Wednesday, October 11, 2017

No - Roger Goodell Did Not Tell The NFL Players To Stand

It's being reported and repeated that Trump has won the battle of NFL players kneeling for the national anthem.

Roger Goodell issued a Memo on Monday addressing the issue and many are saying that he caved to the President and that President Trump won. But is that really true?

The most important sentence in the Memo is as follows: “Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem.”

He goes on to talk about why unity is important and that he's going to meet with the owners next week and then meet with the players' association (union) after that and they're going to talk about it and try to find a solution. Goodell did not tell the players they must all stand for the anthem. He didn't even come close.

I think Goodell's Memo was issued to make it look like he's doing something when he's really not. At least not yet.

Some players are pushing back. "I don't think guys are gonna like it," said Gerald McCoy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when asked about the possible reaction from players. "I think it's gonna be an uproar if that is to happen because you're basically taking away a constitutional right to freedom of speech. If guys wanna have a, I guess you would call it a peaceful protest, I don't think it's right to take that away."

Um... hate to tell you this Gerald but if your team or league tells you you can no longer kneel for the national anthem or there will be consequences you still have freedom of speech. You just have to deal with the consequences if you decide to exercise it and kneel anyway. You have a constitutional right to express yourself. But if your employer tells you not to do it on his time and you do it anyway he has the constitutional right to take action against you.

One thing is certain – it's going to get interesting before it goes away. Goodell let it go on too long and now, regardless of what he does, many fans and most of the protesting players are still going to be angry. 

Best part about it? I don't watch anyway.

Monday, October 9, 2017

49ers Player says VP Pence Is Seeking Publicity

San Francisco 49ers' Eric Reid said yesterday that Vice President Mike Pence's decision to leave the game after players on the 49er's team took a knee during the national anthem was a simple publicity stunt by the Vice President.
Imagine that - a man who takes a knee during the national anthem to gain publicity accusing others of publicity stunts.
“I have the upmost respect for the military, for the anthem, for the flag," Reid said. "So I will say that every time ya’ll interview me. This is about systemic oppression that has been rampant in this country for decades on top of decades. And I will continue to say and encourage people to educate themselves of how we got to where are today, because it didn’t happen overnight. And it’s not going to happen overnight to fix these issues, so we’re going to keep talking about it."
What Reid simply fails to understand is that his taking a knee during our national anthem is disrespectful to those in the military who died giving him the right to do it. His taking a knee during the national anthem is nothing more than a publicity stunt by a guy who feels "systemic oppression" even though he is a millionaire and has taken full advantage of the opportunities given him by the United States of America.
Reid said people need to educate themselves of "how we got to where we are today, because it didn't happen overnight." Is he talking about how he and his protesting buddies got to where they are today? None of them is hurting too badly.
Mr. Reid - you say you "have the upmost respect for the military, for the anthem, for the flag." As a veteran and an American I can tell you it doesn't show through your actions. Your actions say you're an overpaid crybaby who uses your fame and success to trash the very country that gave you your opportunities. Not very becoming of you. Actions do speak louder than words.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Emotional Demand For More Gun Control After Las Vegas Shooting

And so it begins – the emotional outcry for “MORE GUN CONTROL!”

An obviously disturbed man (anyone who can randomly murder innocent people unknown to them has to be disturbed – including groups like ISIS) armed with multiple weapons fired rapidly into an outdoor concert crowd from the thirty-second floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, killing more than fifty people and injuring as many as 400 others.

Immediately, before the dead were even counted, people on the left began calling for increased gun control and weapons bans. No details have been made public other than the shooter was white, 64 years old, a resident of Mesquite, Nevada, and had a female, Asian companion who was not, at least according to police, complicit in the shootings. The shooter is dead so the reason(s) for the shooting rampage may never be known.

ISIS has claimed that the shooter was a convert to Islam and he was acting for them. Authorities say at this time there is no evidence to support that claim.

We don't know why this man did what he did. Was he a terrorist? According to authorities – at this point he does not meet the definition and/or requirements to be called a terrorist. Some people are complaining that although he murdered dozens of people, because he's white he won't be labeled a terrorist. Those people are also reacting with their emotions and are perhaps unaware of the definition of terrorism.

The definition of terrorism is “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” Authorities have no idea at this time whether or not the shooter's motives were political or ideological. One report says that his brother claimed he had no real political or religious affiliations. If that is true he does not fit the description or definition of a terrorist.

Let's get back to gun control. AR-15 rifles are outlawed in California yet the San Bernardino shooters managed to illegally get two. Chicago has the most strict gun laws in the country and has the highest rate of gun violence. Washington DC, also with highly stringent gun laws, follows a close second behind Chicago for gun violence. Gun laws do not prevent people from obtaining guns. Gun laws prevent people from obtaining them legally.

Gun laws prevent honest, law-abiding citizens from being able to own firearms to protect themselves, their families and their property. And who is to say that a legal gun owner “doesn't need an AR-15?” Who are they to decide my weapon of choice for home protection?

The weapon used by the Las Vegas shooter, from audio/video recordings of the incident that have been online, indicate the shooter had at least one fully automatic weapon. While automatic weapons are legal in the United States, they're not easily obtained (legally.) One must have a federal background investigation, buy a federal tax stamp and pay a very large sum of money (because of the taxes) for the weapon.

I would venture a guess that the shooter's automatic rifle was either purchased illegally or modified illegally or both. That is speculation only but the cost of legally buying a fully automatic weapon keeps most people out of the market for them.

The Clark County Sheriff said that this type of incident cannot be prevented. I heard a guy on the radio later say that's simply untrue. He said we have the technology, including video cameras in the hotel, that would have shown him making “multiple trips to his room with a large amount of luggage that he would have to have to have so many weapons and large numbers of ammunition in his room.”

The truth is that if he had 10 rifles, as has been stated, and several thousand rounds of ammunition he could have easily concealed them in a duffle bag and a strong suitcase and pushed the luggage cart to his room himself, making only one trip. This guy planned his attack well, for whatever reason.

There are two big questions that need to be answered to get any kind of closure for this incident. 1) Where and how did he get the weapon? And 2) What was his motivation for carrying out the attack?

Unfortunately, with him dead and the family saying they have no idea how it could have happened we may never know the answers. His roommate is being questioned by law enforcement officials. Perhaps she can shed some light on his mental condition.

Ownership of automatic rifles is regulated. Since this is the first incident I know of (in my 60 years of life) in which a fully automatic weapon was used the current controls seem to be working pretty well. It's doubtful that any more regulation will change anything. If the gun was obtained or modified illegally a new law is not going to help. That's just the truth.

The one thing people need to remember is – any gun is only as dangerous as the person holding it.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Why The Flag Protests Are Offensive To Me

As a child I was taught to love and respect my country and my flag. And why not? America has always been one of the greatest, most generous and welcoming country in the world. Sure, we've had our problems. Every society in history has had problems. But we've worked through many of them and made things better.

Slavery and the past treatment of black people in this country is a sad part of our history. It took over 100 years to end the practice of slavery in the United States and it really only happened because Abraham Lincoln wanted to further degrade the South so they'd surrender. Lincoln, while a greataft President, wasn't initially going to end slavery. He only wanted to keep it from spreading to other states.

Fast forward to modern times. The protest by Colin Kaepernick is, according to his own words, about police brutality toward people of color and their “bodies in the street.” It would be a worthwhile cause.... if it was true. Statistics and court rulings don't support it as a wide spread problem. Sure – there have been a few wrongful shootings by police. And those police have, for the most part, been prosecuted.

I'd like to know which cases, which “bodies on the street” Kaepernick is talking about. Michael Brown, perhaps? No wrongdoing by the officer in that case. Eric Garner – who was “killed for selling cigarettes?” Actually, Garner died of a massive heart attack. Police didn't kill him. They only apprehended him.

Perhaps Philando Castile. He was shot in his car after being told not to reach for a weapon that he told the officer he had. Although the officer was indicted (the suspect's gun was in his pocket) he was acquitted of the charge of second degree murder because the jury believed he was in fear for his life. The office was Hispanic, not white.

In 2016, Roland G. Fryer, Jr., an African American professor at Harvard, did a study of police shootings. He concluded that not only were white suspects shot more often than black, but that white and black suspects were armed fairly equally when the shootings occurred.

“It is the most surprising result of my career,” Fryer said in an interview with the New York Times. He hadn’t expected to find such balance.

The point here is that Colin Kaepernick's protest isn't actually based on fact. And the subsequent protests by the other players and coaches are also based on faulty information. Those who are protesting against President Trump are somewhat ridiculous since, like them, Trump is entitled to his own opinion, regardless of how poorly he might express it.

The reason the protests irritate me, as much as I support the players' Constitutional right to do it, is because of my own history. I spent eight years in the United States Air Force. I joined voluntarily in 1977. One of the proudest moments of my life was the first time I stood on the parade field with about 500 other new airmen and saluted the flag as it was being lowered at the end of the work day. I had goose bumps watching that flag come down during the retreat ceremony, knowing I was doing something only a small percentage of Americans will ever do.

For the next eight years I stopped what I was doing and stood at attention any time I heard retreat being played somewhere on the base. It not only was required but it was about showing respect to the flag and our country. That's why most veterans are irritated about the protests during the national anthem. It's because we feel a certain pride when we see the flag and/or hear the national anthem. And that pride is bigger than petty social grievances.

Some people will disagree with me, including some veterans. That's OK. It's their right to disagree.

That flag and that anthem are symbols of the reason the NFL players have a right to protest. That's the ironic part – the idiots don't understand that.

Protesting against the flag or the national anthem is not going to solve the problem that Kaepernick believes is genuine. There are some who say “He's not protesting or disrespecting the flag or the anthem.” But he himself said he was. I have no reason to doubt him.

The NFL is in for some surprises now that they've demonstrated their lack of respect for their fans. I see viewership dropping greatly in the next few weeks. Since I don't watch anyway they haven't lost me. But I know many fans who have said they are done with the NFL – at least for now. Let's see how loss of revenue impacts Roger Goddell's position on this issue.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

What Are They Really Protesting?

I find it interesting that some people are calling Donald Trump a racist for speaking out against the NFL protesters who are sitting or taking a knee (or in one case doing pre-game stretching exercises) during the playing of the national anthem.

Trump said those who protest the national anthem and our flag should be fired from the NFL. It's his personal opinion and it's shared by many Americans. But is it racist?

Today on the radio I heard someone say that because all of the protesters are black that Trump's demand that they be fired is racist. Really? So talking about a subject, such as the protest, in which all of the participants (or most of them) are black, in a negative manner is racist? If the makeup of the group is black that makes any criticism of it by a white person racist? Is there a certain amount of white people required to be in the group before it's not racist?

The whole racism thing is abused constantly. These days, if you're white, you can be labeled a racist simply for that reason – because you're white. It matters not who your friends are, who your family is, where you live. Some misguided people believe that simply having white (or pink) skin makes you inherently racist. How's that for stereotyping?

The San Francisco 49er who started this whole protest thing did it to protest police abuses of black people in this country. He made his reason(s) very clear:

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

All well and good – except he generalizes about what has happened and statistics don't necessarily back him up. Who, exactly, is being oppressed and how? It's certainly not Colin Kaepernick. Part of me cannot help but wonder if Kaepernick wanted out of a contract with the 49ers, thinking he might get a better offer from another team as a free agent. It didn't really work out that well, did it?

Now other players are doing it, they say, based on President Trump's statements about firing those who refuse to stand. I didn't like the way Trump said it. It was rude and vulgar. But he's not the only person in the country to have that sentiment. Personally, I feel it's up to the owners to tell the players to stand out of respect not only for the USA and the fans but for the owners themselves. Those players represent the owners. And if they still refuse to stand they should be considered for a termination of contract.

Kaepernick said when he first did this that he knew his job could be on the line. He said it was “bigger than football.” So why is he whining so much simply because other teams don't think it's bigger than football? They don't want the negative publicity that Kaepernick would bring to the teams. I can't blame them for that.

Just as Trump instantly was labeled a racist when he tossed his name into the ring as a Presidential candidate, the NFL suddenly became a racist organization when the various teams refused to hire Kaepernick. That's interesting considering 70% of the players are African-American. Yep – it's obvious the NFL is prejudiced against black players....

The curious thing about all of this is that according to several reputable news outlets, while the NFL Rule Book doesn't say anything about the national anthem and the players, the NFL Game Operations Manual does address the subject:

“The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem.

“During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”

The NFL apparently is not going to enforce the one about all players being on the sideline for the anthem, since a couple of teams stayed in the locker room until the anthem was over. And the language in the rest of it is “should stand at attention” and “Failure to be on the field by the start of the national anthem “may” result in discipline. Should and may are the two key words here that give the players permission to do what they want and give the NFL a way out of taking action against them. It's that simple.

People in this country who disagree with the venue of these protests are not wrong. They are patriots who are offended by Americans who are disrespectful to the very symbols of our Republic. Our country is not perfect. Bad things happen all the time. But I can't help but wonder if Kaepernick's complaints about the “bodies in the street” and people “getting away with murder” include the hundreds of black men murdered in the streets of Chicago by other black men?

My guess is that he's not even thinking of them.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Some Thoughts On Disrespecting the National Anthem...

When you intentionally remain seated or take a knee during the playing of our national anthem you're not making a statement for your cause. You're telling patriotic Americans “I don't care about you.”

There will be some who disagree with me about this and that's OK. This is America and you have the right to disagree with me. You even have the right to kneel on the ground when the national anthem is played if that's what you wish to do. But if you do it – you're wrong. You're ignorantly protesting against the very flag, anthem and country that gives you the right to do it. And you're spitting in the faces of those who have sacrificed their very lives so that you maintain that right.

When I observe millionaire athletes kneeling on the ground during our national anthem to express their views of how America treats people of color I don't know whether to laugh, cry or simply shake my head at their ignorance. Think about it... people of color who are millionaires because of this great country lashing out at America for its “oppression of people of color.”

What, exactly, is that oppression? Is it police shootings of black people? If one looks at each individual case, very few cases involved innocent black men being shot for no reason. Sure, there were some. And guess what? The officers were prosecuted. If the prosecutors fail to prove their case whose fault is that? OJ was acquitted too. Does that mean he was innocent? Nope. It means the prosecutors failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Black Lives Matter movement adopted the “Hands Up – Don't Shoot” mantra as their slogan. That mantra was a complete falsehood. And yet its' still out there.

Colin Kaepernick started a movement that has all but taken over the NFL who, in turn, is losing fans and viewership in droves. Roger Gooddell is going to find out soon that when he allows high paid athletes to bring their political views to the field American patriots won't put up with it. Their viewership is dropping and they refuse to acknowledge the reason. The reason is simple patriotism.

What many Americans don't understand about the football players' kneeling during the national anthem is that the players are disrespecting their fans. They're basically saying "We can do whatever we want, right or wrong, because you're going to watch us anyway." And in many cases they are correct.

I spent 8 years in the United States Air Force and 22 years as a federal law enforcement officer. I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, twice. Neither of those oaths have an expiration date. I still support and defend our Constitution. And if you disrespect our country – the country that gave you the opportunity to be who you are today, then as far as I'm concerned you are a domestic enemy.

You don't have to worry about me coming after you. You have the Constitution protecting you from your stupidity. But I won't watch you. I won't spend a dime on professional football, basketball or baseball that puts money in your pockets. As far as I'm concerned you who decide to take a knee are enemy combatants. You are on the other side. And you don't deserve to have the careers you have. Or in Kaepernick's case.... the career you had.

Monday, September 18, 2017

An Open Letter To Celebrities Who Promised To Leave The Country....

Dear celebrities who said you'd leave the country if Donald Trump won the Presidency....

You know who you are. But just in case, let me name names:

Chelsea Handler, Neve Campbell, Barry Diller, Lena Dunham, Keegan Michael-Key, Chloe Sevigny, Eddie Griffin, Amber Rose, Samuel L. Jackson, George Lopez, Barbara Streisand, Raven Simone, Whoopie Goldberg, Omari Hardwick, Miley Cyrus, Rosie O'Donnell, Amy Schumer....

You all said you would leave the country if Donald Trump became President. Well... it's been 8 months since Mr. Trump was sworn in as President and you're all still here. So what happened? Why have you not left?

It seems to me that perhaps you just enjoy the wealth and notoriety that the United States has not only given you but continues to give you. Face it – you like the fame and fortune that you would have to give up in another country. Perhaps not the fortune but the fame.

Other celebrities have moved to other countries and seem to be doing OK. Johnny Depp lives in France most of the time but still makes movies. Your hero pervert, Roman Polanski, also lives in France but still makes movies. So it's still possible to live somewhere else but still make movies and stay wealthy. So what's your problem?

Can I assume (I know that's dangerous but geez...) that like your careers, the things you say in anger and/or frustration are just make believe? It's an easy assumption to make given the fact that you were so vocal about leaving but you didn't.

I'm sure some of you have this self-gratifying notion that you will “stay here and fight against Trump and make a difference.” But your voices really aren't heard by the majority of thinking people. We understand that you're nothing but hot air and make believe (just like Cher saying she is going to take in Dreamers to protect them.) What you say and what you do are two different things. And Americans know that.

Want to make an impression on people? Quit your jobs, sell your fancy homes and cars, fire your servants and move to another country. I know a lot of people who would be willing to help you pack and get ready.

As much as you might not believe it – we don't need you here. There are thousands of aspiring actors and actresses out there who would take your place in a minute. So do the country and them a big favor and live up to your promises. We'll all be better off. Maybe you will as well.