Reliving the 60’s

Anyone could spank or ear pull anyone else’s child, whip them and send them home to report to their own Mom what had happened and who tagged you! Of course, my Mom would get right on the phone and boy, would she thank that Mom

The early 60’s are replete with scores of memories that  today, most would think so stone-age! (no pun intended… that was a little later in the 60’s) – We got a second phone in the house… that was a big deal, we now had one in the living room and one on the wall in the kitchen. Rotary dial, of course. That doesn’t refer to how you get ahold of a businessman’s service organization in your town. Not only were they rotary dial, we were on a party line! That may sound exciting to someone from the 21st century because it sounds like a great time with friends! But that wasn’t our party line. All of our neighbors shared the same phone line. We had different numbers; but, you had to pick up the phone and make sure the neighbor wasn’t talking on it before you could make a call. Of course, anyone in the neighborhood could listen in as well.

Another big deal… we got a color television for the first time! It wasn’t anything like the color sets today that are so vibrant and real, its like you could walk into them. This was more like someone put the black and white picture on the TV and then used water color, with a LOT of shades of pink to kind of fill in where the color should be. You had a color adjust knob so you could try to get the color to match a real life color but it wasn’t very effective. Although, with the rabbit ear antenna for UHF, you could only get two channels and they were as fuzzy as the rabbit might have been. On ‘regular’ TV we had three channels, 3, 5 and 8 all out of Cleveland.

We did have a remote control, though for our TV. My dad would be sitting in his chair and he would say, ‘Son, get up there and turn to channel 8 for me.” Voila! Remote control! You couldn’t sneak out to the living room and watch TV at night for two reasons. One, the tuner knobs made such a loud click it would wake the neighbor’s dog. Second, all of the stations went off the air at about 1:00 a.m. so you would only be watching a ‘Test Pattern’ that was on the screen overnight. Also, for those of you who are following the Brown’s ‘prayer meeting fiascos’ it would interest you to know that when the TV stations signed off at 1:00 a.m. they played the National Anthem while a flag was shown.

Living through the sixties, the first time around was, to use an old phrase, ‘a hoot’. I could probably spend a dozen or more pages regaling you with stories like sitting on a red metal ‘step stool’ on the back porch in the summer while Dad took an electric hair trimmer that I think was last used to trim the tail of Man o’ War. It was like the commercial for the nose hair trimmer “It doesn’t trim your hair, it rips it out by the roots!” This was our summer ‘buzz’ cut. He took it down in May and we didn’t have hair growing until Christmas break! I only experienced one other haircut like that, it was one bright morning about 5 a.m. at a military induction center! I think the military had Dad on time to complete the cut but he won hands-down for depth of hair removed! My Dad had big strong, workman’s hands. He may have been able to bend steel. I do know he was able to replace a fleeing child back into a metal step stool chair in record time with one hand and never miss a stroke with the razor!

With four boys and Dad at work five or six days a week all day, Mom was eager in the summertime for us to ‘go play outside’. There could have been a tornado bearing down on our neighborhood with gale force winds but when she suggested we go play outside, we did. The rule was you came back for supper when Dad whistled (everyone in the neighborhood could hear Dad’s whistle and dogs came from two cities over looking for food!) and when playing out after supper, we came in when the street lights came on. My oldest brother is eleven years older than me, I think his rule was he had to come home when the lamplighter came down the street!

I was fortunate, (in retrospect… I didn’t think so at the time) to have eight different mothers. No, my father was not a polygamist, we lived in Ohio not Utah. Polygamy, I never understood. Who, in their right mind would want multiple mothers-in-law? Anyway, my eight mothers were all moms in the neighborhood. They had a coven between them. Anyone could spank or ear pull anyone else’s child, whip them and send them home to report to their own Mom what had happened and who tagged you! Of course, my Mom would get right on the phone and boy, would she thank that Mom! Then turn she would turn to whichever one of us boys had gotten it and say, ‘just wait until your father gets home!” WOW, that was a way to ruin an afternoon! Usually we’d try to catch Dad as he drove in the driveway so we could give him our side of the story first! If, by the time we were done with our story he was already unbuckling his belt, we knew we would be standing up for supper!

But our neighborhood was great, so was our small town. Many of us were together all the way through high school and not long ago we had a 40th anniversary reunion for our graduation. Golly, those others sure have gotten old looking!

When I truly think back about those years, there were three things that stood out as most important was family, friends and faith; not necessarily in that order. Now, here I am about the live through the sixties a second time!

This time, it isn’t a decade among other decades like the 60’s of the 20th Century that I referred to here but it is my own decade of being in my 60’s. I have no idea what the next ten years hold, or even if I’ll be here at the other end of them. That’s just life. But I have a pretty good feeling at this point that these years will be centered on faith, family and friends and it will likely be in that order.

 

 

 

When Life Doesn’t Fit

God is NOT in the box business! He does not build them and because He has not constructed your box, it is also NOT His responsibility that its construction is of shoddy workmanship or that it was built to specifications that are NOT His!

 

Have you ever had times when, no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot make life fit into that perfect little box you have been constructing all your life? You know the box I’m talking about. Your parents and even your grandparents probably helped you build it. Certainly, in today’s world, the media helps you build it. Back in my day, shows like Father Knows Best, Leave It to Beaver and a dozen more fantasy television shows built the box that most of us in our WASP worlds saw as normal family life. Movies showed us patriotism and that things ALWAYS worked out happily ever after in the end. Even when you fall off a 150-foot cliff and an anvil slams down on top of you, you will be just fine; at least if you are Wile E. Coyote.

If you went to the kind of church many of us did, you also had neatly tucked into the back of your mind the list of Do’s and Don’ts that make for good people. Some churches would even give you a box to keep that list in! There was a definite line between good and evil. Such things were black and white. Why else would the good guys on the late-night westerns always wear a white hat and the bad guys a black one? It was all part of our box that we had so carefully constructed. We couldn’t even consider that our boxes could be made to come apart.

Is there a certain amount of pressure that, when applied to the box, makes things fit the way they should? Can that unknown amount of pressure cause the box to go flying into a gazillion pieces across the room?

It is difficult enough when the box you have with things sticking out in all directions that is starting to come apart is your own; but, what if that box you had built was one you had constructed for your child? You know, that precious wonderful child of yours, no matter what age, that you love more than life itself… you have in your mind, in your heart really, as to how their life will be so much more comfortable, less stressful, less hurtful than yours was and that all their wondrous dreams will come true. That is the special box you have built for them. Then, for what seems like no fair reason, nothing is fitting in that box. Your heart is absolutely crushed as you see your child now faced with a life that is nothing like you would like it to be. Sometimes, maybe it is because of their own bad choices; yet so often, it is because of someone else’s hurtful actions. Boxes can also be smashed by something even more difficult to get a handle on, a vicious disease that has grabbed hold of your child, sending your box careening across the room.box

Whenever our boxes get busted, there is a great tendency to blame just about everyone, including God. It took quite a bit of time for me to work through how my own box just couldn’t possibly hold all of what I expected life was supposed hold. I finally learned that much of what I thought was supposed to be in my box was just completely unrealistic, too much Loonie Toons and not enough 60 Minutes. Now that I’m pushing the door open on my sixth decade, I know that a portion the box busting was because of my own bad choices along the way too, although at the time I wouldn’t have seen it.

What about those times when your box starts breaking apart and it is because of the horrific actions of another? Is it better when there is someone to blame? Is it worse when there is just an organism or a genetic anomaly to blame and not a person? Does God take the heat even more when what appears as such a senseless hurt has no one at which to point your finger?

Certainly, there can be very real times when the grief caused by the bursting of one’s life expectations is the result of the sin or evil actions of another. Not a day goes by when there isn’t a crime committed by a person with no regard for life, whether his or another’s. The multiple boxes that can be shattered by that one person’s actions can result in a firestorm of anger and resentment and some of that will still be shoved on God. We shake our fist or scream out at God and demand to know why He allowed such hurt.

As I have studied the wondrous Scriptures with this question in mind, I have come up with one very profound truth. To be quite self-asserting, I don’t know that any student of the Bible, any theologian, great preacher or teacher of the holy book has ever found this particular bit of wisdom, at least not in the way I have discovered it! (Okay, I said all of that just to whet your appetite for what I am about to share… even Solomon once said there is nothing new under the sun!)

When we are ready to demand from God why He would so destroy our boxes, the truth that the Bible will make clear to us is: God is NOT in the box business! He does not build them and because He has not constructed your box, it is also NOT His responsibility that its construction is of shoddy workmanship or that it was built to specifications that are NOT His! It is true that Jesus was a carpenter, a very well-trained one to be sure. It is also true that He is the master creator of everything. God’s Word tells us in the book of John that without Him nothing was made that was made!

God doesn’t build boxes and He doesn’t design boxes either. People who are big on ‘RELIGION’ like to believe that their boxes are uniquely designed by God to make certain that His people do church the one right way. They are mistaken. One box may be three hymns and an offering or a sermon with three points and a prayer. Another box may be candles in the corners and censers flying in all directions while a low voice mumbles a liturgy that no one can hear and, even if they did, they wouldn’t understand a word of it because it is in Latin! Boxes like those into which people have stuffed their religion are usually rectangular and have a lid. It’s appropriate that they resemble a coffin.

God did provide us with a framework for how He would have us to live out our lives here and even about how to do church. The base boards are these: Love the Lord your God all your heart, soul, and mind and your neighbor as yourself.  That’s for us as we seek to live in community with one another. As to how we are to pattern ourselves individually to please God, He gave us three side boards. They are: Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly with God. Then when it came to being useful as a Church body, He gave us two great handles for us to hold: Baptism and Communion. Finally, God knew that the living of life and the doing of church would often require us to bear some burdens, our own and one another’s; so, to the framework He gave us he added an axle by telling us to ‘GO’ and He added two wheels, evangelism and discipleship.

If LIFE doesn’t FIT in your BOX, try Christ’s push-cart instead.pushcart

 

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.

 

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

RLRBio

Less Red More Blue

In the real world, the world that matters… blue ink is for friends that last a lifetime.

Okay, hold it right there… this is NOT a political post! I am not suddenly espousing the increase in the number of Democrats in office and a reduction in the Republican numbers. I did read an article just the other day, though, about the need to really get a better handle on the titles we use for articles and such. That article claimed that some titles beg you NOT to read any further just by the way it is written. The author called it the “Cookie Sale Planned” type of titles versus the “Headless Body Found in Topless Bar” headline. The latter screams at you to read it (assuming a headless body can scream). The former, not so much. So, if my “Less Red More Blue” got your blood pumping then, good; it did that for which it was contrived.

When I actually do get around to explaining what the title means, I do not want you to think that I have gotten really hard pressed to find a topic upon which to spill some ink. The only thing that prevents me from spilling gallons of ink on articles, that may or may not ever be read, is the amount of time I have for writing undistracted. Right now, it is the wee hours of the morning; the house is quiet and I should be asleep; but my back, knees and hips have allied themselves with my brain in a conspiracy to keep me from ever falling asleep or sleeping for more than sixty minutes at one stretch. When the pain levels are high, my brain goes into overdrive. For example,  just now; while penning this article, I came to realize why they call it the “Wee Hours of the Morning”… because that is when people my age have to get up out of bed to… you know… go wee!  But, I digress.

All of my growing up years, each year around Thanksgiving I would see my Mom begin the ritual of preparing to send Christmas Cards. She had a small semi-formally bound ledge that carried the names of all those to whom she would be sending cards All of the names were carefully recorded in blue ink and there was a place for a series of checks, ‘card sent/card received’. It was a tit for tat ledger. A no card received one year could maybe not get a card sent the next; but, I don’t think my mother ever succumbed to the pettiness that would direct such a reprisal. The book was meticulously kept year after year and when the spaces for checking off sent and received was full, an identical ledger was purchased to continue the tradition for another half decade or so.

There was a second part to this strange tally keeping but, before I divulge it; it behooves me to advise the reader that, so enamored was the world of the 1960’s with such a tradition that. when I met and married my wife she was already indoctrinated in this ritual. She, however, grew up hundreds of miles from where I was in the rural Ohio-transplanted Appalachian world.  In point of fact, even as a product of the counter-culture of the 50’s and 60’s that found its niche in the suburban Washington D.C. area, which was then a solaced area for the intelligentsia, their ledger books were identical to ours in the heartland! Sadly, where my wife grew up is no longer the neighborhoods of the Cleavers or Fred McMurray and his three sons. Now it is all just one more blip on the hydra-snakes of the Washington Metro.

At this point, I must take a very quick sidestep, because I just re-read the first sentence of the last paragraph. I didn’t realize the bees had hooves… I’ll have to think about that one for a bit. (A bit?… no, I won’t go there, bees have enough trouble keeping the Queen happy, I won’t degrade them further by continuing to horse around with this idea.)

The small tan book that was such a focal point of the pre and post holiday season could arguably be considered the 1950’s and 1960’s version of FB ‘Likes’ or to use the 21st Century vernacular, also for those who are ‘Unfriended.’

Amazingly, I must report that my wife and I carried this tradition on in our own home until computers made the little book obsolete. Though I dare say it has probably been secretly kept up just because some things don’t ever end… Like a Lucille Ball/Desi Arnez rerun.

I know it may not seem like it, at this juncture; but, this article does have a point to it that is somewhat serious. The second part of the tradition that my mother and my wife have kept, as well as my wife’s mother and countless others; was to put a red line through those who had deceased. Now, I must go back and correct a misconception I may have given you. Only the name of the person was ever in blue ink; because people were moving regularly in past decades and by writing the address in pencil you could maintain a neat and orderly appearing ledger. For those reading this who were born after 9-11, a pencil is a slender wooden device that has at its core an even more slender piece of lead which is visible through one end of the instrument where the wood has been whittled or shaved down to a point; often homes and certainly classrooms would have a hand cranked device for shaving these pencils down to a point so they were useful for writing. Later, electrical sharpeners became popular which ate pencils at an alarming rate. The opposite end of the device had a small piece of a rubbery, gummy type substance that when rubbed with sufficient pressure against the word or letters written in pencil it would make them invisible. Think of it as a manual ‘delete’ button. However, caution was necessary, for too rapid a rubbing or too strong the pressure used to delete the writing would actually tear a hole in the paper. More than one of my math worksheets looked like Swiss cheese more than like a homework paper. In their earlier form these devices were almost always yellow and had a No. 2 emblazoned on the side. When the world had circumnavigated the sun enough times that school children were now taking tests by shading in small little circles; it was so highly sophisticated that the directions were very specific, “Only a No. 2 Pencil Could be Used.” But, now, allow us to return to our part blue ink, part lead pencil and occasionally a part red ink ledger.

I began to notice that my parents’ ledger was gaining much more red and rather rapidly it seemed. That was not truly the troubling part, because, certainly they were aging and it was expected that many of their compatriots were also aging and eventually dying. What I found troubling was that there was almost no blue entries being added any more. In fact, it seemed that a plateau had somehow been reached and there was no longer any interest, by my parents, for seeking out new blues. It was as if they had filled their blue quota and so, they stopped. Maybe, once in a great while someone would join their church or a new neighbor that actually would reach out and talk to them over the garden wall; even though we did not have a garden nor a wall would be added to the book. Still, there was a barrier there and new neighbors dare not cross. Why was there an aversion to new blues? Certainly, old friends are to be cherished but aren’t new friends an opportunity for growth and life? I’m not advocating for a city block hug-fest or becoming close enough to share one another’s socks; but maybe to get to know someone well enough to send them a Christmas card once a year. (I found that sending Christmas cards twice a year was off-putting to some folks, so I’m looking for a summer holiday that involves snowmen, candy canes and a Jolly Old Elf. I haven’t found one just yet and I have a LOT of cards already made up ready to send!

I don’t know what, in the cyber-world will replace the little tan ledger book with the blue and red ink (and the penciled in addresses); likely it will be some form that auto-fills in all the spaces and immediately corrects to a new address because there is a hyper link to the U.S. Postal Service to update the addresses whenever you click on the name. It may have an automated e-send for a holiday greeting of your choice so you don’t even have to sign the card, lick all those envelopes and put on those stamps with the snowmen and candy canes and elves. It will probably also include an instant family photo update from the year previous! Perhaps, too , with a link to the U.S. Census database, it can auto-redline for you all those that you didn’t even realize had died that year because you never saw them in a text message or an FB post. But, one thing it cannot do, no matter what… regardless of the number of LIKES you get on FB, is add in the real blue inked names. In the FB world, I suppose even the names would be in pencil because they can be written off with the click of a mouse. But in the real world, the world that matters…. blue ink is for friends that last a lifetime.

Through the Keyhole

Every moment is but a wisp of smoke through a keyhole and cannot be grasped and held so that it might stay longer than the brief time it is allotted.

Earlier this evening as I opened my FACEBOOK page, over on the left column it asked me to add a public ‘bio’ so I sat and penned what I thought should be said. Well, after a few minutes when I went to save it, it said that I was 2844 characters over what is permitted. So… since I cannot say it there, I will say it here! If you have a desire to read this short ‘bio’ – I hope you enjoy it. If you choose not to – I will not be offended in the least. For me it was an exercise in thinking about my priorities, so here it is my “short bio”!

First and foremost, I am a sinner saved by grace, a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Without Him in my life I am nothing and I have no hope for the future. I make no boast but in Him alone. He did not save me because I deserved it but because He loved me even though I could never deserve or earn it!

After that, I am the husband of Karin for almost forty years. I have been far from a perfect husband; but, she remains my life partner whom I love with all that I have to love. I am blessed to have her in my life and blessed with four great children, all of whom are grown and married and so far we have eight grandchildren, two boys and six girls ranging in age right now from 8 years to about 1 month. yogiOur newest is the daughter of our “adopted” daughter (child number five if you are counting, who came to us not by birth but by 747 as an exchange student back in 1996.) We tried to keep her but the best we could do was share her with her own parents in the Philippines and now we share her with our ‘adopted’ son-in-law Andy!

Our not so regular kids are: Heidi with her husband Nick, Suzanne with her hubby Dave, Sarah with her husband Mike and Daniel with his wife Sarah. We have another little child who went to be with her (his?) Heavenly Father before he or she was able to be with us. We look forward to meeting him or her someday.

My work and life’s passion since my teen years has been law enforcement as well as time as a firefighter and EMT, too. I retired as a Chief of Police and now own a private investigations and security consulting agency.

After I retired, I attended seminary and for almost fifteen years Karin and I have had the joy of serving as missionaries to help care for missionaries all across Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. I have worked a great deal with them in the area of security and contingency planning. We enjoy our service in a local church with whom I will begin serving as a Deacon in January. I love to teach and do so whenever I have an opportunity.

I enjoy fishing and hunting, horseback riding and I’m a ‘ham’ radio operator since 1971! (WB8KMP)

Most of all I love to be with family whether it is babysitting grandchildren or travel.

Every moment is but a wisp of smoke through a keyhole and cannot be grasped and held so that it might stay longer than the brief time it is allotted. So I inhale deeply, as the moments go past and drink as deeply with each precious memory that is so fragile it can be lost in an instant.

I love to read and study the Bible and I enjoy reading mysteries the likes of Arthur Conan Doyle. I have authored a book on policing in a new century during times of great threat. It is due to be published this winter. yogi-bear-n-boo-boo

Rather than an epitaph engraved on a cold stone over an empty grave; I much prefer to have a message written on the hearts of those I love and leave behind that says simply: Ross, He loves the Lord, his wife and his family. He tried his best and is a trophy to God’s grace.