumane attacks, nor do they excuse not taking aggressive action against those who deliberately slaughter innocent people.

In our world there are innumerable groups and organizations with grievances, some justified, some not. Only a tiny fraction has been ruthless enough to try to achieve their ends through vicious and cowardly acts of violence upon unarmed victims. Perversely, it is often the terrorists themselves who prevent peacefully negotiated solutions. So, perhaps the first step in solving some of these fundamental challenges in getting to the root cause of conflict is to declare that terrorism is not an acceptable alternative and will not be tolerated.

Effective antiterrorist action has also been thwarted by the claim that—as the quip goes—”One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” That’s a catchy phrase, but also misleading. Freedom fighters do not need to terrorize a population into submission. Freedom fighters target the military forces and the organized instruments of repression keeping dictatorial regimes in power. Freedom fighters struggle to liberate their citizens from oppression and to establish a form of government that reflects the will of the people. Now, this is not to say that those who are fighting for freedom are perfect or that we should ignore problems arising from passion and conflict. Nevertheless, one has to be blind, ignorant, or simply unwilling to see the truth if he or she is unable to distinguish between those I just described and terrorists. Terrorists intentionally kill or maim unarmed civilians, often women and children, often third parties who are not in any way part of a dictatorial regime. Terrorists are always the enemies of democracy. Luckily, the world is shaking free from its lethargy and moving forward to stop the bloodshed.

Nearly a month ago in Tokyo, the leaders of the major Western democracies hammered out an agreement on tough measures to eradicate this evil. Ironically the progress made in Tokyo is now imperiled by a lack of consistent support at home. For nearly a year now a handful of United States Senators have held up approval of a supplementary extradition treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom. This agreement, when ratified, would prevent terrorists who have kidnaped, killed, or maimed people in Britain from finding refuge in our country. Today these killers are able to do just that by labeling their vile acts as political. Well, in Tokyo the democracies declared there is no political or any other justification for terrorist acts and those who commit them should be brought to justice. The world is watching. If actions by a few Senators allow terrorists to find safe haven in the United States, then there will be irreparable damage. Refusal to approve the supplementary treaty would undermine our ability to pressure other countries to extradite terrorists who have murdered our citizens. And rejection of this treaty would be an affront to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, one European leader who, at great political risk, stood shoulder to shoulder with us during our operations against Qadhafi’s terrorism.

Some members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have gone so far as to prepare a substitute treaty permitting those who have murdered British policemen and soldiers, for so-called political reasons, to avoid extradition. Well, this substitute is not a compromise; it’s retreat. Its passage would be a victory for terrorism and a defeat for all we’ve been trying to do to stop this evil. One concern about the treaty is that it may set a precedent for other treaties, which will then be used against those who simply oppose totalitarian regimes. We can never permit that to happen. Our country will always remain the beacon of hope and freedom to all oppressed peoples.

I therefore urge the Senate to promptly approve the revised treaty and reinforce the momentum building against terrorism. With good sense, courage, and international cooperation, our struggle against terrorism will be won. And the United States will lead the way into a freer and more peaceful tomorrow.

Until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.[v] RR

America has been blessed with some very brilliant leaders. These three presidents stand head and shoulders above many who have sought and won this highest office in the land. Many citizens are discouraged by what they see in the politics of today. The effective leadership that is so critical for this nation and the world in these days seems almost non-existent in the halls of federal government. Those currently holding high office and those aspiring to it are not made of the mettle that is so needed in these days. A recent article that involves Israel’s battle against terrorism may help to provide some encouragement to the many Americans who hear the Dodo birds of that same Ice Age movie, stalking along behind the weaker of their flock, menacingly repeating, ‘Doom On You, Doom On You.’   DD

Professor Boaz Ganor was quoted in an article in the International Jerusalem Post asking the question, “How should we deal with this new wave of terrorism in Israel?” The conclusion to which the professor arrived is applicable across the world stage as well as for Israel. First he makes the point that terrorists must continually be evolving and reassessing the crimes that they commit against humanity. They cannot remain at a singular line of attack or a monochrome plan of terror. In the same way, those who battle terrorism, counter-terrorist officials, must also be continually re-assessing, evolving in their methods. Professor Ganor explains it this way: “Terrorism is a dynamic phenomenon. Both sides – terrorists and security officials – are constantly in a learning competition, processing and internalizing the enemy’s methods of operation. They try to pinpoint the enemy’s ‘underbelly’ and match it with effective methods. Therefore, not every change in terrorism’s modus operandi constitutes an escalation.”[vi] The professor not only hits on the issue of this continuing counter-balancing dance that must be orchestrated among those who kill and maim and those who try to stop them; but, also on the effect that media plays in depicting every new nuance of a terrorist organization’s tactics as an escalation. The heartbeat of the issue resides in asking ourselves, “What is it that we have learned from history that can aid us in preventing terrorist attacks in the future?” Professor Ganor replies, “Doing so requires preventive measures to drain the murky swamp from which extremism, violence and terrorism grow; thwarting measures, which are aimed at foiling terrorist attacks before they are carried out and operative measures designed to bring terrorist attacks to an end quickly and minimize their damage.”[vii]

Return to the observation that the not-yet President Lincoln made regarding the destruction of America. He said that if America is to be destroyed it would be from within. In my most recent book, “Stretching the Thin Blue Line: Policing America in Times of Heightened Threat” I conclude that one of the single most critical factors in stopping terrorist acts against our country is strengthening the home and the appropriate male leadership of the fathers in each home. If America is to be destroyed it will be from within. If it is to be saved it will be from within. Americans must return to their faith and to seek the face of their Father and the strength of the home will grow from that relationship. Yes, we need operative measures designed to bring terrorist attacks to an end quickly; but again, as I make the case in my book, we can also have operative plans that will allow us to stop terrorist acts before they begin.

There need not be a cry of ‘All is Lost!’ There need not be the specters of evil swooping down over our society, eerily repeating, ‘Doom On You!’[viii] On the international stage there must be a coordinated, cohesive all-out Allied offensive that strikes at the armament and personnel of the enemies of civilization. There must be the same coordinated, comprehensive fiscal attack to drain these entities of every nickel they have in the financial markets, and even if it seems as if the terrorist organizations are an instantly replicating and reproducing Hydra of Lerna that bursts forth a new head every time one is decapitated; know that the one who perseveres will ultimately be victorious. We must not, as the Bible directs us, lose heart in doing good. America must learn from history. There is nothing new under the sun, as King Solomon long ago surmised. Within such a historical context, leaders can find the fore-knowledge of what is going to be the most effective means for combating the evil that is lurking upon our doorsteps. Professor Ganor used the analogy of draining the murky swamp where the extremism, violence and terrorism grow and that drain plug is in the hand of every father who is raising his family and the ideals to which he ascribes. We will win back our safety and our security when we allow the God of the Bible to do what He said He would do for us in Malachi 4:5-6, “I will send you Elijah… and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”[ix]

[i] http://thereligionofpeace.com/attacks/attacks.aspx?Yr=Last30

[ii] http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/christiann122675.html

[iii] http://www.wnd.com/2015/10/even-teddy-roosevelt-warned-of-islamic-danger/#g37K6g21jYst5oYK.99

[iv] http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/abrahamlin143183.html

[v] http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=37376

[vi] The International Jerusalem Post, April 8-14, 2016.

[vii] The International Jerusalem Post, April 8-14, 2016.

[viii] IMBd.com/Disney Pixar/ICE AGE

[ix] Malachi 4:5-6

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