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.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Lee And Freed Slave Statue Removed From Dallas Park

Yesterday in Dallas a statue was removed from public view by the Mayor and City Council. The statue, which depicts Robert E. Lee and, according to the artist, a freed slave riding horses "into a new and free United States of America," was dedicated in 1936 by none other than President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of the Texas Centennial celebration.

The statue was removed under armed police escort. The City Council, in their infinite wisdom, voted to remove the statue. The Mayor initially delayed the removal until a study could be done to see if Dallas residents really wanted it gone. 

"It's easy to jump on the bandwagon and say 'tear it down' because it's frankly politically correct and in many ways it makes us all feel good. I feel that way," Mayor Mike Rawlings said. "But I hesitate because I realize the city of Dallas is better, is stronger when we are united and not divided. My goal as mayor, my job as mayor, is to continue to unite our city."

He changed his mind a little while later citing the violence in Charlottesville as the reason. Apparently he didn't think the city of Dallas is better after all.

Once the decision was made the removal was delayed a couple more times. A representative of the Sons of the Confederacy filed a lawsuit claiming First Amendment rights were being violated. A federal judge temporarily stayed the removal until the case could be heard. (The city also brought a crane to the site that was too small to adequately lift the statue.)

Once that case was heard (judgement for the city) a second, larger crane was commissioned. On its way to the site it was hit by an 18 wheeler that ran a red light. Delay number 3.

The statue was finally removed yesterday. At least the removal didn't take place under cover of darkness as has happened in other cities across the nation. The statue will be stored on some property owned by the city until a decision is made as to what exactly to do with it. One of Robert E. Lee's direct descendants has offered to purchase it but has yet to hear back from the city.

It's a shame that such a marvelous piece of art will no longer be seen by the public. The former slave headed toward freedom wasn't enough to keep the city from removing it. I wonder where he'll end up now?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

An Interesting Fact About Kneeling

For the last nine months or so, America has been watching the destruction of a somewhat successful football career slowly coming apart.

Colin Kaepernick, the moderately talented former quarterback for the San Francisco Forty-Niners, saw his career disintegrate when he chose to make a political statement before each game by kneeling on the ground or sitting down during the national anthem.

Kaepernick made his intent public. "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," he said. America took notice.

The Forty-Niners owner and the NFL decided to stay silent about Kaepernick's actions citing First Amendment rights. That didn't go over well with football fans. The NFL saw a large drop in viewership when nothing was done about it.

Players on other teams decided to do the same thing in support of Kaepernick. Black activists nationwide protested because Kaepernick didn't get signed by another team after losing his position with the Forty-Niners. They called it "racism" even though 70% of NFL players are black. The truth is that Kaepernick is toxic to any team that signs him because he disrespects all Americans, and especially our military veterans, by kneeling during our national anthem.

For some reason I was compelled to look up the actual definition of the word "kneel" this morning. I was surprised by what I learned.
Kneel (nēl/verb): be in or assume a position in which the body is supported by a knee or the knees, as when praying or showing submission.

"As when praying or showing submission." I found that interesting. Certainly Kaepernick meant his gesture to be disrespectful to the flag and the national anthem but I wonder if he knew that by kneeling he was actually showing submission, according to the definition of the word.

Somehow I doubt it.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hurricane Irma And The Power Of Prayer

There are those who say that prayer is a waste of time and energy. I personally know that not to be true but believers today have evidence of it from events over the weekend.

Hurricane Irma was the “strongest storm ever recorded” when it was a category 5 hurricane in the mid to Western Atlantic. Maximum sustained wind speeds were up to 185 miles per hour. That's the same as an EF-4 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale and is fully capable of wiping out entire communities. It was a full 10 miles per hour stronger than Andrew, and we know what Andrew did to South Florida.

Irma was initially predicted to go through the Straight of Florida, bypassing Cuba and Florida both, and head into the Gulf of Mexico, where it would have feasted and grown on the warm water. If that had happened it could have hit New Orleans or Houston, or both considering its size, and wreaked havoc in already suffering areas.

Then the track changed and it was supposed to hit Miami head on as at least a category 4 storm. According to the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale the damage from a category 4 hurricane can be can severe damage to well-built framed homes with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

After the scare in Miami and surrounding areas, Irma's track changed again and bypassed Puerto Rico and skirted the edge of Cuba just enough to slow it down. It came across the Straight of Florida and hit Marco Island as a category 3 storm, still powerful but with much less punch than if it had been a 4 or 5. Rather than stay mostly over the Gulf, as was originally predicted, it spun itself out over the mainland, minimizing further damage to mostly downed trees and flooding.

Why did I mention prayer? Our church prayed by the hundreds for God to turn the storm (we asked for it to go back to the mid Atlantic) and to spare the people in its path from harm. God didn't do exactly as we asked. He answers prayers in His own way. But the two worst case scenarios – Houston or a direct hit on Miami as a category 4 storm, failed to materialize. Did God have a hand in this? While we can never say for sure, those of us who believe in the power of prayer and who believe in the Almighty God certainly think so. So many lives could have been lost. So few were, considering what could have happened.

Irma had the potential to devastate entire cities. With the exception of a few Caribbean Islands, Irma didn't really do a lot of serious damage.

I, for one, thank God for sparing so many people from devastation. Could He have calmed the storm and spared everyone from harm, wind damage, flood damage, and the aftermath? Certainly He could have. But as I've said before, God rarely intervenes in the affairs of men. Sometimes, however, He intervenes in the ways of nature. After all... He controls the heavens and the Earth.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Removing History Before Our Eyes

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings (no relation to Stephanie "Give Them Room to Destroy" Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore) was reluctant to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from Lee Park in uptown Dallas. He decided to form a task force to see what the people wanted and the impact that it would have.

But the City Council complained, telling Rawlings the statue needed to come down immediately. Rawlings conceded to the pressure and ordered it removed, citizen opinion irrelevant.

Today a crew went out to remove the statue. They did not measure it, apparently, because they arrived on site with a crane that was too small to do the job. In the meantime, the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed an injunction to delay the removal so they can present a case for leaving the statue in place, citing First Amendment rights. (Personally, I think that's a poor argument.) That injunction was granted. The statue must remain until a court hearing on the issue has convened.

The statue is now under police supervision until the hearing. Sadly, that's probably necessary.

The mayor defended the removal before the task force got to do what they needed to do. “Removing the statue was my first inclination after Charlottesville,” Rawlings said. “It wasn’t my first instinct before. My point of view changed.”

The mayor also said “This is the beginning of the dismantling of the white supremacy that has plagued this city for years.” That's an interesting statement considering there are no real problems with white supremacy in Dallas, unless you call a white majority supremacy. There have been no white protests about the statue and no Neo-Nazis marching in the streets. There was, however, a Black Lives Matter and Antifa rally a couple of weeks ago during which they threatened the police and said they would kill anyone who disagreed with them. But that was allowed by the Mayor.

And it was just over a year ago when Black Lives Matter held a march in Dallas and one of their members murdered five police officers. What did you think of that, Mayor Rawlings? Were you on the BLM side...?

The interesting part of all this is the statue itself. There are two riders on the statue - Robert E. Lee, the defeated Confederate General who rejoined the union army, and a freed slave (according to the artist himself) who is riding with General Lee into the new United States that is once again whole and in which slavery has been abolished.

Should not a statue like that remain? If they remove General Lee, one of the North and South's best generals, then the statue of the freed slave is riding into the new United States of America alone. Would it not have more impact if he was riding side by side with a defeated Confederate general? It's common sense to anyone who is not viewing this entire problem with emotion.

The statue of General Lee should remain in place. It makes sense. I have stated before that removal of these statues should be left up to the people in the communities where they are. Hold a special vote and allow the people to decide. If the majority says remove the statues I'm good with that. If the majority says the statues should stay then the minority should not overrule the majority. But at least give the people their voice in the matter. That's what our Constitutional Republic is about... the people.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Newest Problem: Less Visas Mean Better Pay For American Workers

The irony is deep.

According to, President Trump's strict cap on work visas forced American companies to hire American workers for seasonal jobs rather than foreign workers. This caused companies such as landscapers, the hospitality industry and seafood processing, among others, to pay higher wages than they would have paid foreign workers. That's a good thing, right? Democrats and the left in general have been screaming for an increased minimum wage.

This seems to be a win win situation. Except the left is upset that the visa cap is in place and there are less foreign workers employed by American companies. It doesn't seem to matter that Americans are making more money in this case. Their concern is for non-citizens.

Verifying what Republicans and conservatives have been saying all along about raising the minimum wage substantially, the businesses are complaining that paying higher wages is going to eventually cost jobs and reduce company profits. What a concept that is, huh?

And now the left is upset that businesses are having to make cuts and lose money. Can you say hypocrite?

The President has condemned some U.S. programs that allow foreign workers to take American jobs. “Widespread abuse in our immigration system is allowing American workers of all backgrounds to be replaced by workers brought in from other countries to fill the same job for sometimes less pay,” he has told American workers. He has not specifically targeted seasonal workers, the H-2B program. His own companies use H-2B workers, particularly at Mar a Lago. But his Executive Order signed in April let everyone know his intent to tighten restrictions on the number of foreign workers entering the country.

There were a total of 81,000 work visas granted this year. The number was at 66,000 initially but the Department of Homeland Security added 15,000 in July. Unfortunately for some businesses, the summer season was half over by then. Not all of those 15,000 have been used.

Some businesses recruited college students, both American and foreign, to work for them and set up part-time schedules to keep costs down. Others have had to lower production and/or cut hours to make ends meet.

What's the moral of the story? There will never be a time when everyone is happy. You can't demand higher wages for Americans then turn around and complain when someone is actually doing that but in a way you don't particularly like. Putting Americans to work should be the priority of all American companies. And it should be the priority of all American politicians.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Comparing Antifa To World War II Veterans....

I hope people take the time to read this and don't simply respond to the title.

There has been a meme floating around the internet for the last few days of several World War II veterans with the caption that says something about how they fought against Nazis just like Antifa is fighting against Nazis.

The meme, created to be clever, was offensive to myself and many of my fellow veterans because the comparison was not even in the realm of reality. Without criticizing anyone who shared it or found it believable, I'd like to shed a little light on the real Nazis versus the wannabe Nazis in this country.

Hitler's Nazi Party began in 1919 following the end of World War I. Hitler was a member from the beginning and due to his charismatic speaking abilities he became the leader in 1921. Throughout the 1920s Hitler grew the party and in 1929, when Germany's economy tanked once again, he and his party began winning elections. By 1933 Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany.

He immediately began building his military and opened Dachau, the first of many concentration camps in which were placed Jews, artists, intellectuals, Gypsies, the physically and mentally handicapped and homosexuals. Ethnic cleansing had begun.

The Nazis began rounding up Jews, killing many, confining others to ghettos where many died of disease and starvation, and putting others in concentration camps – using some for abhorrent medical experimentation.

From 1936 to 1939, Hitler retook the German Rhineland (taken by the treaty), and annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia (by force.)

Ignoring warnings from Great Britain and France, Hitler invaded Poland in 1939. This event began World War II.

Hitler continued to kill and imprison Jews in every country he invaded. When he invaded the Soviet Union, Nazi death squads machine gunned tens of thousands of Jews to death. All told the Nazis would exterminate over six million Jews during World War II.

By contrast, the American Nazi Party is a very small minority of racists. Their numbers nationwide might be in the thousands but in a nation with a population of 320 million they don't carry much weight. American Nazis pretty much hate anyone who is not white (although their website says they will gladly accept monetary donations from “non-Aryans” who want to contribute. What good guys, huh?)

They march in various places and try to spread their hatred in an effort to get more white people interested in their cause. Unfortunately for them, the overwhelming majority of Americans aren't interested in their brand of hatred so they are mostly ignored except on parade day.

And Antifa is fighting against them. Big deal.

World War II veterans voluntarily put on the uniform of the United States' armed services and went to Europe to defend freedom and to fight against an evil force that was systematically taking over Europe and exterminating Jews. They also went to the Pacific to fight against the Japanese emperor and his military that had launched a surprise attack on Hawaii and killed thousands of Americans.

Antifa, who likes to pretend they are boldly facing down Nazis and fascists in these United States, also wears a uniform of sorts. They dress in black for their demonstrations. They also cover their faces so they can't be identified and they carry weapons such as baseball bats, sticks, boards with nails driven into one end, rocks, bottles, tear gas and anything else they can assault people with. I've seen one carrying an ax and another making an improvised flame thrower with a spray paint can.

Antifa's stated goal of fighting against Nazis, neoNazis, racism, homophobes, Islamophobes, etc., sounds noble but their methods are more fascist than anyone they oppose. They say they “want to make America ungovernable" and their method is violence. Really? Do they have any idea what that would actually do to the nation and her people?

World War II veterans fought against an evil empire that was taking over Europe and murdering millions of people.

Antifa is fighting against their fellow American citizens in an effort to oppress the First Amendment rights of anyone with whom they disagree. They want to destroy the government of the United States. They are a terrorist group if ever there was one.

To pretend that the two groups are one in the same is not only ridiculous but an insult to the brave men who fought in World War II. And by being so it is an insult to all veterans.

I can't help but wonder how many Antifa members and followers are veterans. I would bet not many.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

More Statues To Be Removed? Where Does It End?

John Breckinridge Castleman is an unfamiliar name to most. I certainly didn't know the name when it was brought to my attention this morning.

John Castleman was a soldier from Lexington, Kentucky. He studied law at Transylvania University in Lexington before joining the Army of the Confederacy when the Civil War broke out. He achieved the rank of Major during the war. Castleman was arrested in Missouri for attempting to destroy supply boats and was sentenced to death. He was pardoned by Abraham Lincoln.

Following the war Castleman was exiled from the United States and spent time in France studying medicine. He was pardoned by then President Andrew Johnson and returned to Kentucky in 1866 where he revived his old army unit and commanded the new First Kentucky Volunteers unit, fighting for the United States of America in the Spanish-American war. He was promoted to Colonel during that time.

Castleman was part of the invasion of Puerto Rico and after the war ended he was promoted to Brigadier General. He served as one of the military governors in Puerto Rico before returning to Kentucky, where he became the Adjutant General of Kentucky and served 25 years as the Commissioner of the Board of Parks.

John Breckenridge Castleman is becoming more well known in Kentucky these days, particularly in the citiy of Louisville. Activists in Louisville want a statue of Castleman on public to be removed because he fought for the South.

Apparently returning to the United States after exile and serving these great United States in the Spanish-American war isn't enough to forgive Castleman's transgression of being a Confederate for a few years. In my book his service to the United States should outweigh his service to the Confederacy. He put himself in harm's way for the United States.

Some Americans in 2017 can't find it in their hearts to care about his service to the United States. The Castleman statue in Louisville was vandalized over the weekend and activists are demanding it be removed.

In Lexington, Kentucky, there is a statue of John Castleman's distant cousin, John Cabell Breckenridge, who was the 14th and youngest Vice President of the United States from 1857 to 1861, when the Civil War began. He encouraged his fellow Southern politicians to maintain the union but when that failed to happen he went home to Kentucky to fight for the Confederacy.

Following the war Breckenridge had to flee the country. He returned to Kentucky after President Andrew Johnson granted amnesty to all Confederate soldiers. Yes, he was a Confederate. But removing his statue from it's current resting place is not going to change history.

The assault on historic monuments continues. In Durham, North Carolina yesterday citizens pulled down a bronze statue of a Confederate soldier and destroyed it. The bronze statue became misshapen on impact with the ground and the protesters began kicking it. (Watching them kick it was actually rather humorous. I would bet more than a couple of them are limping today.)

The statue was entitled “Remembering The Boys Who Wore Gray.” It wasn't an officer. It was a foot soldier put there in memory of all of America's Southern sons who were lost in the war. Now it's trash and I hope the people responsible for destroying it face criminal charges. It wasn't their place to destroy it.

Barack Obama promised to “fundamentally change America.” And in many ways he kept his promise. The entitlement generation who believe they have an absolute right not to be offended by anyone or anything is mostly a product of the last 8 years.

Safe spaces, hot chocolate, coloring books and puppies for college kids heartbroken over the election might comfort them today but it's not going to teach them how to survive in the real world. Ripping down statues because you don't like them is stupid. And I would bet very few of them know anything about the Civil War. I doubt they teach the truth about it anymore.

I'm curious and a little frightened to see where all of this ends. Who knows how far people are willing to go to correct their perceived wrong...?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Confederate Statues... Let The People Decide

Here is my idea for a solution to the removal of Confederate statues from public view in these United States. This will be short.
Rather than a mayor, a governor, a city council or whoever making the decision to remove a statue, why not put it to the people of the community for a vote? Remove or not remove; let the majority rule. Ensure all voters are legal residents of the community (I know, I know.... that's racist and hateful) so outsiders do not get a voice. We saw in Charlottesville what happens when outsiders crash the party.
A simple vote. If the majority of the citizens say leave the statues alone then leave the statues alone. If the majority says they want the statues gone - so be it. I'd be fine with that because it's fair to all.
Richmond, Virginia, was the capitol of the Confederate States of America. Accordingly, there are four statues of famous Confederate leaders on what is called Monument Avenue. The statues include Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, Robert E. Lee, commanding General of the Confederate Army, General Andrew "Stonewall" Jackson, and General J.E.B. Stuart. These men were a huge part of the Confederacy and having their statues in Richmond is fitting and proper in my book. They were an integral part of the history of Richmond and the South.
There are people talking now who want to remove these statues. Where does it end?
History should not be removed from public view simply because some people don't like that history. The saying "Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it" doesn't quite apply in this case. I'm pretty sure we won't have to worry about the slavery of black Americans returning to the United States. (Sex slavery seems to be alive and well, however.) But let the people decide the issue.
We live in a Constitutional Republic rather than a Democracy. That means that our rights are protected by the Constitution and cannot be taken away by a majority, as is the case in a Democracy. But this issue could be settled by a majority vote. Let common sense prevail rather than emotion. Decisions made on emotion don't always work out well. Let the people decide.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

White Nationalist vs BLM... Are They The Same?

I have been thinking about what I was going to say about white nationalist rally today in Charlottesville, Virginia. They wanted to call their final event "Unite the Right" but I can tell you that their version of the right is a far cry from mine. My version of the right doesn't hate people for their political views, their lifestyle, their race or skin color, their religion, or any of the other things that cause people to hate each other. We may disagree with you on things but hatred is not involved, regardless of what some may say.
Those marching in the white nationalist parade (if that's what it was) were showing their ignorance and hatred of people of color. That's just a fact. They're the first to decry the Black Lives Matter movement yet their marches are no different, except BLM often spews hatred of police as well as disdain for whites in general.
Now one person is dead and a couple dozen more are injured and we don't know which side caused it. Was it the white nationalists - many of whom showed up in camouflage carrying their AR-15s, as if that somehow made them impressive? Or was it a member of Antifa - the far left radical group that shows up to attack people in packs then runs away?
It's amazing to me that in 2017, civil discourse is worse than it was in the 60s. Hatred abounds in these United States and at least part of it began with the prior administration's failure to properly address hatred, racism and the consequences of each. Being the first African-American President, Barack Obama was the perfect person in the perfect position to address these issues and bring people together. I believe that's one of the reasons so many white Americans voted for him. They believed he could do what no other President could do for race relations. He failed miserably.
Instead of being the Great Uniter, President Obama began his first term by dividing Americans over an incident involving someone he knew, saying that even though he didn't have all the facts of the Professor Gates incident, "the police acted stupidly." It was absolutely the wrong thing to say.
He tried to make up for it with the infamous "beer summit" at the White House but the first blow had been struck. The Trayvon Martin incident didn't help him much after he said "If I had a son he would look like Trayvon." Once again he didn't have all the facts but waded into the controversy anyway. George Zimmerman, stupid as he was, was found not guilty of murder because he was defending himself - even after Attorney General Eric Holder opened a hot line for people to call and give him any information that might incriminate Zimmerman.
Fast forward to Ferguson, Missouri, where President Obama sent Holder with a group of FBI agents to find a reason to prosecute Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown. As it turned out, Brown more than earned his fate after physically assaulting Officer Wilson and trying to take his gun, then charging him in a last ditch effort to subdue him. Brown died because he assaulted a police officer. President Obama not only sent Holder but sent a three person delegation to his funeral - even though Brown was proved to be the aggressor and responsible for his own demise.
Things like this divided the country along racial lines. President Obama, the one who could have changed everything for the better, changed them for the worse because of his statements and actions. He even met with the Black Lives Matter organizers and encouraged them. And take a look at where we are today.
As much as I dislike the white nationalist movement, or the "Alt Right," as it has been tagged, is it any different than the Black Lives Matter movement? Both are extremist groups that breed hatred. And thanks to our Constitution, both have the same right to march publicly in support of their cause. So why is there a group of angry, masked and armed people opposing the white nationalists but noticeably absent from the BLM marches?
With all of the BLM activity in the last couple of years is it surprising that a white nationalist group would want to march publicly? They have done it in the past and they always get resistance but this time the resistance went a bit overboard.
I'm reading this morning that the people injured by the driver yesterday were left-wing counter protesters. So the guy behind the wheel was apparently one of the white nationalists, or at least empathised with them. This is speculation only at this point; nothing official has been publicized.
Hate filled protests solve nothing. They don't encourage positive dialogue but instead promote more hatred and division - regardless of which side you're on.
The purpose of the march yesterday is said to have been a protest of the proposed removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee from a park in Charlottesville. And while I disagree with the racist hatred demonstrated by most white nationalist groups, I do agree that removing historic monuments from public view is not only wrong but ridiculous. Regardless of what some may say - statues do not hurt anyone. Removing them from public view is pandering to the minority. But that's what we do in the United States. We make sure the various minorities are appeased instead of telling them to suck it up and act like educated adults.
I hope that the end of the Obama administration will bring healing to this nation - that we can move beyond the division and unite again as Americans. Unfortunately, I don't believe that's going to happen because of the rabid hatred that the left (and many on the right) has for the new President. Donald Trump may not be the best person to lead this nation right now. Or perhaps he is. Either way, he is the President right now and he is getting things done despite opposition from the left and right. Time will tell.
One thing is certain... we still live in historic times. Barack Obama was a historic first - the first African-American President. Donald Trump is a first as well - the first outsider elected President. Being an outsider draws worse resistance than being black. But that's because it's the left that is resisting. Progressives are more prone to violent protests than those on the right. Don't believe me? Take a good look at the protests of Obama's Presidency vs the protests of Trump's Presidency. It's not hard to figure out.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Can The NFL Dictate Law To States?

It seems that everyday life offers a lot of controversial topics for me to write about. This one is no different. The root of the topic is one of the most controversial things in the United States today. And the suggested solution, to me, is ridiculous.

I heard an advertisement on a local radio station about the “bathroom bill” working its way through the legislature. The woman speaking says (paraphrasing) “The NFL is bringing this year's draft to Dallas. Dallas also wants to host Super Bowls in the future. But if the bathroom bill is signed into law the NFL will pull the draft from Dallas and we'll never get to host another Super Bowl. Everyone needs to call their representatives and tell them to vote no on this bill, which doesn't keep anyone safer, and ensure that the NFL continues to do business here in Dallas.”

The advertisement is sponsored by some group of businesses.

So we have an advertisement that basically says the NFL will boycott Dallas if they don't like a particular law here in Texas, the same as they threatened to do in North Carolina over their bathroom bill. The governor of North Carolina backed off under pressure. Greg Abbott is not one to back off.

The woman says the bill “doesn't make anyone safer.” I would disagree with that. The bill says requires that people use public restroom facilities that coincide with their anatomy. If they have male genitalia they use the men's room. If they have female genitalia they use the ladies' room. Pretty simple and straight forward. It keeps some man from going into the ladies' room just because he says he identifies as a woman. In my humble opinion that keeps my granddaughter from having some male pervert in the bathroom with her one day in the future.

And here's the clincher... if you're a man and you dress like a woman and live as a woman and you go into the ladies' room and act like a woman no one is going to come and check your anatomy. It's likely no one will care. But if you're a man and you dress like a man and live like a man and go into the ladies' room saying you identify as a woman people are going to be suspicious and probably frightened. And rightly so. (Standing up to pee in the ladies' room would be a big giveaway...)

I have a difficult time believing that if one lives his life as a male for years before deciding he really should be a female he is suddenly uncomfortable in the men's room. Unhappy, perhaps – but uncomfortable? I doubt it.

My point to all of this is simple. Are we here in Texas going to allow the NFL to tell us what laws we can and cannot have? The NFL is supposed to be about entertainment, not politics. Personally I don't care one way or the other if the NFL boycotts Texas because of a law with which they disagree. I don't watch football anyway. But even if I did I wouldn't change my mind on a political issue or social issue because of what the NFL thinks or does.

I can't help but wonder what the NFL will do about the Dallas Cowboys if the bill is signed into law. Will they forbid other NFL teams from coming to Texas to play? Will they pressure the Cowboys' owner to move to another state if they want to continue as an NFL team? And if the owner refuses will they simply kick the Cowboys to the curb and dismiss them from the league? I don't think that will happen but it will be interesting to see what happens if the bill becomes law.

The NFL should stay out of politics, period. They need to stick to what they do best... entertain their fans and make mega bucks. And if the Cowboys want to leave Texas because the NFL is coercing them over a Texas law so be it. I won't miss them at all.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Truth About "The New Colossus"

What is The New Colossus, you wonder? It's a poem on a plaque that is mounted inside the base of the Statue of Liberty. But those words on the infamous plaque:

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shores -
Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door,”

were not an original part of the Statue of Liberty and were put there as an afterthought because they seemed to fit in with the idea of liberty for all. The poem wasn't written as an inscription for the statue. It was written and donated to an auction of arts and literature to raise money to build a base for the statue.

When France decided to give us the statue in 1886 it was only a statue. The agreement was that America would choose where to put it and build a base for it. Donations weren't going well and Joseph Pulitzer led the drive to raise money for the base.

Emma Lazarus wrote “The New Colossus” and donated it to the cause. Her donation was solicited by one of the fund raising chairmen. She initially refused but another writer convinced her to try.

Her poem was the first one read at the “Art Loan Fund Exhibition in Aid of the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund for the Statue of Liberty” on November 2, 1883, the day the Exhibition opened. It played no further role in the mounting of the statue on the base and was not a part of the dedication ceremony in 1886.

In 1901, a friend of Lazarus who thought the poem and Lazarus should both be immortalized succeeded in getting her poem mounted inside the base of the statue on a bronze plaque in 1903. The poem began to take on the meaning of welcoming immigrants as time went by.

Journalist and historian John T. Cunningham wrote "The Statue of Liberty was not conceived and sculpted as a symbol of immigration, but it quickly became so as immigrant ships passed under the torch and the shining face, heading toward Ellis Island. However, it was Lazarus's poem that permanently stamped on Miss Liberty the role of unofficial greeter of incoming immigrants."

So while the last part of the poem is a perfect narrative for immigration, that was not its original purpose and has only become so as the country progressed.

As for the words:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shores -
Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door...”

the United States has lived up to those words for two centuries – sometimes to the detriment of the country.

My last comment will irritate some and please others.

President Trump's proposal for immigration reform is common sense. There is nothing wrong with controlling immigration, limiting numbers of immigrants, vetting each one that comes here and ensuring they will be able to support themselves once they arrive. There is nothing wrong with insuring that immigrants will benefit our country instead of being a drain on our society. Other countries do it.

We've got enough huddled masses, wretched refuse and homeless. We don't need to be importing more.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Three Most Misused Words For 2017

There are three words in the English language that I would like to see removed from conversation, at least here in the United States. If removal is not possible, people should be required to use them in proper context or not at all. Those three words? Homophobic, Islamophobic, and xenophobic.

People toss the words around when trying to make a point against someone who has issues with homosexuality, Islam and/or immigrants. They don't realize that in nine out of ten instances they are likely using the wrong verbiage. Or perhaps they know and use it anyway.

Webster's Dictionary defines a phobia as “an exaggerated, usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation.”

Other dictionaries define it as an irrational fear. So let's put the definitions in context with the words above.

Disagreeing that homosexuality is a “normal lifestyle” or an acceptable practice, in most cases, does not involve fear of homosexuals. Most people who object to it can very clearly state their reasons why they object so it's not inexplicable. Neither is that objection exaggerated unless that person takes extreme action against the LGBT community. I don't really know anyone who has a fear of homosexuals. So the word homophobic is not accurate to describe someone who disagrees with the lifestyle.

Islamophobic is a word that has gained popularity since 9/11. And it is also substantially misused in today's society. Most people who speak out against Islam do not speak out in fear. They speak out in anger at the Islamic terrorists who are wreaking havoc all over the world. And since there is no foolproof way to properly vet Muslims entering the country as tourists and immigrants, to ensure they are not connected with a terrorist organization, they want to limit immigration of Muslims until such time a proper vetting can be accomplished. That's sound immigration management.

Is it fear and, if so, is it inexplicable?

I'd say if it's fear of a growing terrorist threat here in the United States it's certainly not inexplicable. Terrorism carried out by Muslims is real. A look back at Orlando and San Bernardino proves that very easily. So a fear of terrorism by Muslims here I the United States is not irrational – unless you lock yourself in a bunker and refuse to come out because of that fear.

The bottom line is that most people who label someone as Islamophobic are doing so incorrectly.

Xenophobia is defined as “intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries.”

This word is hurled at people who disapprove of illegal immigration or who support the travel ban issued by President Trump. That's because those who use the word are projecting their own beliefs onto those they label.

In the United States of America we have immigration laws. Within those laws are wording that forbids people from crossing our borders illegally and sneaking into our country. There is nothing irrational about wanting those laws enforced and wanting people to enter our country legally. To believe otherwise is ridiculous.

Many say our immigration policy is broken. I submit that the main thing broken about it is enforcement. If law enforcement and politicians would join together to ensure our immigration laws were enforced we wouldn't have eleven or twelve million (estimated) people in the country illegally.

Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to several million illegal aliens in 1986 with a promise from Congress that they would take action to secure our borders. Congress agreed... but apparently had their fingers crossed behind their backs. Illegal entry into the country has only increased since then with the worst incident happening in 2014, when unaccompanied children from Central and South America flooded over our Southern border.

President Obama pretended that he had “deported more illegal immigrants than any other President.” Except that wasn't quite true. Obama manipulated the numbers by counting those turned around at the border as deported – even though they hadn't actually entered the country.

Being a supporter of legal immigration does not make one xenophobic any more than opposing Islamic terrorism and supporting proper vetting makes one Islamophobic. And disagreeing with the LGBT community based on sound logic and yes, even science, does not make one homophobic.

If you're one of those who likes to use these labels please think about what you're saying and whether or not you're using the word(s) correctly. When anti-Trump fanatics go on a diatribe about him they put all these labels on him, along with misogynist, racist and sexist. It gets old.

Words are important. Misusing them to attack someone doesn't make the attacker look intelligent. The misuse of the words makes them look ignorant.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

I Don't Have All The Facts But...

The shooting of the Australian woman in Minneapolis last week and the aftermath of hate that has been posted on the internet has me wondering what happened to the Christian America we are supposed to be.

I'm going to irritate some people with my opinion today but that's OK. It won't be the first or the last time.

The police officer in question is a legal immigrant from Somalia. He is also a Muslim. But while there has been no evidence made public that shows Islam was the reason for the shooting, it's all some right-wing web pages and right-wing citizens are talking about. Some have called for him to be executed for the shooting of Justine Damond without knowing all of the facts of the case.

I had a conversation with one such person on Friday. He said the officer, Mohamed Noor, should be shot for his actions. I asked him what evidence he had that would support Noor's execution. He said “I have all the evidence I need.”

Article after article since the shooting describes the “Somali Muslim police officer shooting the white woman in her pajamas.” For me that description, while accurate, is prejudicial against the officer whose statement has not even been released yet.

Did his nationality have anything to do with the shooting? How about his skin color? Were his Islamic beliefs the cause of it?

See, that's the problem. We don't know. He is exercising his 5th Amendment right to silence (thanks to our Constitution) and apparently hasn't made any statements to authorities about why he shot Ms. Damond. Should we deny his 5th Amendment rights? After all, he's from Somalia...

The hatred I've seen spewed on the internet in the last week for this man is appalling. If Mohamed Noor was a white, native born American people on the right would be saying “Let's wait for the evidence. The shooting could have been justified.” Yet because he's a Muslim who immigrated from Somalia he has been pronounced guilty without a trial; even without evidence.

I remember in July of 2009, just a day after Professor Henry Gates was arrested by the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police, President Obama went on national television and said “I don't have all the facts but the police acted stupidly.” Republicans and conservatives across the nation went crazy, saying (accurately) that it was inappropriate for the President to form an opinion of the Cambridge police without “all the facts.”

But that's exactly what is going on in the Noor/Damond case. People are jumping to conclusions about Noor's guilt, motive, even his feelings about living in the United States without having all of the facts.

The only thing we know for sure is that Ms. Damond was unarmed, Noor pulled the trigger, and Ms. Damond died. So far there is no official explanation of why the trigger was pulled – only the rants of hate filled people who believe that Noor's nationality and/or religious beliefs are the reason and that's all they need to convict.

What happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? That's the scary part about all of this. Because Noor is a Somali immigrant and a Muslim people are over anxious to dismiss his constitutional rights and the legal process we so greatly cherish in this nation and pronounce him guilty.

Before someone gets the wrong idea – I'm not saying in any way that Noor's actions were justified. I'm not saying they were not justified. I'm saying we simply don't know yet and the hatred being professed by some of my fellow Americans for this man is astounding given the fact that they have no idea why the shooting took place. It's scary and sad at the same time.

Everyone has the right and deserves due process in this country. Yet so many are willing to simply deny it so Mohamed Noor because of who he is.

So who do I blame for the reaction to this shooting? Islam. The worldwide terrorism carried out in the name of Islam combined with the great lack of denouncement of said terrorism by the majority of Muslims who do not take part in it but remain silent about it are the reasons that many Americans are hostile when it comes to Islam. Right or wrong it is understandable to a point.

I don't know if Noor's Muslim beliefs had anything to do with the shooting of Ms. Damond. I know many people believe that to be the case. And if it turns out to be true then Noor should face several charges, including murder and a hate crime. But please people... wait for the evidence.

I've been told that I need to shut up and allow people to have their own opinion on this issue. I'm not sure why because I haven't told anyone they can't have their own opinion. All I've said is that we don't have any evidence to prove anything right now. And that's a fact. So if that's taken as me telling someone not to have an opinion on it perhaps that person should re-evaluate their opinion based on the facts they actually have.

This is only my opinion. I could be wrong.