Saturday, September 22, 2007
You've probably seen the video and heard the late night talk show hosts laugh and quote "Don't tase me bro..." but there is something verry disturbing about this.
Andrew Meyes who is a journo student at University of Florida was forcibly removed from the question stand after asking John Kerry too many questions. Force escalated when he pulled away from the Campus police who were attempting to remove him and it ultimately led to him being dragged to the rear of the auditorium and was taken to the ground by several cops who began to zip-cuff him. It was here that he was tasered.
Now over the years I've done some man-handling of men and on some occasions women. Here was difference between those situations and this. There was a viable threat against my principal or myself, or someone else. I NEVER removed or put my hands on anyone who was running off at the mouth. I did try and talk reasonable to them, and as corny as this sounds got one of the best pieces of advice I would ever employ from Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse. "Be nice". It may sound completely soft, and limp but here is the thing, it is also completely disarming in 80% of the situations. I never said that I wasn't ready for something to go down or go bad, nor that I was not firm in my request or apologetic about what I was doing I simply asked a question in a gentler tone.
It works in most cases because when you make an approach your adversary expects you to try and bully them, so they don't want to lose face and nobody likes to be pushed around. Being nice will get you far.
In the Andrew Meyer situation everything was wrong. Instead of saying to him that everyone is allowed a certain amount of time, they cut the mike off and the cops moved in. They put their hands on him to move him from the rear and blindside. Meyer had just finished when hands are put on him.
This is a very serious situation on a constitutional level that occurred on an American University of all places, where free speech is taught as a corner stone of America.
This is the hall marks of moving towards a Police State.
And where was John Kerry in all of this. The man who wanted to be the leader of the Free World should have looked to the police and requested (he had no actual authority to do anything granted) that they immediately remove their hands from this man, and it would have been a great place to go on the necessity of protecting free speech. What Kerry says instead after mumbling in a weakish manner about answering his questions is "Well I guess he won't be swearing me in up here as President" ???
While everyone is very much obsessing over unimportant issues like O.J. So called "small" issues like this are showing the turning of the tide. The Universities are always a good meter to measure against how society is going. And as a man was being assaulted and his constitutional rights clearly being violated America has laughed at it.
In a post 9/11 world our borders are still wide open to illegal persons who can in some parts obtain a drivers license and hundreds of thousands of them can protest that they have rights to be here and work illegally. And no one moves in to arrest them. Mean while private citizens bent on doing the right thing of protecting our borders both armed and unarmed are criticized and called "extremist". Homeland Security has issued warnings of school buses being used in an Islamic funded terrorist attack, presumable in the Northwest, and very few even know about it. The leader of Iran himself, a known terrorist and state sponsor of terrorism, has been asked to speak to students at an American University, all the while an over zealous journalist student is being tasered and escorted out in handcuffs.
We the People have a very reasonable, inalienable and lawfully expected right to ask questions both publicly and privately, aggressively or passively no matter who agrees or disagrees with the position one has taken. That my fellow Americans is free speech, plain and simple!
Friday, July 20, 2007
So its July 20th, 2007 here in the Mid-West and normally the weather is something to the effect of 175 degrees with 225% humidity and everyone is generally willing to offer virginal sacrifices to the air conditioner gods to keep the appeased, yet every summer we are seeing milder and milder summers here in this part of the country. Sure we still get those stupid hot days, but something is changing.
As of this writing (around noon non the less) the Temp is 75 degrees and we have been experiencing something of Monsoons in the late afternoons a couple times a week and nice enjoyable days....in July.....in St. Louis.
Global warming is being blamed or at least man is for causing global warming. Well I think we bear some burdens but not all of it. Here is just a thought for all you atheistic evolutionaries to ponder.
The ice caps are a result of meteor impacts that caused something to the effect of a nuclear winter over the earth (read: ice age). Areas that were once comparable to African Savannas year round (Montana) were blanketed by ice and snow and glaciers. So the ice age wasn't exactly something that was supposed to occur naturally in an earth context. Eventually the ice melted over some period of time and the land got itself back in sync. Then we show up and eventually screw the pooch. Or are we completely, I mean we definitely pollute that undebateable.
If the polar caps weren't natural and occurred from galactic pollution and they are still melting then isn't the earth actually returning to what is once was? Maybe we need to realize that in the 21st century that as a society we are completely removed from a daily life amongst the natural land and maybe just maybe we don't have all the answers like we think we do. I seriously doubt that people who drive Priuses and live in urban areas can tell me jack shit about what really goes on in the wilds as a whole...not that they won't try...as they drink water out of the plastic one use bottle that came from petroleum that was drilled out of the earth from several thousand miles away and shipped over an already environmentally troubled ocean, along with those non bio degradable shoes (leather is bio degradable by the way...see circle of life concept).
Everyone talks about the massive droughts in the Southwest and Los Angles areas (umm its the desert) and massive floods every where else and how man has caused all this. Droughts have been going on since before we all were born, by something like since the beginning. It can not rain extensively in one area to the effect of flooding and not cause a drought in another (See Newton's 3rd law of physics it pretty much applies). Our water is the same water that was drunk by earliest man, dinosaurs, Genghis Khan, Caesar, George Washington, to yours truly.
Maybe the reason the earth is shaped in a near perfect circle is because cycles work better that way (hmmm circle-cycle seems to be some connection there), and maybe we all need to stop, look and listen to the natural world instead of trying to talk it to death.
Or here is a really crazy thought. Perhaps there is actually a higher power, an honest Supreme Being who created all this and might have a better handle on things than we all realize.
So if a mid afternoon in July is clear skies and 75 degrees is the result of Global Warming I'm gonna go rejoice and roll around in the nearest land fill then pick up my AK and go Whale Hunting.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
In the coming days you are going to here more and more about what drove Cho Seung-Hui, a 23 year old senior of the Virginia Tech English Department to commit mass murder. And placing blame is going to come along side it, some of it not necessarily wrong, but little of it right.
The sad fact is that while nothing could ever justify an evil act such as this, it will more than likely have to do with a girl, teacher, grades or an uncertain future. At least that will be the speculated reasons.
Regardless of what you hear in the next several days and weeks remember this. Ultimately there is no one else to blame but Cho Seung-Hui himself. He made the choice to murder and take innocent life by stalking and killing. And I think he liked it. What? You may ask. There are some people in this world who enjoy killing just for the sake of killing. I think in the wake of the two hours after the initial dorm murders were committed he decided that he actually enjoyed the murdering of people.
He got a power charge or a hard on or whatever. You can not tell me that he didn't shoot almost forty people and not enjoy it. He did.
Maybe the campus administrators should have shut down the campus as soon as they found out of the two dead. I certainly think so. It's called problem containment. But there is another unseen blame here. No one student or professor was capable or willing to stop him. Virginia has a carry conceal law, but it prohibits the carrying of firearms on campus. This law certainly didn't seem to stop Cho Seung-Hui from carrying out his attack. One or two students armed with a pistol in a messenger bag or under a t-shirt could have neatly perforated his head. But there is something else missing. Bravery. Grown an able bodied men cowered behind doors, desks, tables and chairs when they should have been doing something. The very same guys who are so brave playing their Special Forces video games in the dorms, or watching 24 and thinking how much they would like to be Jack Bauer (I like guy tv too). All the danger, none of the risk.
The cowardice to do nothing in yesterday's attack was just as evil as the murder committed by Hui. One student or instructor armed could have saved lives. One (or seven) well placed stab wounds from a folding knife from a sneak attack on Hui could have saved lives. A fire extinguisher sprayed and emptied and then applied to his head could have saved lives. We can not sit an condemn the French for surrendering or cowardice when we are raising our men in the same manner.
While this is no doubt a dark moment and spot in American history, and it is easy to point out that Hui was able to get access to handguns, let me refresh your memory to September 1, 2004, the Beslan School Hostage crisis. Doesn't ring any bells? Probably not. It happened in the Russian town of Beslan. A group of Muslim pro-Chechen rebels took 1200 teachers and student hostage. Russia isn't exactly known for its easy access to firearms. On day three gunfire erupted and resulted in the deaths of 344 civilians of whom 186 were children. You don't kill 186 elementary aged school children and not enjoy it.
Life isn't getting more violent, history shows us this. But the fact of the matter is that one day we are going to wake up and find that a suicide bomber walked into an American bookstore, coffee shop, mall and blew himself up, and that will be the start of it. And explosives are highly controlled and regulated in the U.S. so there won't be the standard excuses of blaming everyone else for the actions of those who commit evil.
There is in the end only one solution to problems such as this. Courage. Or more appropriately Courage Under Fire. If you are encountering someone who is trying to kill you and those around you the only reasonable thing to do is to kill them before they can continue. This responsibility falls on the men of society just as it always has, and not on waiting for the police to rescue you.
The amazing thing is that through repeated situations like this the world over, I still get asked "Why do you carry a gun?"
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
"Three Yale University students, one a U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, were arrested on charges of setting fire to an American flag hanging outside a home.Said Hyder Akbar, 23, Nikolaos Angelopoulos, 19, and Farhad Anklesaria, also 19, were arrested early Tuesday on charges ranging from reckless endangerment to arson, police said."
I'm not an overly emotional guy, in the sense of crying. So when yesterday I read that three guys from Yale University had been arrested for burning the flag one might immediately think I was mad, which is true, but really more so I was heart broken. Truly sincerely heart broken, that kind of pain you feel when you miss someone you love or when a tragedy hits that had nothing to do with you and yours but it leaves you marked with sadness. I fully realize that it's not a big deal to the media or sadly enough to the American Idol viewing public and in a few days we'll hear no more about it. I could go on a tirade about how I firmly believe that if you burn the flag and someone assaults you for it, that it is also freedom of expression. Or that by burning the flag I believe you renounce your American Citizenship and should be deported. But I've decided to go another way instead. I came across something from my old Boy Scout Manual about the flag, it reads:
The National Flag represents the living country and is considered to be a living thing emblematic of the respect and pride we have for our nation. Our flag is a precious possession. Display it proudly. There are certain fundamental rules of Heraldy which if understood, generally indicate the proper method of displaying the flag. The right arm, which is the sword arm and the point of danger, is the place of honor. Hence, the union of the flag is the place of honor or the honor point. The National Emblem is a symbol of our great country, our heritage and our place in the world. We owe reverence and respect to our flag. It represents the highest ideals of individual liberty, justice and opportunity for all.
The longest undisputed and undefended border between two countries in the world is between The United States of America and Canada. You will find no heavily armed military service personal sitting atop tanks and humvee's on either side waiting for one to make a move. What you will find is Old Glory flying next to the Maple Leaf. You will also find her flying atop of institutions of learning, or in the halls of justice, but you will also find her often enough welcoming home the average man or woman from work or the child from school as it is sometimes found firmly anchored to the front porch. She's been to the moon and draped over our dead, she represents not the government but her people.
In 1831 a sea captain named William Driver was given a beautiful flag as a birthday present by family and friends where he quickly named her "Old Glory". She flew at sea for the next six years until he retired from life on the water, and took "Old Glory" with him to Nashville, Tennessee. On days of Patriotism he flew the flag loud and proud, but when the South seceded in 1861 Driver was afraid she would be confiscated by confederate troops so he hid the flag having sewn it inside of a comforter. On February 25, 1862 the Union army reclaimed Nashville and Driver removed her from her hiding place and went to the state capital and hoisted up the flagpole where he remained all night keeping watch armed and prepared to defend her and see that she came to no harm. Shortly before his death in 1886 he gave the flag to his daughter to keep. It would travel with her to Nevada and California where it was displayed from time to time. Then in the early 1900s the flag was badly deteriorating so she had it sewn to a bed sheet in order to stabilize it. It remained a family heirloom until 1922 when it was sent to the Smithsonian Institute and carefully preserved. It and the flag which flew over Fort McHenry during the British bombardment of 1814, inspiring Francis Scott Key to write the The Star-Spangled Banner to the tune of a British drinking song "To Anacreon in Heaven". Both of the flags are considered the two most historically significant in the country and two of the greatest treasures of the Smithsonian.
All of this begs the questions. What is gained by setting her on fire? Who sides with you? Whose hearts do you really win and do you really want them? If this is being progressive you can keep it, you're no friend of mine and I wouldn't care to have you sit at my table and break bread with my family. All my words are wasted though as Key said it best when he penned:
O say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Though we are well into the 21st century and modern society is quick to forget such occurences as the attacks of 9/11, we are also quick to forget sometimes the very nature of America long before the highways, the vast sea of homes that are built in mere weeks and hi-speed internet.
Much has been celebrated the last few years with books and PBS specials of Lewis & Clark's Corp or Discovery, though there has always been one tarnish on the legacy. Lewis' death in 1809. Long speculated that he committed suicide by shooting himself twice (once in the chest and once in the head)after being in a dark state of depression, though many remain convinced that he was murdered. I like to think the later.
Men of Lewis and Clark's ilk have gone the way of the Dodo and it is doubtful we will ever see their kind again. Throughout the Corp of Discovery's journey they endured numerous hard ships and dangerous country where men and beast saught to kill them on a regular basis, and of the forty-two members only one man died.Sergeant Charles Floyd, whose appendix ruptured. Given that is was 1804 the good Sergeant would have died any where. So of all things read over the years I think Thomas Jefferson summed it up best in his writing about Meriwether Lewis several years after his death.
"Of courage undaunted, possessing a firmness and perseverance of purpose which nothing but impossibilities could divert from its direction, ... honest, disinterested, liberal, of sound understanding and a fidelity to truth so scrupulous that whatever he should report would be as certain as if seen by ourselves, with all these qualifications as if selected and implanted by nature in one body for this express purpose, I could have no hesitation in confiding the enterprise to him."
Friday, March 16, 2007
Now failure happens and rules get broken, no doubt. But a man should have his own rules in life that should be followed by him. Why? See rule #25 for the answer.
- Love God.
- Always have a knife.
- Don't put your hands on anyone, require the same from everyone else.
- Don't allow yourself to be wronged or insulted.
- Everyone lies.
- Watch the hands, hands kill.
- If it's not yours don't take it.
- Pockets are to be used to assist you in life.
- All guns are loaded.
- It is better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.
- Keep your word.
- Keep an eye on the door.
- Have a plan.
- Never apologize if you aren't wrong or for doing the job right.
- Don't mess with the coffee.
- It is better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you are not.
- Have a second plan
- Have a way to make fire.
- Never bother a Holyman unneccessarily.
- Don't bother the driver, he is driving.
- If you aren't willing to lead, don't bitch about being led.
- Cigars are acceptable. Cigarrettes are not.
- Make love to your wife atleast once a week. A loved wife is a happy wife.
- Make it home.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Though she's been an incredibly easy target for the media and late night talk show hosts the last several weeks, there is something truly heart breaking yet, I hope, redemptive and most of all telling in Britney's lack of locks.
Perhaps the saddest of all things is how society immediately re-classifies her as now being "unstable" because she cut her own hair off, to the point that when she went into the Salon the stylist refused to do it. Maybe the refusal seems smart, but there was a very much missed premise there. Britney Spears, the multi-million dollar, pop princess was not free to make her own choice about her image. Had she, when pregnant decided to have an abortion claiming it was holding her back from the life she wanted, she would have been hailed by feminist the world over for living her life her way and not being held to societies standard. Cut your own hair off and you need rehab, or is it re-education.
Stick with me here.
I'm not saying she's not in some sort of trouble with chemical dependency and that she doesn't need help. However when photographed by the paparazzi spreading her legs in a car sans panties it was lewd, but somewhat acceptable in the back of the worlds mind, as if to say "well of course a pop star going clubbing wouldn't wear anything, she's a sex icon in some respect". By showing the world her last bit of privacy, the world could own her and exploit her. Ironically enough if you've seen the photos you would have noticed that the following shots are of Paris Hilton reaching over from the drivers seat and closing her legs for her. Paris Hilton of all people who has gratuitously flashed herself to the world on more than one occasion, and grinned while doing it saw it for what it was. Wrong. Wrong to be taken advantage of just because the opprotunity was there.If she herself was so comfortable with flaunting the female body, why take charge to covering Britney.
I'm coming to my bigger point here. Whether she realized it or not the perceived cry out for help by shaving her head, wasn't necessarily about drugs, but about a need to be reborn and to start again. And some times in order to start over you have to go through fire. Malachi 3:3 says this "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver". Silver in its raw form is full of impurities and in order to be made pure a silversmith must hold the silver over fire to burn off anything that isn't silver.
What Britney is finding out is that all the money, the fame, the attention has in fact left her not empty but wandering and searching. Searching for something that is unmovable, and unconditional. Britney Spears is looking for something to make her whole, she is looking for a Savior, she is earnestly and unknowingly looking for Christ. Roll your eyes is you want, but it is more than true. She has repeatedly tried to live up and for the standard of a fallen world only to find that it changes with each passing moment. Keep a wholesome appearance and she lacks "sex appeal" and only twelve year old girls will buy records, get implants go clubbing, make out with Madonna, do some drugs, and your and icon and a sex goddess....for a while. What you were doing that was "cool, crazy, and sexy" two years ago will read in the headlines as "Britney's in trouble.....all night partying, drugs, leads to breakdown". That's funny ten minutes (read: six months) ago it was a good time.
People, minds, perceptions they all change, and with that so do man made standards and truths. God however does not, He is in fact the only constant in this life.
I part with this:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable are you than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?" Luke 12:22-26
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
The truth was in the rumor. Mississippi nights was closing, and last Friday night it was finally put down like a faithful dog that the family just couldn't find a use for anymore. I didn't go, there was no reason to, because the memory is far sweeter than any last ditch effort to create for ten dollars could.
The sad fact is that it is one more nail in the coffin for the music scene in St. Louis.
The Rocket Bar left us some time ago and will always live fondly in my head, though wearing your Tevas was apparently an inferior second when there is a guy dressed as Sgt. Pepper (don't ask if you don't know the story).
The Galaxy went the way of the Dodo some time ago after the Rocket Bar. For me Galaxy will forever remain as my favorite experience with The Bottle Rockets. Growing frustrated with the club's poor quality sound equipment lead singer Brian Henneman finally gave up with a clear "F*** it!" threw down the mike stand unplugged his Pevy and with band mates in tow left the stage and stormed out the back into the alley. I wonder if they will ever remember the three guys who went with them.
Then when no was looking someone did a drive by on us all when Frederick's Music Lounge quietly departed. This place was maybe the most unique of all in having the distinct appearance of looking like a bar in the basement of a house, or maybe it was because it was a bar in the basement of a house. The stage that had to be no bigger than a saltine cracker but for $5-$8 you could see Diesel Island, Hydacol, Oat Soda (whatever happened to them) squeeze in and play. "Buy my book!"
Then my heart break happened last fall. The Hi-Pointe closed. Where PBR was expected, girls had tats and pig tails, a pair of corporate khakis were forbidden and there was always some old guy who probably never knew he was at Wood Stock sitting at the bar that everyone talked to and showed respect to just because it was proper to do so. The best bachelor party ever was thrown there, Brian Henneman's Christmas show reminded you that you had survived the year somewhat intact.
Now Mississippi Nights has walked the green mile. Though I saw a few bands there two nights in particular stand out. When the Wife and I were still dating, I took her and her closest confederate down the river of frozen springs in July and after nights of sleeping in the back of the old Cherokee, floating at least 3 or 4 hundred miles in two days we shot back to town, hitched a ride on the Metro and saw Nickel Creek. There I learned it was indeed possible to sleep standing up in front of a live band.
But the best concert experience I ever had was May 9th, 2003. Dwight Yokam came to 914 N. 1st street and played.At the time I was broke, I mean the real kind of broke, but Bahr not wanting Meers and I or himself to miss the experience took tax refund money and showed up at the old 6041 Waterman Roost with three tickets. Life had changed for me a lot between 2002 and 2003 as God took me to some uncomfortable places and made me reevaluate my decision making paradigms, but He also gave me a gift through a friend's good grace that I'm not sure can be repaid.
Dwight played the way you would want him to. Hat low and guitar held high, talking to the crowd in the Kentucky/Backersfield drawl swiggin a beer. Then when the band left the stage he stayed with just a guitar and a stool and played unplugged for a good forty-five minutes. Why the three of us never thought to make a boot leg will forever escape me.
Friday nights are different lately, when we do get to head out to hear some little band its left to Cicero's or the Duck room, and we leave the Courtesy Diner at 1am instead of arriving.
My heart breaks for some north county white guy in his early twenties who is beginning to see the music world outside of Best Buy and the Pageant for there are no good dives left.
All the frontiers are closing and we ain't the better for it.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
For instance the predominate sign on doors in St. Louis County Government buildings have a large semi-automatic pistol in black posted. Everytime I walk into those doors I think "hmmm no full size Beretta 92 or 96 pistols, or Taurus pt-99/100s". If you go into your neighbor hood Dobbs Tire & Auto center they don't want you carrying a Colt Detective Special snub nose revolver. Does this mean that my Smith & Wesson 442 snub nose is okay?
In Shrewsbury the local community center has a sign that reads "NO FIREARMS" though I can tell you in their heart of hearts they mean to say No Concealed Weapons. The difference, well according to Missouri Law if you hold a concealed weapon license you could very honestly carry a two bit axe with a sawed off handle under your coat inside and be legal. Why because the sign specifically prohibits firearms. When I see those signs there is a group of cheereleaders in my head going "beee specific...be be specific".
But I digress, the most jack-assinine thing about these signs is that they do nothing. Aside from the court house no one backs these signs up with metal detectors. Why because it is bad for commerce and public relations. If you notice sometime Commerce Banks have "No Guns" signs hanging up on their doors. This is to make the local anti-gun crowd feel good. If you walk into a US Bank you won't see one, nor will you in Blockbuster Video as opposed to some local owned video shops. Why? Nation wide companies have dealt with the CCW thing for the last ten + years and they have come to the conclustion that, 1- they alienate some consumers who protest their business and are law abiding gun toters. B-(yes I know I said 1) the guns are umm concealed and you don't know whose got them, so its rather pointless.
Never mind the fact there has yet to be a case in the United States of America where a person who had a carry concealed license walked out of the Sherriffs office with the newly printed card, got in the car and drove to the bank and held it up.
Its that whole good guy/bad guy thing.
Oh yeah so what exactly happens should you be sitting in that nice italian restaurant with the NO GUNS! sign at the door and you are packing your 200 round high capacity semi-auto revolver mega blaster and it slips down your pant leg and clatters onto the floor for the entire world to see.
According to MO law they can do nothing more than ask you to leave. Refusing leads to law enforcement to issue you a ticket. You still refuse well then you get a nice pair of matching nickel bracelets (and you should).
If only someone would have thought to put a NO PLANE IN BUILDING signs on the door of the World Trade Center. Maybe if there had been federal law requirements that the back of a boarding pass read "by entering this aircraft I agree not to hijack this plane" 9/11 never would have happened.
It's a bad world out there kids and if you look like food you will be eaten.
I'm often reminded of Kevin Costner's character John Dunbar in Dances with Wolves when I come here. In both the book and the movie,...