Posted on July 26, 2017
Trump announced today that so-called “transgendered” people would no longer be able to serve in the military overturning an Obama policy that was put in place about a year ago. As a former Army First Sergeant, I support this move. The liberals and their lapdog media are losing their minds over this. It’s social engineering at its finest.
“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that “transgender” in the military would entail,” the president wrote.
While I support the president’s decision, it’s not for the reasons he seems to be focused on. The “transgender” issue is more than about medical care costs. No one seems to be talking about the effect on ground troops and leaders which goes far beyond any monetary issues. The military relies on good order and discipline and the issue of “transgenders” in the military causes many problems. I want to discuss those issues at the company level.
Before I do, let me state a few things matter of factly: 1) there is no such thing as a “transgender” person – one is either a man or a woman (for the purposes of this post, however, I will use this term); 2) no one has a “right” to serve in the military. Otherwise, there would be no physical standards, no weight standards, no intelligence standards, etc. So, this idea that anyone, including a “transgender” person, has a right to serve is a fallacy from the beginning.
First Sergeants are responsible for the health and welfare of their troops. They are responsible for their pay, their lodging, their discipline, their fitness and just about every other aspect of their lives. This isn’t about whether a “transgender” soldiers is as good as or better than a normal soldier. Yes, I said normal because there’s nothing normal about a man who thinks he’s a woman or vice versa.
Lodging is the first issue. When I still active I managed the Brigade barracks while I was processing to retire. It was a great pre-retirement job. Barracks are divided between male barracks and female barracks. How are “transgender” soldiers to be housed? Should a male who thinks he’s a female be roomed with another woman? What if a female soldier doesn’t want to be roomed with a man who think he’s a woman? What if a man doesn’t want to room with a woman who thinks she’s a man? We already have this problem with assigning rooms for homosexual people in the military. The problem is that when another soldier doesn’t want to room with a gay person, he risks an equal opportunity complaint for “discrimination.” Soldiers are forced to room with people that could find them sexually attractive whether they like it or not. That sexual attraction is why we room males and females separately.
The next issue is how “transgender” soldiers are supposed to dress. Does a man who thinks he’s a woman wear a female uniform or a male uniform? Is he allowed to grow his hair long since males must keep their hair groomed in a very specific manner? The Army’s regulation on grooming standards states that “Males will keep their face clean-shaven when in uniform, or in civilian clothes on duty.” Since women who think they are men are still technically, naturally, and scientifically still males, are they are allowed to grow beards? If a man that thinks he’s a woman is treated like a woman, the regulation doesn’t say that women have to keep their face clean-shaven.
Perhaps the biggest issue is fitness standards. Females have a much different physical fitness standard than males have. The standards are much lower for females than males. For example, young women between 17-21 only have to do 19 push-ups to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test and that number decreases every four years. A male in the same age group has to perform 42 push-ups to pass and that number also drops every four years. The same female has to run the 2-mile test faster than 18:54 to pass, three minutes slower than a male to pass. Using the same age group, a female is allowed to have 30% body fat, but the same male is only allowed 20%. How are “transgender” people supposed to be tested? Is a man who thinks he’s a woman allowed to be fatter, slower, and weaker since his mental illness tells him he’s a she?
The Washington Compost story highlights that the military spends more on Viagra than on medical care for “transgender” people. They also spend a lot on birth control for women – 71% of them use birth control to manage their menstrual cycle. What the Compost also doesn’t mention is that the military is a health care provider and nearly all insurance programs, military or not, cover Viagra. The Viagra issue is a distraction and deflection.
The pro-“transgender” crowd wants the entire military to accommodate an extremely small percentage of society to push an agenda that has no place in the military. The rest of society doesn’t have to billet their employees together, share tents, or bathe together. By caving to the desires of 0.6% of people at the expense of the 99.4% we are creating chaos, confusion, and a breakdown in order. It’s time liberals recognize that their policies create a distraction that the military doesn’t need. It needs to be focused on finding and killing the enemy and keeping this country safe from external threats. The “transgender” issue is simply incompatible with military service. It has nothing to do with being able to kill the enemy, which is only relevant about 20% of the time. It’s the other 80% where the problems exist.
Updated on October 23, 2017
“If your stories are all about your products and services, that’s not storytelling. It’s a brochure. Give yourself permission to make the story bigger.” – Jay Baer
With a limited marketing budget, Zach Blenkinsopp needed to look for a creative way to spread the word about his roofing company, Digital Roofing Innovations in Decatur, Alabama. That’s why the Navy veteran came up with a promotion where customers who hire Digital Roofing Innovations for roof jobs will also get a free AR-15 once the job is finished.
I first heard about the deal and the now viral ad that Blenkinsopp created after reading some of the backlash about it. As expected, anti-gun activists have been appalled at the idea of a business owner giving away “assault rifles” to his customers, even though what Blenkinsopp is doing is completely legal.
To me, this is simply a case of incredibly smart marketing. Let’s take a look at the ad itself to start.
The production value is certainly lacking, and if I saw this running on TV, I’d wonder what the company was thinking.
For an online ad, though, the ad does its job, and even though the sound quality isn’t great, you can understand everything Blenkinsopp says.
If there’s one way to describe this ad, it’s completely over the top. Blenkinsopp steps out of his car puffing on a cigar dressed in boots, American flag socks, tight American flag shorts, bandanas on his head and arms, a cowboy hat and a large red bowtie.
He’s puffing on a cigar, which he immediately sets on the hood of the car. He later drinks what appears to be a beer and whiskey, and he simply says “rifle” when he wants a gun thrown to him. He talks about Trump, bashes recycling and ends the video by firing off a few rounds.
To top it off, Blenkinsopp began the promotion on the 4th of July. There’s no better day to run a “free AR-15” ad than Independence Day, but there’s also another reason why this was a smart move. The peak season for roofing companies is towards the end of summer and early fall. Starting the promotion in July will drum up interest for the company at the perfect time.
“Over the top” was a good strategy for a promotion like this. Despite the attention he’s getting, Blenkinsopp is far from the first business owner to run a free guns promotion for his customers. It has been done quite a few times in the past, which means if Blenkinsopp wanted his promotion to stand out, he had to take it to the next level. Going the all-American route got his ad more exposure than it would have if he took a generic approach.
As far as the backlash is concerned, there’s a couple important points that many of the commenters are missing because they didn’t dig deeper into this offer. Most importantly, Blenkinsopp isn’t just tossing a customer an AR-15 after the job is done. Every customer who wants the AR-15 must go through a background check first, which means only those who could legally own an AR-15 can get one through this promotion.
Even after the customer passes the background check, Blenkinsopp doesn’t actually give them an AR-15. Instead, he gives them a $500 voucher for use at the nearby Cypress Creek Indoor Gun Range, and they get that after paying for the roofing job. Today, $500 doesn’t quite cover a new AR-15 off the shelf, at current AR prices, it gets you pretty darn close to other AR-15s for sale.
Of course, many commenters didn’t get the memo about the background check or the voucher. One commenter named Ray Shackleford went so far to say that Blenkinsopp is helping his customers kill people, which is about as ridiculous and irresponsible a statement as it gets. Blenkinsopp is a business owner running a promotion. I found this image of Zach in normal dress attire:
Tim Efferson commented on how customers can “get a free, unregistered AR from a half-naked drunk dude.” It seems like he added the word “unregistered” to make this seem like an even more dangerous proposition, but the state of Alabama doesn’t require the registration of any guns.
Another commenter, Alan Foster, wrote that he wouldn’t trust Blenkinsopp on his roof because of a lack of professionalism. Although I believe the criticisms of this “free AR-15” promotion are silly, I can see why some people wouldn’t want Blenkinsopp working on their roofs based on this ad.
Even though there’s no way to tell whether Blenkinsopp is drinking while handling weapons, it’s heavily implied. His demeanor can be abrasive in the video, and it’s no surprise that certain viewers are turned off by that. He doesn’t project professionalism, and if a roofer acted exactly like Blenkinsopp does in this video while on a job, customers may not be happy with him.
Reading up on Blenkinsopp, though, provides ample evidence that any worries of unprofessional behavior are unfounded. The man was in the Navy for eight years, and now he’s a successful business owner who hasn’t been in any trouble with the law. His company has excellent reviews on Facebook and Yelp, indicating that Blenkinsopp is someone who can be trusted on a roof.
The way Blenkinsopp acts in the video is Marketing 101. Even though he says it’s not a gimmick, there is a bit of a gimmicky element to it. Blenkinsopp is playing a character to get people interested in his company. I can all but guarantee that in his daily life, Blenkinsopp doesn’t drink one sip of beer and then toss the can into the grass. He probably wouldn’t get many barbecue invitations, and no true American wants to waste beer. I doubt he’s wearing the outfit from this commercial to his roofing jobs. And I don’t think he’s walking around yelling out commands like “rifle” and “whiskey” whenever he wants something thrown to him.
The Blenkinsopp we see in the commercial is a larger-than-life American action figure. When I see a Geico commercial, I don’t think to myself “How unprofessional, I’d never want a gecko handling my car insurance,” because that’s just a character used in the commercial to sell the product.
The style of this ad isn’t for everyone. Even members of the pro-gun crowd could find Blenkinsopp’s behavior excessive or dislike the implied alcohol consumption. But no matter how many people this ad angers, it’s a success. As the saying goes, any PR is good PR. As the “AR-15 went viral”, it brought an incredible amount of exposure to Digital Roofing.
It’s better for a business to have people who feel passionately about it on both sides than to be firmly in the middle and have no one interested in it. Digital Roofing Innovations could have stayed in that middle ground and gotten little, if any, attention. Instead, it took the more controversial approach, and it has paid off. Now the business has a group of fervent supporters who love its style. It has gained multiple customers already because of the ad. It has the anti-gun crowd upset, but the old adage “any publicity is good publicity” has been proven true time and time again.
When people post their criticisms, it only keeps the business in the news, leading to more potential customers finding out about it. A quick search for the business’s name brings up more media attention than it has ever gotten before, just based on this one promotion that probably cost under $100 to film and release.
At the end of the day, the way Blenkinsopp and his business handled its promotion isn’t what angers these anti-gun crusaders. That crowd just wants to see Second Amendment rights taken away entirely. They see the words “free AR-15” and their knee-jerk reaction is to criticize the business owner, even though his promotion is 100-percent legal and it requires the customer to go through the same background checks he would need to pass if he was buying the gun without a voucher.
Blenkinsopp received more than the standard anti-gun comments. Somewhat ironically, he had some people referring to him as a backwoods redneck for obvious reasons, and others calling him gay because of how he was dressed. For his part, Blenkinsopp has said that he’s an educated, well-traveled man with friends of many different backgrounds and lifestyles, supporting the idea that he is only acting in his ad.
He received some criticism for throwing a beer can into the grass on the side of the road and saying that recycling is stupid. I understand where these people are coming from, but it’s important to realize that this was done in jest. There are plenty of people out there who don’t recycle, but I’ve yet to meet someone who is actually against the act of recycling. Viewers should keep in mind that this is an ad. The whole point was attention, and Blenkinsopp used humor to do so. There’s no reason to take a few jokes so seriously.
Overall, I’d say that Blenkinsopp did an excellent job with his marketing strategy. He’s effectively offering a $500 discount on roofing jobs, which can often cost $10,000 or more. And if he set up a deal with the shooting range to send business their way, those vouchers may not even be costing him the full $500. It’s a small price to pay, and his company is still likely making a solid profit and gaining a ton of free press in the process.
There’s also the fact that his business is located in Alabama, a conservative state. Digital Roofing Innovations may be getting criticism from people online who have an irrational fear of lawful gun owners, but in its home state, the reaction is much more positive.
Updated on July 24, 2017
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” George Orwell, 1984
I read an article today and had to reread it twice to ensure that I was reading it correctly. It’s a piece about how some states are responding to the killing of an innocent victim of police cowardice, Philando Castille. Yes, I called it cowardice. And the cop that murdered Castille is a coward. It also comes following the recent murder of a woman in Minneapolis who had called 911 and approached the vehicle of a responding officer when the coward decided to end her life as well.
The title of the article alone gave me pause: “State tells armed drivers how to avoid deadly stops.” Let that sink in for a bit. Who is the state addressing here? It’s addressing the victims of these deadly stops, not the perpetrators. Here’s the first part I want to address:
Several areas here stand out to me and practically scream lunacy at my face. A Democratic state representative says the purpose of his legislation is to “create a set of standards” to ensure that
“The goal was to create a set of standards,” Bolding said.
The new edition of the driver’s manual, published about a month ago, advises drivers with guns to keep their hands on the steering wheel during traffic stops and tell officers right away that there’s a firearm in the car.
It also tells drivers not to reach for anything inside the vehicle without getting permission first. And officers can take possession of guns, for safety reasons, until the stop is completed. The firearms would be returned if no crime has been committed.
When I was in Iraq our rules of engagement – during combat – were more strict against the enemy than the rules of engagement that our law enforcement agencies have against our own citizens. In other words, it’s easier for a government agent to kill an American here at home than for an American to kill the enemy abroad. If all I had to do was “fear for my life” any time I thought an Iraqi had a gun, there would have been a lot more dead Iraqis I left behind. I was in some extremely hairy situations in Fallujah and near Sadr City where I could have easily shot plenty of “threats” as they surrounded my team. But, here in America, all you have to do is exercise your rights peacefully, reach for your wallet (or reach for your wallet), or wear pajamas and BLAM! You’re dead. In combat, they had to actually represent a true threat by making the motions of pointing a gun at you or already be firing. In Afghanistan, we weren’t even allowed to fire back if they were firing from a protected or crowded place.
The problem with this bill or training or suggestions or brainwashing or whatever is that it will inevitably lead to even more badged
cowards cops shooting drivers who, for whatever reason, do not conform exactly to what they are being told to do and what cops are being told the people have to do. I mean, what if someone has their hands on the wheel but goes to swat a bee that just landed on their arm? What if they need to scratch their back? Or what if their arms get tired? What if someone is simply nervous and forgets? By putting these rules in place, law enforcement would have even more cover under which to hide for killing another American. “He moved his hand from the steering wheel and I thought he would go for a gun!”
Finally, this idea of brainwashing people into thinking they need to get permission to reach for their Diet Dr. Pepper in the cup holder is prima facially absurd. Are we seriously supposed to be okay with every movement we make in our own vehicles dictated to us and approved by a government official before we do so? If I want to skip a song on the CD player, I now have to ask Big Brother for permission because heaven forbid if I can’t stand listening to another Taylor Swift song on the radio and want to change the station!
Am I also the only one that found the part about “firearms would be returned if no crime has been committed” repulsive? If no crime has been committed, why am I being disarmed to begin with? Last time I checked, we still had a 4th and 5th amendment right to due process and security of our persons and effects.
“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”
? George Orwell, 1984
There’s another part of the article that concerns me as a patriotic lover of liberty and believer in the citizen-centered form of government.
The changes in Arizona happened without a law being passed. The Department of Public Safety worked with Bolding to produce the new guidelines.
“It all comes down to safety,” said Quentin Mehr, a spokesman for the state police agency.
Whose safety? How can it be for the officer’s safety if I don’t pose a threat to him? How am I safer by having my only means of self-defense taken from me? Sure, the high and mighty government agents might say, “I’ll protect you,” but that’s the very person I’m most likely to be shot by that’s taking my gun! I thought we had a 2nd amendment so that it would force the government to ensure I get to keep my guns “for his safety” because if he tries to disarm me, isn’t that what I’m supposed to be armed to prevent in the first place? In other words, shouldn’t it be more dangerous for a government official to disarm someone as opposed to allowing him to keep his firearm?
It’s not because the decades of brainwashing and weak-mindedness pushed through our public education systems and government agencies has dulled our senses to the point we are actually supposed to enthusiastically turn over our guns to help ensure the comfort level of its officials. We have been tricked into believing that our rights are subservient to their comfort. We have been tricked into the “for your safety and mine” mindset. Me having a gun is no threat to my safety, but him having one is. So, how is disarming me “for my safety?” Perhaps because cops are trained to simply shoot someone with a gun regardless of the actual threat so the mere fact that I have one means that the person trying to take it from me is true threat? If that’s the case, I definitely shouldn’t disarm. So, we’re stuck at an impasse: if I don’t surrender my gun, I run the risk of being shot by the cop; if I do surrender my gun, I’m defenseless against the risk of being shot by a cop (or anyone else).
In reality, the only person’s safety that is at risk during the 99.9% of traffic stops or police encounters is the person being stopped. After all, if you refuse to be disarmed because you’re neither a threat nor breaking the law, the cop can just shoot you. Your own safety is now only as secure as the bravery or professionalism of the cop. A coward will simply shoot you, assault you, or get other cops to help them assault you to physically remove the gun if you refuse to “comply” (don’t even get me started on the “comply” mindset). However, because I’m not a coward, I know my rights, I know I’m not a threat to anyone, and I don’t break the law (except for the occasional traffic infraction) I will not allow myself to be willingly disarmed without a fight. I allowed that to happen once and I learned firsthand that those who say that the place to fight is not on the streets, but in the courtroom, have never been through the legal system and seen that your rights aren’t protected there either. I will never be willingly or voluntarily disarmed again. I fully realize that this mindset may end up with me either in a coffin, a hospital or a court, but I will never surrender my firearm willingly again. I have adopted a very literal, Gonzales stance on being disarmed unless I am under arrest for an actual crime.
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.” ? George Orwell, 1984
I got pulled over last year for allegedly stopping over the little white line when I got out of the way for a car I didn’t think was going to stop behind me. After asking the officer why she had pulled me over, I handed her my driver license and license to carry as required by Texas law. The officer asked if I had a gun in the vehicle to which I said yes. When she asked where it was I told her it was none of her business. She then asked me to exit the vehicle “for her safety,” but I told her that I was going to stay in the vehicle “for my safety.” She ended up calling for more cops and they debated the issue, but I was right. I remained lawfully and peacefully armed and I remained in my vehicle.
The fact is that cops are ten times more likely to commit crime than a handgun license holder. So, if I show a cop my valid handgun license, what is there for them to fear just because I have a gun? I don’t know about other states, but Texas law enforcement doesn’t have the blanket authority to disarm someone with a gun just because they’re talking to them. In fact, technically, they only have limited authority to disarm someone with a handgun license.
Texas Government Code Section 411.207 states, “A peace officer who is acting in the lawful discharge of the officer’s official duties may disarm a license holder at any time the officer reasonably believes it is necessary for the protection of the license holder, officer, or another individual.” A reasonable person would conclude from that reading that the mere possession of a gun should not constitute a “reasonable belief” that would predicate disarming someone, especially a license holder. There has to be some sort of measurable belief that the safety of the officer, the armed citizen, or other citizens is in jeopardy. I highlighted the part about the license holder because there is no other authority in Texas law to disarm someone. Now, obviously if someone doesn’t have a license in Texas, they are violating the law and the can be disarmed to be arrested. That’s common sense. Any cop that chooses to disarm a citizen for the sole reason that they are armed and the cop doesn’t feel comfortable or “safe” because of it is nothing more than a coward and undeserving of the label “hero.” That person is actually the antithesis of what those in uniform are supposed to be.
Since research indicates that cops are more likely to be criminals than I am as a license holder, perhaps the people need the authority to disarm them during encounters…for their safety, of course.
“We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them.” George Orwell, 1984
What I find most telling about these rules and guidelines that Bolding and the law enforcement community want to implement is that nowhere in there are guidelines placed on the police themselves. Every single aspect of what they are suggesting has to do with changing how we behave, not the people that are actually killing innocent citizens – the cops. There are no suggestions about how cops should stop treating everyone as if they are going to shoot them as soon as they walk up to the window. The fact is that there are only about 50 or less felonious murders of cops over a collection of millions of stops each day. I couldn’t find any proof, but I’m willing to bet there are tens of thousands of stops every year of citizens who are legally carrying an firearm and not a single cop is killed. Perhaps if cops started treating people like…people…then they wouldn’t always be so afraid of them which makes them nervous and in turn causes cops alarm seeing them nervous.
My final point of contention is one that was thankfully addressed at the end of the article.
“Will Gaona, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, said it’s not a bad idea to tell drivers what to expect when getting pulled over. But the manual’s new section does not include descriptions of a driver’s rights, he said.
For instance, the rules say a driver can be arrested for disobeying an officer’s order. Gaona said the rule book should tell people that they have a right to refuse an officer’s request to search a vehicle.”
Gaona is saying exactly what I am trying to here: This is about changing how we react to avoid being shot by them, but doesn’t do anything to reign in the out of control nature of too many cops in America who believe that everything they say is the law and that we are required to comply with every demand a cop makes. Cops are not our masters or our lords. They only have the authority that we the people give them by law and nothing more. The problem is that there is no effort given to either 1) educate the public about what their rights are or 2) educate the police about what their limits are.
It boils down to is fear. If cops are so afraid that everyone wants to shoot them, why are they cops? If the only way they can feel safe stopping citizens is by taking away their right to self-defense, they don’t need to be wearing the badge. Police work is only dangerous in their minds. 99% of cops will never need to unholster their firearm in their career. That’s a fact.
This fear is also triggered when someone like me who knows his rights asserts them. Cops aren’t trained and, in many cases, mentally capable of dealing with someone who challenges them or stands up for their rights. Too many police officers think that they are the moral superiority and are the sole arbiters and protectors of “the law.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve either been asked if I’m an attorney, former law enforcement, or a judge. They can’t fathom that someone else may know the law better than they do and will immediately translate someone simply invoking their rights and demanding respect for them into “a threat.” Somehow, the badge means infallibility to far too many of them and they aren’t willing to stop and even consider that the person may be right because they feel like their power over the situation is far more important than whether the situation itself is even justified. Even when a cop is provided with a copy of the actual law and reads it, their ego insists that they are still in the right despite the piece of paper in their hands that says otherwise. Instead of admitting their error, they simply choose to arrest to save face. Their definition of “service” is “let the courts figure it out.” While the courts will dismiss the charges, that doesn’t change that a man is thrown in jail and is forced to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to go free in the meantime. I’m not talking about abstract issues like “constitutional rights.” I’m talking about black and white issues that are perfectly spelled out in law.
There was once a time when cops truly cared about your life more than their own. How often do you hear a cop say something along the lines of “I just want to make sure you get to go home at night?” Instead, we hear the common refrain that “It’s my job to make it home to see my family at night.” In other words, they are there to ensure their safety first, then yours. When I was in the military, we put ourselves in great danger to protect the public to our own detriment. I know that it does happen; some cops in Dallas during the shooting a year ago shielded others with their bodies, but I’m not talking about these rare instances where there’s an obvious villain and an obvious innocent which really triggers the natural fight or flight response more so than one’s courage. I’m talking about every day, on the street interactions with the people. The real heroes are the ones that choose to take the risk when the risk isn’t evident to defend the rights others even if they don’t like that person.
“Winston Smith: Does Big Brother exist?
O’Brien: Of course he exists.
Winston Smith: Does he exist like you or me?
O’Brien: You do not exist.”
? George Orwell, 1984
Posted on July 22, 2017
As a Soldier, I’ve traveled this country from coast to coast as the Army moved me to new duty stations. Thankfully, all of my duty stations were in the South, except for Fort Irwin and training at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey. Technically, Maryland is in “the South,” even though most people wouldn’t consider it to be any part of southern culture. So, even that duty station was technically in the south despite the fact we don’t want her.
As I’ve traveled this country, most of my rights have been protected irrespective of state borders. My right to free speech was no different while stationed in the D.C. area than it was in the Mojave Desert of California. My right to vote was unencumbered as much at Fort Ord as it was at Fort Hood. My right to be free of illegal searches and seizures was absolute whether I was in Huntsville, Alabama, or Hinesville, Georgia.
So, why is my right to keep and bear arms somehow different? I know the sycophants in the gun control crowd yell that people can’t be killed by free speech (yet they love to use the “yell fire in a crowded theater” excuse where being trampled could kill someone) or voting (tell that to all the countries our elected leaders have bombed). The right of a law abiding citizen to carry a firearm in defense of himself or others should be inviolable in every single state just as the rest of the Constitution is.
The problem with the patchwork of gun laws in the United States is that it requires a citizen who travels to understand all the intricacies of the laws each time he crosses a border. Nothing other right is like that. I know when I cross borders that I have to drive the speed limit, can’t rob a store, need to move over for a police officer or ambulance to pass with his lights on, should only use one parking space, can’t assault or murder people, must have a driver’s license, etc. The basic rules in every state are the same, but the right to keep and bear arms is a patchwork of over 20,000 gun laws that change depending on where you plant your feet.
The driver license is a good example of how messed up our right to keep and bear arms is. Each state in the Union has much different training requirements to obtain a driver’s license. However, that doesn’t mean that a driver’s license in the State of California isn’t recognized in Idaho simply because the way in which they license and what training is required to receive one is different.
A person traveling from Georgia to New Hampshire along I-95 – both states with good gun laws – with a gun in their vehicle would need some good luck making it through Maryland, New Jersey, or New York without becoming a criminal. How you carry along 2/3 of that round is perfectly legal until you hit that imaginary line. John Lott recently noted that, leaving out New York and California, 8% of Americans have a permit to carry a firearm. As we know, there are 33 states that don’t require a permit to carry in some form, so the number of Americans legally carrying with our without a permit is perhaps much higher.
Initially, I was a bit critical of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 because I’m a big state’s rights proponent; however, I don’t think this is a state’s rights issue anymore. The right to keep and bear arms is a natural right, not limited by artificial boundaries that call themselves states. Therefore, if a state is infringing on a fundamental right, the federal government should and ought to step in force them to recognize it. We shouldn’t even need licensing to begin with and then we wouldn’t be having this problem. I’d rather see the Constitutional Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 even though it’s not even needed – WE ALREADY HAVE THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO CARRY! We don’t just have a right to keep arms; we have a right to bear them too! Until we get to that point, H.R. 38 is a necessary evil for now that needs to be passed. The bill already has over 200 sponsors and since they aren’t doing anything about ObummerCare or lowering taxes, they should at least force the states to obey the constitution (yes, I know the irony in that statement).
Updated on July 18, 2017
I’m going to take a lot of heat for this, I predict. But, I say it as someone who actually benefits from these kinds of policies. I think the difference is that I don’t like it for practical and principled reasons. I read a story today out of Florida that concerned me a bit.
Florida has fast-tracked concealed weapons licenses to 82,000 active-duty military members and honorably discharged veterans since a terror-related shooting at a pair of military installations in Tennessee two years ago.Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who along with Governor Rick Scott helped expedite the permitting process as part of the state’s reaction to the Chattanooga shootings, on Tuesday highlighted the effort that has helped bolster Florida’s nation leading number of concealed-firearm permits.
Before I get to the point on this post let me first qualify what I’m going to say. I don’t believe that permits are constitutional in the first place. Permits to carry are nothing more than government stripping you of your rights and then selling them back to you. No one should have to get a permit to exercise a fundamental human right to self-defense. That said, I’m writing this posts based on the reality that currently exists understanding I find the entire system of licensing repulsive.
When I joined the Army, I didn’t join to defend or protect my own rights. I joined to “support and the defend the constitution of the United States” for everyone. I didn’t join to receive special privileges or extra rights. While I do and will continue to appreciate the support that troops have, it concerns me that too many people think that government personnel (troops and police officers) are somehow entitled to special treatment based on a personal decision to don a uniform.
Last I checked, those of us who serve in the military are still considered “service members.” We are in the “service” of our nation not to be serviced by the nation. If we are serving the American people, what gives anyone the authority to bestow more rights upon us that the people we actually serve? The first three words of the Constitution are “we the people,” “we the government employees.” The people created the government to, among other things, “secure the Blessings of Liberty.” Do we as veterans believe that those blessings only apply to us? If you don’t think they do, why would you support laws that bestow greater rights to you than the people you serve?
The only thing I truly agree with is exempting those in the profession of arms from having to take a qualification course as a part of their licensing. As far as I know, every single service requires regular firearm qualifications and receives regular training on marksmanship and safe gun handling. We can argue all day long about where all troops are actually “trained” on those things, but then I would argue that there isn’t a single state in the Union whose training requirements are any better.
When I was active duty, my Texas license to carry was free. As a veteran, it costs me $40 (beginning September 1, 2017, it will cost $40 for all Texans). The story claims that the effort to expedite permits is “part of the state’s reaction to the Chattanooga shootings,” but fails to recognize that even if troops have permits, federal law, executive, and general orders prohibit service members from carrying onto a military installation in most cases anyway. In fact, I was almost arrested recently going into Fort Hood while carrying a concealed firearm.
In November of last year, the Department of Defense released DOD DIRECTIVE 5210.56 which allows post commanders to “grant permission to DoD personnel requesting to carry a privately owned firearm (concealed or open carry) on DoD property for a personal protection purpose.” When I got to the gate, I declared that I had a concealed firearm and told the guard, “before you let me enter, can you tell me if I’m allowed to have a concealed handgun on me if I have a license and don’t enter into buildings under the directive issued last year? Has Fort Hood created a policy?” He said yes that I just needed to have my papers, so I handed him my license and he directed to a secondary screening area. When an MP arrived, he asked for my “papers,” to which I told him I gave them to the guard. The guard gave him my license, but he wanted registration papers. I was confused by this and it was explained that all firearms must be registered with the post to be allowed in. Once registered, the gun had to remain in the home except when traveling between a residence and the range or going off post. He then said he was supposed to arrest me for having a gun that wasn’t registered and I told him that I didn’t want to come on post if it was illegal which is why I declared it to the guard first and told him to turn me around. I guess the guard didn’t know the law and thankfully the MP was understanding and let me leave.
While 5210.56 sounds like a great policy, the problem is that once permission is obtained (which Fort Hood doesn’t grant at all) it is only good for 90 days and has to be renewed. The fact is that commanders simply don’t care about the policy and continue to disarm their troops. I’ve spoken to many military leaders that like it that way because they don’t trust their troops with a firearm. My response to that is twofold: 1) what kind of leader are you that you don’t trust your troops with a firearm? and 2) it sounds like you have a training deficiency in gun safety and handling. But, I digress…
Soldiers and cops are frequently told, “thank you for your service.” Is it really service if we are being offered more freedom and liberty than civilians are and think that is a good thing? Are we truly serving or are we simply self-serving? For these reasons, I don’t believe that troops, cops, or veterans should be granted any special privileges or rights that the people don’t enjoy. To believe otherwise says nothing more than you believe you are better than the people you serve.
P.S. This goes for prosecutors, judges, and every other special class of government official.
Updated on July 13, 2017
Only in the Army could leadership devise such a asinine response to a potential active shooter on base.
The Army announced Wednesday plans to release a mobile application that would allow soldiers and civilians to rapidly alert first responders during an active shooter incident.
Does anyone else see the glaring irony in that statement? The app is for SOLDIERS (who are trained marksman) to rapidly alert FIRST RESPONDERS during an active shooter incident. So, are our Soldiers no longer first responders? It boggles the mind why the Army wants to maintain a victim status of Soldiers on bases instead of allowing them to respond. So, what will this app do to help “first responders?”
“If adrenaline kicks in and they forget what to do in the moment, all of that information is right there in front of them,” said Matt MacLaughlin, a civilian employee at TRADOC Senior Mobile Training Development. “It should help everybody respond to that situation in the fastest manner possible.”
“We’re going to try to think for you,” MacLaughlin said in an Army release. “Because there’s situations where you won’t have time to think.”
Let me try and flush this out logically:
Active shooter begins and “first responders” arrive on the scene. As the bullets start to fly, adrenaline kicks in.
MP: “I don’t know what to do.”
MP Sergeant: “Hold on, Joe, let me check the app and find out.”
MP: “I’ve just been shot!”
MP Sergeant: “Hang on, I’m almost done analyzing all the information in this great app. CRAP!! I lost my signal!”
MP: “Sergeant, don’t sweat it. The app will think for you. Just have faith…and can you hand me your pressure dressing. I’m getting woozy.”
MP Sergeant: “There’s not a section here on what to do if you get shot!”
Unarmed Soldiers getting shot at: “HURRY UP ALREADY! WE’RE BEING SLAUGHTERED IN HERE BECAUSE THE ARMY IN IT’S INFINITE WISDOM THOUGHT AN APP IS BETTER THAN BUSTING A CAP.”
Let’s stop with all this touchy, feely nonsense and start allowing our Soldiers to defend themselves. Hell, at the VERY least allow sergeants and officers to carry or establish a military installation license to carry option. I’m not a fan of licensing away rights, but the very people who are trained to respond to a threat are unable to do so because the government has disarmed them.
Now, I know what kind of nonsense the critics are going to spew if we allow Soldiers to carry a handgun on base. “I can’t trust some Soldiers to show up to formation shaved, in the right uniform, and on time, much less carry a gun.” That a subjective determination and completely baseless excuse. I hear that all the time against constitutional carry, but unlicensed carry is law in 33 states and it isn’t an issue.
There are only two reason a Soldier can’t be trusted with a gun: you’re a tyrant and toxic leader who is really worried that the troops he abuses on a daily basis will exact their revenge on their maltreatment or he shouldn’t be in the military to begin with if he’s that incapable of being trusted with a gun.
I’ve got a better idea on how to respond to an active shooter. Instead of saying, “there’s an app for that,” let’s say, “there’s a bullet for that!”
Where is our “pro-gun” president and vice president to put a stop to this?!
Posted on July 3, 2017
Well, I’ve decided to leave Facebook and hopefully regain so much lost time to that pathetic platform. I’ll still be keeping my public page open so that I can share these posts until we are able to create a way to subscribe to updates.
I’ve realized that Facebook has really not done much for me besides fuel my anger, rage, and anxiety. It’s too easy to post a quick link with a reactionary response to some stimuli without sorting through and analyzing its meaning, purpose, or full understanding. With a blog, I’m forced to be more academic and explanatory about things that I share. I know that there is a risk to doing this at a time when society doesn’t have time to sit and read blogs posts. We’ve migrated to 140-character verbal darts and paraphrased postings.
There’s also a lot going on in my personal life that I think can be more helpful to discuss in this type of forum. The truth is that all Facebook did for me is fuel all the negative aspects of my life. Now, I’m not looking to turn my head to corruption or tyranny, but instead want to be able to more fully flush it out. It’s no secret that the past four years since my unlawful arrest in Temple and the corrupt trial that followed I’ve been pretty soured on the state of freedom and the growing disrespect of government towards the people.
I’ve seen this corruption and what unbridled raw power does to people personally. In the past four years, I’ve come to see firsthand what happens to people who stand for something and against corruption. I’ve learned that the state does not like having its authority challenged, especially when that challenge is justified and proper. I’m not one of those anarchist guys that hates government. I firmly believe that there is a legitimate role of government, albeit a small one. What I hope to accomplish here in future writings is to document my efforts to regain our proper role in government and its proper responsibility at both the state and federal levels.
What is our role? Our Constitution makes clear in its first three words where the power lies in American government: “We the people.” It is our role to ensure that we select people who will not only abide by the constitution, but serve in the best interests of the RIGHTS of the people. The problem is that the people right now are only concerned with electing those that will serve the best interests of the people at the expense of their rights. We have become brainwashed that government is designed to give us what we want instead of wanting them out of our way to get what we deserve. The reason they won’t is because most people realize they don’t deserve anything and won’t work to get what they want.
My methods aren’t exactly the most widely respected way of doing things. Too many people have been conditioned that we need to be seen, not heard. They believe that we are supposed to treat government officials with deference and blind obedience. They think that we are here to do as we’re told and we should bow to authority by virtue of its existence. There is an unwritten rule that it’s okay to criticize elected government officials, but when it comes to the rest of government, we’re expected to treat them as demigods, idols, or above suspicion.
As a Soldier, I was subjected to this form of worship and it bothered me then as it does now. Government officials are just people, no different than anyone else. I didn’t join the Army to receive special treatment. I didn’t do it to be respected or have power over others. I recognized that when I wore that camouflage uniform, I was a servant to every single person with whom I came in contact. They were my employers and I both respected and appreciated that. I made sure that every dollar I had to spend was spent as effectively and economically as possible. My dedication to fiscal frugality resulted in me being assigned to manage unit training and operational budgets at both the Brigade and Corps level. It also earned me the disdain of troops (and leaders) trying to game the system and milk as much money out of the taxpayers as possible.
As such, I expect EVERY government employee at every level to recognize their role in society. Authority isn’t always about power. Power only comes with legitimate authority. Authority comes with responsibility. Responsibility come from trust. Trust comes from the people. If the people don’t trust you, you can’t be responsible. People lacking responsibility have no authority and thus no power. It all boils down to government’s duty to ALWAYS ensure that government officials at every earn the trust of the people. It should never be taken for granted and it should never be solely based on what uniform or nametag we wear.
That is my goal here to document my journey to ensure this is how things remain.
Updated on June 27, 2017
There are pilots and then there are Harrier pilots. While I’m personally a fan of the A-10 and always will be (unless something comes along that really knocks me off my feet), I must admit that Harriers are #2 on my list. I’ve had my ass saved by an A-10 in combat and Harriers are just cool jets! Check out the video of this pilot who had to land on what amounts to a stool when his landing gear failed.
Updated on June 27, 2017
Throughout history, general officers have had a lot of responsibilities. They were from the elite class and were considered to be the gentlemen of the military. Until the latter part of the American Revolution generals were considered sacrosanct and were not targeted by enemy troops. Not much has changed over the past few centuries except a transition from European-style linear warfare to American-style total warfare. Generals have special court martial authority. They have virtual dictatorial control over the troops and land they command. They are treated like kings with their own chefs, drivers, and privileges. They make the laws that govern their units and the bases they command. They are the legislative, judicial, and executive branch of the military. A general officer letter of reprimand is a career killer and often used when non-judicial or criminal punishment isn’t possible since it cannot be challenged.
In the past few years, a growing number of generals are finding themselves in hot water. The same people that are responsible for discipline and good order are forgetting what that means in their own spheres. There aren’t a lot of generals in the Army – about 231. So, when a general gets in trouble, it’s a big deal. Generals demand accountability. When subordinate officers make a mistake, they are expected to own up to it and take responsibility for their actions. Even innocent mistakes that anyone would have made could ruin an officer’s career. While their careers are ruined in public, generals have the details of their discipline and accusations largely hidden from public scrutiny for fear of it reducing confidence in the corps.
So, I was a little surprised when I read Maj. Gen. Wayne Grigsby’s excuse for having an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate captain.
“I do not want to make any excuses, but you can see from my record that I have been deployed [eight] times for a total of [six and a half] years — practically every other year since 9/11,” Grigsby wrote in his response to the April memorandum of reprimand that sealed his fate. “Due in large part to this frenetic schedule, I have been struggling with my family situation for a while, attempting to balance a military career and be the husband, father and grandfather I desired to be and what my family reasonably expected from me.”
Can you imagine what the General’s response would have been if an enlisted soldier, NCO, or junior officer was standing before his desk and used the excuse, “my deployments made me do it!?” He’d have the book thrown at him.
When I was in Afghanistan, there was a similar incident with a general on Kandahar Airfield where I was based. I had briefed BG Jeffrey Sinclair on several occasions and even had to stand before him when that disgraced former blogger who shall not be named filed baseless accusations against me and attempted to disrupt our mission. Here’s a man that was judging me while he himself was doing far worse than I was even accused of doing. But, he was allowed to keep his rank, his pay, and didn’t serve any jail time.
A news release by the Fort Bragg Public Affairs Office listed the charges presented against Sinclair as including “forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct, attempted violation of an order, violations of regulations by wrongfully engaging in inappropriate relationships and misusing a government travel charge card, violating general orders by possessing alcohol and pornography while deployed, maltreatment of subordinates, filing fraudulent claims, engaging in conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman and engaging in conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline, or of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.”
In 2015, a Major General was reprimanded for steering defense contracts to his friends. Brigadier General Bobeck was removed from command last year and remains under investigation for a similar reason in addition to an extramarital affair.
Military discipline begins at the top. The top needs to pick itself up by its bootstraps and do some self-evaluation. The last thing it needs to do is start excusing bad behavior due to “optempo.” Generals have it easy in combat theaters. They have amazing billets, delicious food, priority travel (including their own helicopters), and don’t have to generally worry about being shot at. I would take a general officer’s optempo with the perks that come along with it any day over the optempo and lifestyle of the average grunt.
Updated on June 19, 2017
Before I delve into this subject, I want to make a few disclaimers. First, anyone that knows me knows that I am an unconditional defender of the 2nd amendment. I believe that “shall not be infringed” means zero infringements. None. Even felons who have served their time should have their rights reinstated. If they’re truly a danger to society, they shouldn’t be in society. I know plenty of people who are as hardline on the 2A as I am, but I don’t really know any that are more so. This post isn’t about opposing legislation that will expand gun rights so much as it is about a demand for equal protection under the law. I believe that congressmen, their staffs, and anyone else should have the right to defend their own lives wherever they set their feet. Yes, that includes hospitals, schools, courtrooms, and anywhere else corrupt politicians have deemed to be politically correct and necessary to ban self-defense tools. Second, I know that there isn’t an actual bill that’s been filed or considered yet, so we’re putting the cart before the horse at this time. Finally, I think it’s absurd that Congress even has to contemplate passing laws that essentially force government entities to obey the constitutional rights of the people and overturn laws that never should have been passed in the first place.
Within days of a Bernie Sanders supporter attempting to murder several key Republican lawmakers as they were playing softball, Republican Representative Barry Loudermilk from Georgia and Republican Representative Thomas Massie from Kentucky are suggesting legislation that would exempt congressmen from the tough restrictions on keeping and bearing arms in Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital has already lost its Supreme Court battle over the right to keep arms within one’s home, but has steadfastly opposed the “bear arms” clause of the 2nd amendment outside of it. This suggestion for legislation may make some gun owners happy, but no one should applaud this effort to allow congressmen to exempt themselves from D.C. statutes. The irony here is that these same people are trying to exempt themselves from laws that they themselves gave the city the authority to pass in the first place.
Article I, Section 8 of our constitution gives Congress the authority to “exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over…the Seat of the Government.” In layman’s terms, that means Congress has the authority to dictate every single law in effect in Washington, D.C. In most cases, they’ve delegated that authority to a D.C. Council complete with a mayor. Obviously, this is a smart thing to do since Congress has better things to worry about most of the time than micromanaging a city – not that that has ever stopped them. However, that doesn’t negate their authority over the district just because they delegated it. For example, a battalion commander delegates authority to a company commander over his company, but that doesn’t mean that the battalion commander can’t dictate what the company does or its policies. Technically, Congress could completely dissolve the city council, fire the mayor, pass a law relating solely to D.C., repeal a law passed by the council, create a military dictatorship, whatever. If Rep. Loudermilk is so frustrated with D.C.’s unconstitutional gun control laws, all he has to do is get congress to overrule it. Simple as that. It could eve be argued that said laws do not require presidential signature.
As is typical of elected cockroaches, they are loathe to let a good crisis go to waste and this shooting is no different. The wounding of five of their own has awakened a sense of urgency to do something to protect these elitists who think their lives are more important than everyone else’s. It’s amazing that all it took was five of them getting hurt to get their attention. In 2016, there were nearly 6,000 violent crimes committed in the ten square miles of our nation’s capital. Of that number, 135 were considered homicides. Already this year, there have been 50 homicides and slightly more than 2,000 violent crimes! Where was Congress after each of those 5,759 violent crimes? Where were they after the 135 homicides? Where have they been after the 50 homicides and 2,003 violent crimes in just the past six months alone? Do they only care about the 0.08% of those affected, which is them? Don’t the 99.92% remaining victims of violent crime deserve self-preservation?
If Congress truly cared about the people, they would have been acting tough to allow law abiding citizens to carry in self-defense long ago. They are the ones being targeted and slaughtered; not Congress. They are the ones that have to walk the streets unprotected; not Congress. They are the ones that have to hope and pray that a police officer gets to them in time or, if they don’t, is able to catch the perpetrator after the fact; not Congress. They are the ones that are exposed where they live, where they shop, and where they work; not Congress. So, after an average 5,600 violent crimes annually in D.C., Congress suddenly recognizes D.C. gun laws are a problem after just five are affected.
I fully support a law that would allow Congressmen to carry their firearms in self-defense. They should. They are the targets of psychotic Democrats just like the rest of us. However, they shouldn’t be more concerned with only exempting themselves at the expense of thousands of others. There is a Republican majority in both chambers of Congress and in the White House. There is no excuse this can’t get done.
Today, I went to my representative’s district office in the hopes that he – John Carter – would either push for language or an amendment that included ALL law-abiding citizens to be exempted from unconstitutional infringements on our 2nd amendment rights in D.C. or vote no on any bill that creates another special class of citizen for elected officials. Since there isn’t a bill to reference, they didn’t have an answer for me right away. Like our representatives, I should be able to go to the nation’s capital and have the ability to defend myself should the need arise. As I travel through and among the contiguous states, I shouldn’t have to worry whether or not I’m carrying “legally.” I shouldn’t have to be disarmed when I visit my congressman’s office in his district either because the building is a “federal building” and therefore a “gun-free zone.” I kinda made a mistake today, but I won’t tell anyone. Let’s just say my gun didn’t jump out of its holster and hurt or threaten anyone.
Congress does need to fix the problem with D.C. flaunting the basic civil rights of Americans. But, they need to fix it for everyone; not just themselves.
Posted on February 8, 2017
I’ve been watching the immigration debate surrounding Trump’s executive order with interest. I spent the last 15 years of my military career as a counterintelligence agent with a focus on counter-terrorism. In fact, it was the USS Cole bombing in 2000 that convinced me to change jobs from a Spanish Signal Intelligence Voice Intercept Operator/Linguist. While I was in training for my new job, 9/11 happened. I was more motivated than ever.
I find it laughable as a gun rights activist when I hear liberals – especially Obama – push gun control with the “if we can save just one life” narrative. The hypocrisy is glaring that they take on a completely different tone when it comes to immigration control. My take is a bit different. It isn’t about saving one life; it’s about saving tens of thousands. If this was truly about banning Muslims, why didn’t we add the other 36-41 Muslim nations to the list?
A recent CBS News propaganda piece trying to brainwash its readers into supporting illegal immigration found that 1.7% of illegal immigrants (I intentionally didn’t use the word “undocumented” as the story did) “had an incarceration rate of 1.7 percent, compared with 10.7 percent for native-born men without a high school diploma.” Notice the slight of hand? They compare ALL illegal immigrants, but narrow down the native-born category to just “men without a high school diploma.” If you were to include ALL Americans the way CBS News included ALL illegal immigrants, the percentage is 0.7% of LEGAL citizens incarcerated and that is assuming the worst case estimate of 2.3 million people in prison and a population of about 319 million.
The Pew Research Center estimates that there are approximately 11.1 million illegal aliens in this country. The Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform, using DHS data, noted that this number increases by about 700,000 every year. This includes those overstaying their properly obtained visas. Using the CBS News numbers, that means that there are about 188,700 illegal aliens incarcerated for crimes – including rape and murder – with approximately 11,900 new criminals coming into this country every year. So, the argument should be “if we can save just 200,000 victims every year…”
While I can’t get into specifics for obvious reasons of classification, I can say with certainty that among those 700k entering our country each year are people whose sole purpose is criminal activity and terrorism. They are exploiting our weak borders and lack of enforcement. These are groups like MS13, and La Raza that want to reclaim parts of the south for Mexico as well as extremist Islamic terrorists that want to hijack the next plane or bomb the next marathon.
On January 27th, President Trump signed an executive order barring immigration from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya and Yemen until a system of extreme vetting can be created to ensure that the likelihood of terrorists entering this country is minimized as much as possible. Let’s take a look at the mindset of people in these countries.
In Iraq, nearly one in ten people think that suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians in the name of Islam is justified. 39% of the people in Afghanistan believe that suicide bombings and other forms of violence against citizens is justified. Nearly all Iranians have been brainwashed into wanting the destruction of the United States. 8% of American Muslims say that violence is “sometimes” or “often” justified against civilians in the name of Islam. Iran, Sudan, Libya, Syria and Yemen are all state sponsors of terrorism. We already have bans on North Koreans entering our country, another state sponsor of terrorism. Approximately, 49 nations are listed as “Muslim” nations. Most of them are not state-sponsors of terrorism, though Saudi Arabia could be argued is one. So, to all the liberals – the same ones led by President Clinton that raided a home in Miami and ripped Elian Gonzalez from his uncle’s arms at gunpoint – who think that this is a ban on Muslims, any rational being would clearly see it is not. Of course, liberals are not rational so that point is moot. They suffer from TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome). That said, we should treat everyone in this country with respect, no matter who they are. It’s not disrespectful to kick people out who are here illegally.
If you think otherwise, consider this video from a contractor in Iraq.
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 gives the president broad authority over protecting the United States by preventing or slowing immigration from certain places. It specifically states,
“Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
We are a nation of immigrants. No one can deny that. My family emigrated from England where we were nobility at one time. In fact, there is a law school named after one my ancestors in London. My, how far we’ve fallen. However, we are also a nation of laws and sovereignty. I know there are people reading this who don’t believe in borders. Borders are what protect our way of life, our safety, our republic, and our success. They ensure that those coming here respect our constitution and our system of laws (even though we have disdain for many of them ourselves). For example, in most Muslim countries there is overwhelming support for Sharia law, especially in the countries on the Trump ban. Most of that support is above 80%! Sharia is incompatible with our system of law and Europe is now having to deal with the repercussions of their lax immigration policy.
What’s happening in Syria and in much of the Muslim world 1) has been happening for millennia and 2) won’t be solved by siphoning out their best and brightest. Assuming we aren’t bringing their best and brightest to this country, why would we want to bring people here who will only be a drain on our already strained economy? There are countries in the Middle East that should be stepping up and taking care of the problems in their own backyard. If they won’t help their own neighbors, why should we. I know, it’s “because we’re better than that,” right? That bigoted argument only suggests that the people coming over here are inferior to us or not as good. At the MOST, what I think we should be doing is helping to establish safe zones over there for refugees. That way, if and when the conflict is over 2,000 years from now, they will still have their culture.
I’m always told that I need to pick my fights. I admit that I seem to appear as if I’m always looking for one. My philosophy is that I don’t really recognize degrees of wrong when it comes to government. Wrong is wrong and I will stand up to wrong every time. This Syria thing isn’t our fight. Bringing people to this country where 10% of the people support terrorism and some of them actually sponsor it is reckless, dangerous, and downright deplorable.
If we can save just one life…
Posted on December 17, 2016
I’ve talked extensively on this blog about my constant battle with the demons of war. Even though they are largely managed, they are still there and the fight is still raging on inside my head. After years of training, counseling, and progress, it is much easier to keep the negativity suppressed. Lately, that’s been a bit harder to do. Now, since I know that my critics in the gun control crowd are always choking at the chance to tag something on me, I’m not talking about violent tendencies. I’m talking about creeping depression, feelings of failure, and other areas of anxiety that PTSD tries to drag you down with. This time, I’m specifically talking about anger.
As I sit here at 0130 in the morning – again trying to find sleep in vain – I’ve been thinking a lot about my case. It infuriates me that I still don’t have closure as we move into the 4th year since my unlawful arrest. Tonight (or this morning), I’ve been trying to process my feelings towards government and law enforcement and how those feelings have changed since that fateful day. I find myself in a battle over whether I should feel bad or not about this change of thought. How did I get to a place where I can no longer look at a cop and feel safe; where instead of feelings of pride and patriotism, I feel feelings of loathing and contempt? I try to tell myself that I don’t “hate” cops, but I find it more and more difficult to convince myself that it’s true.
I used to want to be a cop. In Jacksonville, Florida, I was in the Explorer program and used to do a lot of fun things with the police. We used to help direct traffic, assist with parking, and other fun things with the police. Then, when I was in high school, I went to a dual credit school to earn credit towards criminal justice. I went to the Westside Skills Center for half a day and my regular high school – N.B. Forrest High School – the other half. I excelled in that field and loved it. I learned to do plaster casting, finger printing, and other useful investigative techniques. I even placed first in fingerprinting at a state competition. When I was approached to join the Army, I wanted to be an MP, but at the time there was a height requirement – that I didn’t meet.
Even though I wasn’t able to get into the law enforcement field until a few years later, I always held a special respect and reverence for the profession. Even while I was in the Army, I found time to go on ride-alongs with various departments on a weekend here or there in Las Vegas while I was stationed at Ft. Irwin. My time working with them as a kid was always positive. I saw them as the good guys. We helped people with flat tires or pushed their cars a few blocks if they ran out of gas. Either I was only exposed to the positive side, things have changed drastically, or I was incredibly ignorant, but I don’t feel the same way anymore.
I was stationed at Redstone Arsenal when my perception of the good cop was first shaken. It was 2009 and I was embroiled in a heated issue over school uniforms with many other parents at my kids’ middle school. As I walked into a PTA meeting, I noticed that there were five uniformed Huntsville PD officers and three school security guards. That had NEVER happened at a PTA meeting. After an incredibly heated exchange in which I ultimately slammed my hands on the table in objection to the PTA president’s behavior and began to leave, the police officer that had been hovering over me the entire meeting was in my face and forcing me to leave anyway. He trailed me down the hall not a half step behind me barking orders in my ear the whole way. I told him several times calmly to back off of me before I turned around to tell him to his face to back off. At that point, he threw me into the wall. I cocked back my arm about to defend myself when my wife snapped me out of it and implored me to back down. I told the officer to let me go through clenched teeth and he did, so I continued down the hall and out of the school. I filed a complaint against the officer for assault (the school cameras were miraculously down on that hallway that particular night – go figure) and agreed to a sit down with the chief and the officer. I learned that the officers had been lied to about my actions at previous meetings and they were told that I had made several threats and they “feared for their safety.” Based on what they were told, I understood why they had such an aggressive mindset and excused the behavior because they were given false information.
The school issue caused me a lot of trouble in Alabama. It created friction between me and Army leadership, Army leadership and the school, and me and the school. I had already completed my minimum First Sergeant time and worked out a plan to relocate. My command said I could go wherever I wanted and I chose Fort Hood so I could be close to home. It also around this same time that I started getting help for PTSD thanks to encouragement from then-Vice Chief of Staff of the Army General Peter Chiarelli. I came to Ft. Hood for a fresh start and to get my head cleared away from all the drama in Alabama in 2009.
In 2013, my faith in law enforcement was finally shattered. In March of that year, the arrest heard round the world happened when I was charged for refusing to be illegally disarmed. Because I still had a lot of respect for law enforcement, the initial encounter was friendly. I answered his questions and didn’t even get upset when the officer grabbed my rifle to look at it. Even when he tried to disarm me, I tried to calmly and cordially encourage him not to illegally disarm me, but the moment I put my hands on my property to retain possession, the cop pulled his gun to my head, slammed his boot on my foot, and slammed me onto the hood of his patrol car for no reason. As in Alabama, I had done nothing wrong, but found myself being assaulted by a thug with a badge. But, that wasn’t the worst of it.
When his supervisor arrived, he lied to his supervisor. He lied on his police report. The department continually lied to the media. They forced my son to answer questions without an attorney or parent present in spite of him invoking his rights not to answer questions. They lied on the witness stand. They tried to get my son to testify that I was a horrible father or that I WANTED to cause trouble – neither of which he did.
Then, in November of that same year, a bunch of fellow veterans and I went to the capitol in Austin on Veterans Day to protest violations of the rights we had fought to protect as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. There was another Veterans Day event on the south side of the grounds, so we went to the north side so as no to interfere with the other event. Just as we got started, some DPS troopers – about a dozen of them – arrived and began trying to force us to leave. Because we were breaking no laws and had a right to be there, we refused. Several troopers made a b-line right to me and told me to leave. When I asked what authority they had to tell me to leave, I was arrested for “criminal trespassing.” Their ostensible reasoning was because we were armed, but I made clear to them I was carrying a holstered toy gun. Instead of doing the right thing, they arrested me anyway and added the charge of “resisting arrest.”
So, between my arrest in March 2013 and November 2013, there were 23 other “arrests” for lawful carry of a firearm. I saw firsthand what happens when you try to stand up for your rights. I lost a lot of friends – or people I thought were friends – during this ordeal. Much of it was because of my behavior that was due to my decent into a deep depression. I began pushing people away that were close to me. I almost destroyed my marriage. I was hitting rock bottom. I wanted to die. And I tried to.
The events of 2013 opened my eyes. After I was convicted of “interference” – an offense I wasn’t even arrested on – and saw how the criminal “justice” system worked and how far cops will go to cover their own asses instead of doing the right thing, I could no longer believe what I believed for so long. I could no longer see the cops as the “good guys” any longer. I saw them as a threat to my liberty, my safety, and my very life. I realized that they are only “good” as long as it serves them to be so. When it comes down to them or you, they’ll choose them. Now, I’m painting with a broad brush and I know there are some good cops out there (I know a few who are no doubt reading this and they know that I know who they are). But, I have personally witnessed enough bad cops that I can no longer blindly cheer lead for the profession.
This doesn’t mean that I’m a cop hater by any means. I don’t support attacks on law enforcement that aren’t in self defense. I don’t celebrate when cops are killed. I’m not a “cop blocker” of any sort. There is a need for cops in society and I don’t doubt that even though I’m sure some of my friends disagree with me. I will always treat everyone with the same respect they give to me, but whenever a cop approaches me I can’t help but feel like they are looking for a reason to assert their authority over me, teach me a lesson, or throw me in jail for the hell of it.
So, what we have here is a vicious cycle that we need to stop. There is a lot of tension between many in society and the law enforcement community. People complain about groups like Cop Block, Cop Watch, or PINAC, but they never take a moment to wonder why groups like that have even come to exist. We can kind of trace their origin back to the Rodney King beating. Thanks to a “cop watcher” who was filming the beating of Mr. King, police brutality made its way into the public spotlight. People complain that all these other people are putting up videos of bad cop interactions, but they refuse to analyze why those video exist in the first place. The more people film, the more cops get pissed that they’re being filmed and act against it – which causes more reasons to film! If cops always did the right thing, there would be no reason to film them, would there?
I learned firsthand the value of filming every encounter with law enforcement in 2013. I wish I had a video camera with me in 2009 in that school hallway. I now film EVERY encounter I have with a government official, no matter how trivial the matter may be. When I had an issue with the superintendent recently and the cops were called because I refused to return my EMPTY holster to my car during a volleyball game, the superintendent asked to meet with me. However, he wouldn’t let me record the meeting so I refused to meet with him. The only government officials that have a reason to fear being recorded are government officials who have something to hide.
I don’t like that I feel unsafe if I don’t record. I don’t like worse that I feel like I have to film in a way that the video is automatically uploaded somewhere it can’t be deleted because I don’t trust them not to try to erase my footage. I wish I didn’t have to feel that unsafe around cops that I need such protection. It used to be that I could feel safe as long as I was armed, but now I have to have a camera too and that should be unsettling to every freedom-loving human being.
Unfortunately, this is not going to change anytime soon. The law enforcement community largely refuses to look inward for the causes of the growing rift between the servants and the served. They always want to blame someone else for anything bad that happens. They protect each other instead of the people. As they do so, the people get more and more fed up. This causes tension, which causes cops to get more aggressive, which causes more people to get fed up. The escalation continues and we get to a point where cops are being MURDERED at an alarming rate! What is even more disturbing is that there is a growing number of people in society who truly aren’t moved by this. These murders of law enforcement should be unanimously condemned, but more and more people are seeing these events as an effect. They don’t see the cause as just criminal thugs that hate cops, but that cops are bringing this upon themselves.
That is a dangerous line of thought that should really send off warning sirens throughout the law enforcement community. Why are more and more Americans becoming ambivalent towards these targeting of cops? We’re no longer talking about extremists or anarchists here; we’re talking about average people who aren’t as upset as they should be about cops getting shot. In his 5th principle of police work, Sir Robert Peel said that, “To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life” is what all cops should strive to be and do.
Until there is a fundamental attitude shift in the “thin blue line” mindset from “protect our own” to “do what’s right, even to our own detriment” we will continue to see this growing rift. The onus on breaking the cycle is on the law enforcement community. Until the “good cops” start acting like the brave warriors society thinks they are by refusing to back up the “bad apples”, they will continue to all be spoiled in the bunch. There is a fear of doing the right thing and stopping injustice when they see it happening because they don’t want to undermine their fellow officers. What they fail to realize is that if they actually did that, it would do more to gain the trust and confidence of the public than any other single action. Until good cops stop standing idly by and allowing bad cops to harass, assault, arrest or otherwise “teach us a lesson”, the public opinion that Peel was talking about will get worse and worse. They must heed Peel’s charge to “maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”
It’s almost 0300, so if something doesn’t seem right above, let me know in the comments and I’ll explain further or make appropriate edits.
Posted on November 11, 2016
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you so much. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Please — thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)
Secretary McDonald, Mr. Hallinan, distinguished guests and, most of all, our extraordinary veterans and your families: The last time I stood on these hallowed grounds, on Memorial Day, our country came together to honor those who have fought and died for our flag. A few days before, our nation observed Armed Forces Day, honoring all who are serving under that flag at this moment.
And today, on Veterans Day, we honor those who honored our country with its highest form of service: You who once wore the uniform of our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard. We owe you our thanks. We owe you our respect. And we owe you our freedom.
We come together to express our profound gratitude for the sacrifices and contributions you and your family made on the battlefield, at home, and at outposts around the world. But America’s gratitude to our veterans is something always grounded in something greater than what you did on duty. It’s also an appreciation of the example that you continue to set after your service has ended — your example as citizens.
Veterans Day often follows a hard-fought political campaign — an exercise in the free speech and self-government that you fought for. It often lays bare disagreements across our nation. But the American instinct has never been to find isolation in opposite corners. It is to find strength in our common creed, to forge unity from our great diversity, to sustain that strength and unity even when it is hard. And when the election is over, as we search for ways to come together — to reconnect with one another and with the principles that are more enduring than transitory politics — some of our best examples are the men and women we salute on Veterans Day.
It’s the example of young Americans — our 9/11 Generation — who, as first responders ran into smoldering towers, then ran to a recruiting center and signed up to serve.
It’s the example of a military that meets every mission, one united team, all looking out for one another, all getting each other’s backs.
It’s the example of the single-most diverse institution in our country — soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coastguardsmen who represent every corner of our country, every shade of humanity, immigrant and native-born, Christian, Muslim, Jew, and nonbeliever alike, all forged into common service.
It’s the example of veterans — patriots — who, when they take off their fatigues, put back on the camouflage of everyday life in America and become our business partners and bosses, our teachers and our coaches, our first responders, city council members, community leaders, role models — all still serving this country we love with the same sense of duty and with valor.
A few years ago, a middle-school student from Missouri entered an essay contest about why veterans are special. This is what he wrote: “When I think of a veteran, I think of men or women who will be the first to help an elderly lady across the street. I also think of someone who will defend everyone, regardless of their race, age, gender, hair color, or other discriminations.”
After eight years in office, I particularly appreciate that he included hair color. (Laughter.) But that middle-schooler is right. Our veterans are still the first to help; still the first to serve.
They are women like the retired military policewoman from Buffalo who founded an AMVETS post in her community and is now building a safe place for homeless female veterans with children. (Applause.)
They are men like the two veterans from Tennessee — one in his fifties, one in his sixties — who wrote me to say they would happily suit up and ship out if we needed them. “We might be just a little old,” they wrote, “but we will be proud to go and do what we were taught to do.”
Whenever the world makes you cynical; whenever you seek true humility and true selflessness, look to a veteran.
Look to someone like First Lieutenant Irving Lerner. Irving was born in Chicago to Russian Jewish immigrants during World War I. He served as a bombardier in the Army Air Corps, flying dozens of missions toward the end of World War II.
When he returned home, Irving did what a lot of veterans do — he put away his medals, he kept humble about his service, started living a quiet life. One fall day, walking down Sheffield Avenue on Chicago’s North Side, a stranger stopped him. He said, “Thank you for your service” — and he handed him a ticket to see the Cubs play in the World Series. (Applause.) Now, it’s a good thing Irving took that ticket — (laughter) — because it would be a while until his next chance. (Laughter.)
Irving worked hard, managing the warehouse for his brother-in-law’s tire company. He got married — to a sergeant in the Women’s Air Corps, no less. He raised four children — the oldest of whom, Susan, is celebrating her 71st birthday today. And on a June morning many years ago, another one of Irving’s daughters, Carole, called to check in. Her mother answered but was in a rush. “We can’t talk,” she said, “your father is being honored and we’re late.” Carole asked, “Honored for what?” And the answer came: for his heroism in the skies above Normandy exactly 50 years earlier.
You see, Irving’s children never knew that their father flew over those French beachheads on D-Day. He never mentioned it. Now when they call to check in, his children always say, “Thank you for saving the world.” And Irving, sharp as ever at 100 years young, always replies, “Well, I had a little help.” (Laughter.)
Whenever the world makes you cynical, whenever you doubt that courage and goodness and selflessness is possible, stop and look to a veteran. They don’t always go around telling stories of their heroism, so it’s up to us to ask and to listen, to tell those stories for them, and to live in our own lives the values for which they were prepared to give theirs.
It’s up to us to make sure they always get the care that they need. As Bob mentioned, when I announced my candidacy for this office almost a decade ago, I recommitted this generation to that work. And we’ve increased funding for veterans by more than 85 percent. We’ve cut veteran homelessness almost in half. Today, more veterans have access to health care and fewer are unemployed. (Applause.) We helped disabled veterans afford prosthetics. We’re delivering more mental health care services to more veterans than ever before because we know that not all wounds of war are visible.
Together, we began this work. Together, we must continue to keep that sacred trust with our veterans and honor their good work with our own, knowing that our mission is never done. It is still a tragedy that 20 veterans a day take their own lives. We have to get them the help they need. We have to keep solving problems like long wait times at the VA. We have to keep cutting the disability claims backlog. We have to resist any effort to outsource and privatize the health care we owe America’s veterans. (Applause.)
On Veterans Day, we acknowledge, humbly, that we can never serve our veterans in quite the same that they served us. But we can try. We can practice kindness. We can pay it forward. We can volunteer. We can serve. We can respect one another. We can always get each other’s backs.
That is what Veterans Day asks all of us to think about. The person you pass as you walk down the street might not be wearing our nation’s uniform today. But consider for a moment that a year or a decade or a generation ago, he or she might have been one of our fellow citizens who was willing to lay down their life for strangers like us. And we can show how much we love our country by loving our neighbors as ourselves.
May God bless all who served and still do. And may God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
Updated on November 1, 2016
A few years ago, I went through an intensive PTSD treatment program on Fort Hood called the Warrior Combat Stress Reset Program. I wrote about that in a little more detail here. It was an intensive, 3-week long, outpatient program. It was our place of business those three weeks. We had to be evaluated and accepted into the program based on the severity of our PTSD and upon approval from our units. In other words, we really had to be hurting and almost at the end of our ropes to get admitted, but it was a voluntary program. Some people decided they couldn’t meet the requirements to complete the program because it required active participation and dropped out.
When we graduated, our counselors gave us a few way to help us cope with future stressors and also to remember the progress we made through the course. The first one was a gold hat hook that goes on the brim of a hat or placed somewhere prominently where we can see it (unfortunately, I lost the hat mine was on). The second was a set of little star stickers – the kind teachers use to put on a chart in elementary school if you were good or completed your assignments. We were supposed to put the stars in places we frequent, like the bathroom cabinet, refrigerator, wallet, rearview mirror, etc. The idea was that these stars represent bright point in our lives; to cling to them; and remember that our lives are worthwhile. The third was a rock called snowflake obsidian, which I want to talk more in depth about because I think it will help all my readers, not just military veterans.