A True Patriot

“…a person who claims to love America and support America but fled to Canada in the 1960’s does not qualify as a patriot. I can agree with that. Whether you do or not matters little here because, quite frankly, I’m the author. You can write your own blog.”

In tribute to all those whose full measure of devotion was required

11 September 2013  Patriots’ Day in the U.S.A.      

Dr. Ross L. Riggs

All across the nation today there will be blogs written, such as this one, remembering 9-11 and calling for Americans to stand tall against those who would declare themselves an enemy of this great Republic. Like many, I found it disheartening how soon after 9-11 the flags stopped flying from almost every porch in America and how soon the echoes of those in prayer for our country and its people, its soldiers, seemed to fade.

Did you know that a person can be a patriot when he or she stands strong on behalf of their country and that they can also be a patriot when they stand strong against their government? Allow me to quote from a most hallowed source, Dictionary.Com.

dictionary

1. a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.

2. a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.   (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/patriot?db=dictionary)

 

A person who loves and supports and defends both the country and its interests with devotion is a patriot. Look carefully at that sentence because it speaks volumes. The article ‘or’ is only in one place in that sentence, between his and her, nowhere else. It is not a person who loves or supports his or her country. It is not a person who loves and supports just his or her country but the country and its interests. I find that interesting for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is a question that comes to my mind. Who determines a country’s interests? For example, are America’s interests inclusive of strong traditional marriage or the ‘I can marry anyone I love’ type of marriage? Who determines what America’s interests are? I’m not going to argue that here; it is just a question that came to mind. Who gets to make those choices?

 

So, back to the first definition: the patriot loves, supports and defends (all three) that would mean that a person who claims to love America and support America but fled to Canada in the 1960’s does not qualify as a patriot. I can agree with that. Whether you do or not matters little here because, quite frankly, I’m the author. You can write your own blog. But notice there is yet another qualifier in that first definition… “with devotion.” What does that mean, exactly? Someone once explained to me that a hen is devoted to giving us something of her so we can have a healthy breakfast. A pig, on the other hand, is committed to it. That may seem like semantics, unless of course, you are the pig.

 

Dictionary.Com informs us that devotion is “profound dedication; consecration” and even “earnest attachment to a cause or person, etc.” What that means is that we all know what ‘devotion’ is; we just cannot explain it without using other modifiers that are also undefinable; but somehow we just know devotion when we see it.

 

The second definition of ‘patriot’ is “a person who regards himself as a defender, especially of individual rights against presumed interference by the federal government.” Here is where I think the article “OR” can go…  You can be a patriot devoted to your country OR you can regard YOURSELF as a defender, sticking up for the individual, which in this case probably would also be YOURSELF, against the big bad federal government. For some reason, I think perhaps that Dictionary.Com understands the distinction between a Patriot and a patriot. One flies the American flag, if not every day, at least on all holidays; and in the meantime if it is stored, it is stored properly. The patriot is probably running around with cardboard license plates because he doesn’t have to do what the government says! He’s an amurican! – but only in an individual sort of way.

 

A True Patriot is regarded by others, who know him or her, as a Patriot. Most true patriots probably think very seldom of themselves. They are usually looking out for their families, their neighbors, their co-workers, the sick, the elderly, the infirm, and the orphaned. They are the ones out for a walk and just out of habit, reach down and pick up that piece of litter someone else threw and they carry it until they find the right place to drop it. The true patriot not only makes it to the voting polls each time but maybe volunteers there or calls someone they know who might need a ride to get to the polls.

 

A true patriot stands, if he is able, when the flag passes. He or she has a hand over their heart during the anthem at a ball game, not ordering a hot dog. He or she probably will shed a tear when they see a wounded vet and they may just haul off and punch some punk that belittles that vet in some way. I know a patriot, a true one. Actually, I know several but the one I’m thinking of never had a chance to serve in the military, although he would have liked to. He gets really steamed when he sees anyone act in a demeaning way toward the symbols of our nation.

 

Dictionary.Com actually has a third definition of a patriot. It does begin with a capital ‘P’. It has a range of 37 miles and carries a 200 pound warhead. On this Patriots’ Day I seek to honor all those who have given their full measure of devotion to our great country. America is exceptional and I thank God for each of you and your families. I wish for you this holiday that you will find something about our country that makes you smile. I have another wish as well. I would like all of the enemies of our beloved United States of America to have an opportunity to meet a true patriot, whether it is one whose heart proudly beats for America or one that travels up to 37 miles to release a 200 pound warhead!

 

May God bless America and may America bless God!

A Cop’s View of Father’s Day

Helping Make Sense of How Some Cops Respond to a Day Set Aside to Honor Their Role as Dad

Dr. Ross L. Riggs, DMin Director Security Consulting Investigations, LLC  www.security-consulting.us

It’s a regular shift only its scheduled for Father’s Day; a Sunday shift is bad enough to draw but on Father’s Day too, incredible! That is what went through my mind at least a dozen times during my watch. I was always anxious for Father’s Day; not only was it a time of relaxation; it was a time to be surrounded by my family. That was the most important part for me and it has only become more so now that my family is spread out with their families or careers that keep them away.

Father’s Day becomes sweeter still with grandchildren. But for some officers, Father’s Day brings only painful reminders of the road not taken or mistakes from the past that cost them dearly. Couple that with some of the tough calls that Father’s Day brings!

Is there any call worse (child death calls excluded) to get than a domestic fight? Now, respond to a domestic fight and there are children at the scene watching mom and dad battle it out like two WWF loud-mouths, and it is Father’s Day. Not the most pleasant way to spend the day, especially if you have to take dad away in handcuffs in front of the kids.

‘OK, we all understand this so why bring it up here?’Doc, are you trying to discourage us?’ ‘What does this have to do with Counter Terrorism anyway?’ I can hear your questions because I posed them to myself before I wrote this and here are the answers.

First, this is a reality and you have to deal with it. You need to understand that you and your partner or your back-up officer may be dealing with this day differently. If you are a female officer, the same is true for Mothers’ Day or for any officer who is dealing with issues and memories about their own father this day is an issue. The point is that any shift can have enough stress of its own but when a shift automatically brings with it additional stressors, you have to be even sharper than normal; this includes Christmas or birthdays, or it could be special anniversary of the baby lost a long time ago. Be aware of days in your life or the lives of your partner that could be a distraction from the job.

No, I do not want to discourage you. I want to help you stay alive. From where I am, I cannot physically help you. But maybe, just maybe, through the words in this blog I can stir you to think so that you can be sharper mentally when you go out on that next shift and that split second sharpness may be what keeps you alive to go home at EOS.

What does this have to do with Counter Terrorism? I point to a sign in the main lobby of the National Fusion Center that reads: “Today is September 12, 2001” We are at war, ladies and gentlemen; and you are on the front lines. Your head must be in battle mode when you go on shift. Nothing can distract you; not even a holiday. Please, be careful out there!