Tom in Iraq as a Military Observer

Tom in Iraq as a Military Observer
They sent me here just to watch...

Friday, November 10, 2017

Please stop leveraging the pain of victims for something you have done nothing about for 228 years

It is time to stop the emotional appeals for more gun control based upon the most recent tragedies.  Each tragedy brings a call for consoling the victim’s families and those who hurt for them.  It is not the time to leverage their pain for your purpose.

How heartless!

No, this is compassion.  This is the time for prayer and healing not the cynical comments about the very things needed at those time.

If you want to change gun laws; change the Constitution.  You have had 228 years.  Present your facts, make your argument, and do what is required to change the Constitution.  It is not an easy process but the evidence of 27 amendments tell us that it is very much doable. Yes, 10 of them were ratified at once.  The last amendment took almost 203 years, but the process is there for the using.  Most take what most would consider a reasonable amount of time.

And now is the time to make your move.  Ignorance as to the purpose of the Second Amendment is at an all time high.  Emotions are high.  Understanding of a system designed to prevent tyranny is at an all-time low.  If gun control is your objective, start the process to amend the Constitution.

But with all of this violence, can’t we just ignore the Constitution just this once? 

It seems the cries for this grow louder each year, but they ignore our history and the consequences of setting aside the wisdom of our founders.  I don’t think there has ever been a more divinely inspired group of men in the history of the world who designed a system of government than our Founding Fathers.

Yeah, sure, what a bunch of high grandiose patriot-speak.  We need changes!

Hmm…  Let’s think about what happens when we ignore the Constitution.  The last declared war for this country was World War II.  We have not declared war in more than 75 years.  Can you believe it!  We have enjoyed 75 years of peace.

What?  We have not enjoyed 75 years of peace?  Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Beirut, Panama, two Gulf Wars, Afghanistan, the war on terror, and the occasional firefight in Libya or Syria happened without a declaration of war.

How can that be?  Only Congress can declare war!  The President can only make war in response to an attack, which in today’s fast paced environment would surely include the imminence of attack.  But these conditions were not applicable in Vietnam, Korea, or the Gulf Wars.

You counter, “But now we have the War Powers Resolution.”

Consider what value is an ordinary law such as what we most often call the War Powers Act if the Supreme Law of the Land—the Constitution is ignored.  This act did not clarify the Constitution.  It attempted to regain part of the authority of Congress that should have never been lost.

Back to guns.  If you want to enact new gun laws, then make your case for amending the Constitution first.  Realize that casualties from tragedies that involved firearms will be insufficient.  You must demonstrate that the republic will be as strong and as safe as it is with the Second Amendment intact.  You must convince the American people that they will never have to throw off a tyrannical government—ever. 

It is a tough challenge but an emotional appeal to bypass the Law of the Land is cheap publicity at the expense of hurting families.

Casualties—the cost of liberty—are sometimes high.  Consider the casualties of our own Civil War.  While it wasn’t all about slavery, owning a human being was not something that our nation could live with any longer.  It would have been less costly in American blood not to have engaged in this war, but we did, and we paid the price.

Was it worth it?  Few would say that they would rather have continued into this century with slavery.  But the price was high, very high in American blood.

The question that those who want gun control in a nation that preserves the right to bear arms at a foundational level have to answer is:  Has the cost in blood been too much?

They must answer this question in full.  They must account for the price we paid so that all people could enjoy liberty as free men and women and compare it to the price we pay for liberty by empowering the citizenry to throw off an unjust, tyrannical government. 

It’s a tough sell, especially among those who understand our system of government and know that liberty always comes at a price; but if you are serious about it, start the process.

In the meantime, quit leveraging the pain of victims of evil that resides in the hearts of a few.

For more on the purpose of the Second Amendment, read Paradox of Power.

It is the nature of our republic, that our domestic tranquility is afloat on a sea that separates revolution and tyranny.

Monday, November 6, 2017

He knew what he signed up for...

I don’t know all the facts, but that has not stopped the media from reporting what they think happened.  About what?  Something that President Trump may or may not have said.

He knew what he signed up for.

This evidently got people up in arms.  That’s a poor metaphor considering the topic of that sentence was a young man under arms—a serviceman deployed to hostile territory—and the people raising a ruckus had never been near a shot fired in anger.

Here is my thought.  Whether the president said it or not, it is a good thing to say.  It should be accompanied by a follow-on statement.

He knew what he signed up for, and
He went anyway!

That’s just courage.  It is common among those whom I served with.  I think it is still ubiquitous among today’s service men and women. 

Over 72 years ago, American Admiral Chester Nimitz reflected on the incredible sacrifice of the Marines who fought at Iwo Jima by saying, “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.”

Valor is still present among today’s fighting men and women.  They knew what they signed up for and they went anyway.  And they went anyway!

Semper Fidelis
Bravo Zulu

Well done!

Taking a Knee--Moving Forward

Once more with the NFL and this kneeling business.  Many could just remain disgruntled and tuned out, but I think it’s time to move forward.  Here’s my proposal in two parts.

Part I – Game Day

The announcer begins:  Ladies and Gentlemen, please be silent for a minute for prayer, meditation, or deliberation upon those blessings and issues that we face in America.

--Note:  Americans are not good with silence.  The first time this was done, it would have to be about 25 seconds.  The next time 30.  The next 35 and so forth until finally a full minute was given to this.  During this time, fans, coaches, players, and vendors could stand, sit, kneel or whatever they needed to do while considering others  around them in this short time that was set aside.  This is a time of silence not showtime or political activism.  At the end of this time, the announces would say.

The announcer continues:  We ask that all stand and face the American flag—the symbol of this great nation in which we enjoy the blessings of liberty and have the best chance of resolving all that afflicts us.

The national anthem is played, the game kicks off, and people who feel alienated by the disrespect to our National Ensign might once again return to the NFL.  Now, anyone who took a knee or raised a fist during the time to render respect to our flag and what it stands for would be saying, “It’s all about me.”

Part II – Working on Issues

The players who believe they have something of value to say, need to say it.  I suggest a website and a few commercials sponsored by these players.  These promulgations begin with a letter of apology.

We who have taken a knee these past few months seek your forgiveness.  We had our reasons, but we did not exercise wisdom.  We want you to enjoy professional football once again and we want to perform our best for you.

We acted rashly in our decisions to take a knee.  We had what we felt were legitimate reasons, but we did not account for those that would be disrespected.  We do not want to disrespect our service men and women who stand in the gap to preserve the very freedom that we exercise.  We do not want to alienate any American who loves this nation so dearly that such acts could not be viewed as anything but disrespectful.

But, and this is a big one here, we needed to and still need to get people’s attention.  We need help addressing our nation’s problems. Taking a knee angered many and mobilized few in helping anyone.  We want to keep your attention, enlist your assistance, and be as patriotic as those whom we have angered.

So, from now on, we will stand for the flag and ask your help to make this nation realize all the ideals which it represents.  We are blessed to live in a nation where we the people can be a part of the solutions to some very serious problems.

Please forgive us.  Please help us.  Please don’t forget the issues because we have chosen a course of wisdom over disdain.  And please accept our sincere apology.

I am tired of division, divisiveness, and cowardice in this nation; however, I am hopeful that we can move forward and not be entrenched in these positions.

Young boys taking a knee during the National Anthem

I went to the last high school game of the season and was happy to see everyone being respectful.  Early this season, every player had run onto the field with an American Flag held high.

But at this last game,  a few young boys off by themselves took a knee.  They were too young to understand what they were doing, but they had surely seen this on television.

Much like when I was young, boys kicked their leg high because that’s the way Juan Marichel did it or held their bat high over their back shoulder because that’s the way Carl Yastrzemski did it; these boys did what they had seen professional players do.

No message was attached to their kneeling.  They had simply done what they had seen on television.  Most learned how to show respect for the flag from those around them.  Now they learned how to disrespect it from people on television.

The children learned only disrespect.  They do pay attention to our actions.  They are prone to emulate.  Is it the desire of NFL players to produce a generation of discontent?  Is divisiveness the new norm for celebrities?  Is it their goal for our nation?

Every parent knows that actions speak louder than words.  Most of what these children know are the actions they have seen.  Parents, scout masters, and even classroom teachers show children the right way.  It only takes a celebrity miscalculating the cost of an action to set back the values that so many hard-working people have given their time to instill.

You could call this the law of unintended consequences or just selfishness, but it needs to change.  To the one who is given much, much is expected.