Saturday, April 29, 2006

Guns Also Stop Violence

When looking for ideas about which to blog, I often find the Metro section in the Sacramento Bee to be a gold mine. I came across something in today's Metro section that instantly stood out because I couldn't believe the leftward tilting Bee actually printed it.

At the bottom of page B1, was an article entitled Eight are honored for selfless actions. The article was about an awards ceremony put on by the city for citizens who had done heroic deeds. The first deed that was profiled went like this:

In the early morning of November 21, freelance news cameraman Paul Thomas Ennis, 54, was driving down Freeport Boulevard to film the aftermath of a shooting. He never made it. Instead he put himself at risk and in doing so joined the ranks of area residents recognized Friday as heroes. Flashing lights of a Sacramento police squad car at a Union 76 gas station at Fruitridge Road grabbed his attention that morning. Ennis could see what looked like an officer struggling with a man. Possible story, he though. Ennis got out of his car, video camera on his shoulder. But suddenly, the officer was on the ground, the man seated on him. Ennis put down his camera, yelled and leveled a licensed gun he carried. Startled, the man put his hands up, and Officer Stephen Moore, 26, gained control... The man, identified as Ricky Williams, 40, faces felony charges of resisting arrest, battery of a peace officer, and driving while under the influence. (my emphasis)

I was astounded that the Bee highlighted this incident. Usually, the media buries defensive uses of firearms as deeply as they can, but this one must have floated under the radar. It has been estimated that guns are used for defensive purposes somewhere between 200,000 and 2 million times a year. Why such a discrepancy? For one thing, defensive uses usually involve no shots being fired, and no police report being filed. That makes it pretty hard to track; unlike offensive uses of guns which usually are reported, even if shots are not fired.

There have been several famous incidents of defensive gun use, and several instances where guns should have been available.

On October 1, 1997 in Pearl, Mississippi, student Luke Woodham killed his mother, then went to his high school and began shooting. When the shooting ended, two students were dead, and seven were injured. What the media rarely told us was how the shooting ended. When the shooting started, a vice principal ran to his car in the school parking lot, took out a gun he had stored in there, and pointed it at Woodham as the deranged student shooter was reloading. Had the VP not done this, Woodham would have reloaded and continued shooting.

In January 2002, a student who had flunked out of Appalachian School of Law in Virginia went to his campus and began shooting, killing three people and wounding three more. Again, as he stopped to reload, he was stopped from committing further violence by two students who had retrieved their own guns from their cars. A CNN story said that the shooter was "grabbed and subdued" by some other students. Golly Gee, how exactly did they "subdue" him if he was armed? CNN left that little part out of the story, now didn't they?

My final scenario is one where there wasn't anyone who shot back, but if they had, the incident could have been stopped like the two above. On December 7, 1993, Colin Ferguson, a deranged black man who decided to go kill some white people because of what he described at his trial as "Black Rage", began shooting passengers on a Long Island commuter train. When it was over, six passengers were dead, and nineteen were wounded. Witnesses said that Ferguson calmly walked down the aisle of the train cars, carefully picking his white targets and methodically shooting them. If some of these passengers had been armed, they could have easily taken him out, as he stopped to reload several times. Of course, you don't have to wait for a shooter to stop to reload. If people are being killed anyway, someone should have engaged Ferguson immediately. Unfortunately, this was the state of New York we are talking about, so naturally, these people were not armed. Instead, they were sitting ducks. The same goes for George Hennard, who in 1991, killed 23 people inside a Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas. One customer, Susanna Gratia Huff watched both her parents die as she rued the fact that her gun was inside her car instead of on her person, due to Texas laws that said she couldn't carry the gun.

Time and again, these violent incidents occur, and of course the knee-jerk reaction is to want to get rid of the guns. I'm sorry folks, but that is not going to happen. You could ban the production of guns tomorrow, but guns last for decades and even centuries. The hundreds of millions of guns that already exist will not just go away. The best thing we can do is allow law abiding citizens to carry guns for self-protection, as is their God-given right to do so. I have a God-given right to defend myself and my family, and I refuse to give up that right, even if it makes people uncomfortable because I am carrying a gun.

Good Day to You, Sir

There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

That is a very famous quote that illustrates one of the constant rules of life. Even if you think it is free, someone somewhere is paying for it; and that includes our freedom. This brings me to another famous quote, which I had trouble verifying if it came from George Orwell or Rudyard Kipling:

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

I have always loved this quote because it points out the absurdity of these nitwits who demonstrate with their little signs that declare WAR IS NEVER THE ANSWER, and VISUALIZE WORLD PEACE. The only reason that these people can live in their little fantasy world is because we have a military and other "rough men" who are willing to lay their lives on the line to protect the right of these street-theater morons to go out there and bash our country.

I bring all of this up because I came across a poem via Michelle Malkin's blog and the Mudville Gazette that was inspired by the "rough men" quote by Orwell/Kipling. The poem was written by one Russ Vaughn, who served with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. Hear now the word of truth:

Rough men

There's a character trait that's decided by fate
Comes (sadly) to many, far too faint, far too late.
They won't face the aggressor, stand up to his ire
They have not the will to fight his fire with fire.
So they bend over backwards to see all sides as fair,
Till they're faced with dragon breath fire in their hair.
Like our brethren in France, who'd know better than we,
Yet seem never to learn, seem doomed never to see.

Yes, it seems there are some who're determined by fate,
To possess not the courage to step up to the plate,
Who shrink from all threat because nothing's worth war.
But how can they know lest they've been there before?
Thank God some have courage, the will, yes, the grace,
To stand for the shirkers, stand strong in their place.
Thank God we have stalwarts who'll stand for us all,
Who will rise to the challenge at their nation's call.

The faint-hearted, who fear, whose reaction is flight,
Have no comprehension of those who will fight.
To hide their own trepidation they attempt to demean
The rough men, who defend them, as barbaric, obscene.
Yet these rough men stand ready, hard weapons to hand,
To put placaters behind them, draw a line in the sand,
To preserve for the peaceniks what they won't defend,
So their own unearned freedom won't perish, won't end.

To appeasers, rough men are coarse government tools.
To rough men, appeasers are dumb delusional fools.

I think of this poem as I read about the recent successful intimidation tactics employed by college students at places like UC Santa Cruz and a community college in Seattle in order to kick military recruiters off campus, or the people who get in a tizzy about the "horrible" treatment about detainees at Guantanamo, yet have nothing to say about the gulag that is Castro's Cuba which takes up the rest of the island.

I spent 12 years in the U.S. Army and National Guard. During my time of service, one of the things for which I was most proud was knowing that I was one of these "rough men" who was voluntarily protecting our country.

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, April 28, 2006

Hmm, May Day... How Appropriate

Well, I am back to blogging in a limited capacity. It has been a week since my daughter was born, and during that time, we have gotten the sleeping arrangements solidified, and I must say, she is a really good sleeper. Two years ago, our son turned my wife and me into honorary zombies.

So, with the sleep issue well under control, I can comment on the issues that I feel need my comments. Today, let's touch on this ridiculous mass protest scheduled for Monday. A couple things:

  1. I notice that it will be held on May Day. I remember as a kid in the 1980s watching the news every year on May 1st as they featured the obligatory piece on the May Day parades in the Soviet Union and other communist countries around the world. May Day is very important to socialists and communists around the world, and make no mistake about it - this big push for the legalization of illegal aliens and the whole Aztlan reconquista has huge communist and socialist support.
  2. I use the term illegal alien because that is what these people are when they come to the United States by crossing the border without permission. People who support illegal aliens never call them "illegal aliens". Their preferred monikers include illegal immigrants (but even that is way too harsh), simply immigrants, or my favorite: undocumented workers. This last one gets me because they are trying to make it a given that all illegals who come here are workers. Many of them are, but I would like to know why so many of them end up in our prisons for crimes other than coming here illegally in the first place. The commonly agreed upon number of illegal aliens in this country is around 12 million (I happen to think it is more). Using that number, that means that out of a population of 300 million people in this country, right around 4% of them are here illegally. Compare that to the fact that 25-30% of our federal prisoners are illegal aliens. Talk about disproportionate!
  3. OK, assuming that all these illegal aliens are in fact "workers", what does that say about them that so many are apparently willing to walk off their job on Monday to protest about the fact that they came here to work? I would love to counter-protest, but I will be at my job all day Monday.
  4. I am sick to death of the statement, "These people do the jobs that Americans don't or won't do". For pete's sake, even our own president said this in a speech! If you think about it, can you think of anything more demeaning to say about illegal aliens? To say that the only thing they are good for is cleaning the turds out of the punchbowl, metaphorically speaking?
  5. I don't know if any of the students at my middle school will join in our inevitable local protests, but I expect any students who don't come to school without an excused absence to face the consequences of what an unexcused absence can bring.
  6. Finally, when you watch news coverage of these protests on Monday's news, don't let all the American flags and red, white, and blue fool you. These people made their true feelings known in their initial protests when they flew the Mexican flag with abandon, along with signs that proclaimed this continent to be theirs. Since they love Mexico so much, here is my proposal to them: Let the United States adopt the same exact immigration policy that their dear Mexico employs. It is a policy that only allows in highly skilled workers, and violently turns away unwanted immigrants. It is a policy that severely limits the right of non-citizens in Mexico to protest Mexico's national policies, and limits the ability of naturalized Mexican citizens to run for or hold public office. You want to bring Mexico across our borders? No problem. Let's dance!
Good Day to You, Muchacho

Sunday, April 23, 2006

And Three Became Four...

My daughter was born yesterday. It's a good thing she was delivered by c-section, because she weighed 9 lbs. 15.6 ozs and was 21.5 inches long. My wife and I are looking forward to taking her home tomorrow and getting her acquainted with her big brother, and the wonderful world of conservative politics. HEY! You can never start too early.

Good Night to You, Little Girl

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Day in the Life of a Teacher

I probably don't blog enough about the goings on during my daily grind in the classroom, but a couple incidents happened today that struck me funny, so I thought I would share the insanity with the rest of you.

First, I opened my email this morning to find a request for homework for a girl who had been suspended. This happens often; our principal or vice principal sends out a school-wide email to all the teachers that says something to the effect of: Attention teachers of so-and-so: So-and-so has been suspended for however-many-days. Please send so-and-so's make-up work to the office. Now, I saw the referral on this girl yesterday. She was suspended for flipping off her P.E. teacher in full view of the rest of the students. This girl is not some delicate flower who just had a bad day. She is a known and persistent trouble maker at my school. In fact, I recently covered for another teacher during my prep period for three days in a row because the teacher's dad died. All three times, I ended up kicking this girl out of the class due to extreme disrespect and defiance directed toward me. So how many days suspension did she receive for this little finger stunt? A whopping two (that's 2) days - for publicly flipping off a teacher! Our administration isn't afraid of handing out suspensions, but what does strike fear into their hearts is handing out enough days of suspension. This is one of the reasons that we still have such bad discipline issues at our school: even if the kid gets suspended, the kid knows that not only will s/he be back in no time flat, but also - as I mentioned earlier - they get to make up the work they missed while they were suspended! What kind of crap is that? How is it any kind of punishment at all if the kid can make up the missed work?

Next item: I have a particularly rambuctious class during 7th period, which is the period right after lunch. This class has three girls who are (mostly) friends. You know how middle school girls can be; friends one day, enemies the next, then back to friends the next. Today, they were obviously friends, because I could do nothing to stop the incessant talking, whispering, and giggling that went on for way too long. After too many warnings to these three girls, I finally scrapped my lesson and spent a few minutes changing the seating chart. After they began to give me lip about it, I had each girl come up and call her parents right then and there during class. For the first two girls, I only got their parents' voice mail, so I left a voice mail message for each girl's parents while the rest of the class intently looked on. So the class knew that I would be speaking to those parents at a later time. Then it got interesting. With the third girl, I got her mom on the phone. I have dealt with this mom before. She is loud, bitchy... and totally on my side! The mom thanked me profusely for calling her and asked me to put her darling daughter on the phone. I handed the phone to the daughter, and I swear to God, the kids in the back of the classroom could hear this mother yelling through the phone. There was a very low but audible gasp that rose from the crowd as this mom unloaded on the daughter for about 30 seconds. I could not have asked for a better example to be made that showed that not only was I not playing, but also showed the other students what could be in store for them if they got out of line. There wasn't time to see if the behavior would improve for the rest of the period, because by the time that last phone call was done, it was time to pack up. My parting words to my students were, "And that is today's lesson ladies and gentlemen... pack up."

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Suspense is Killing Me!

I just noticed that I haven't blogged since Wednesday. The issue there is that the birth of our second child is imminent, but she appears to be quite happy hanging around in my wife's abdomen. According to previous ultrasounds, the due date was April 13. The original due date is this Monday, April 17. Conceivably (no pun intended), my wife could walk into the room as these words are being typed, and say, "It's time." Unfortunately, that hasn't happened yet.

In the meantime, I have been making lesson plans and photocopies like a madman to make sure that I don't leave my substitute (whoever it might be) hanging out to dry. I know what it is like to be a substitute teacher, and I never want to leave a sub in some of the positions in which I found myself.

So this post is just a little reassurance to my thousands of loyal readers out there (snicker) that I haven't gotten lazy, just overwhelmingly busy as my wife and I (and my 22 month old soon-to-be-in-for-the-shock-of-his-life son) prepare for the arrival of our daughter. Back during my 20s, being a father always seemed like a strange proposition for me. Being a father to two children will be more surreal than I can currently imagine. I don't think reality will truly hit me until both kids are home, and my wife and I look at each other with loving eyes and ask each other, "What in the hell have we just gotten ourselves into?" We can't wait to find out!

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

More on What Mexico Would Do...

A few posts back, I mentioned a column by Michael Reagan that showcased some enlightening excerpts from the constitution of Mexico that showed quite clearly how Mexico treats its foreigners. I have now found another article that you just have to read.

One of my favorite sources of information is City Journal. It is a quarterly publication that is produced by the Manhattan Institute. "Quarterly" means, of course, that once their latest edition comes out, I have to wait another three months for their next one; but boy is it worth it. Being a quarterly publication means that the authors of its articles have time to research and get in-depth. The Spring 2006 issue of City Journal was just released, and I found one humdinger of an article about illegal immigration written by one of their staff writers, Heather MacDonald. Below are some of the juicier passages from the article. Check this out:
Fine. If Mexico wants to dictate our immigration policy to us, let’s follow their example to the letter. That example is particularly relevant on this further day of protests demanding amnesty for illegals. Among the demonstrators in at least 60 cities nationwide will undoubtedly be thousands of border lawbreakers. What would Mexico do? The answer is easy: deport them on the spot. In 2002, a dozen American college students, in Mexico legally, participated peacefully in an environmental protest against a planned airport outside of Mexico City. They swiftly found themselves deported as law-breakers for interfering in Mexico’s internal affairs...

It is particularly delicious to imagine what would happen if American students in Mexico ran the American flag up a flag pole over an upside down Mexican flag, as students in a Southern California high school did last month. An international crisis! Each participant would be promptly ejected and possibly the American ambassador as well. When President Ernesto Zedillo tried to revise Mexican textbooks in the 1990s to be more favorable toward U.S. foreign policy, Mexico’s pundits denounced him as a traitor. Yet Mexican consuls in the U.S. work mightily to disseminate Mexican textbooks in U.S. schools and they have raised not a peep of remonstrance against Mexican protesters carrying signs such as THIS IS STOLEN LAND and WE DIDN’T CROSS THE BORDER, THE BORDER CROSSED US during the mass demonstrations last month...

Then there’s the question of whom we should favor in our immigration policy. Accept only the economic cream of other countries. Mexico’s immigration law grants preferences to scientists and other professionals likely to contribute to “national progress.” Peasants with third-grade educations aren’t high on their wish list; in fact they do everything they can to keep them out. Local observers have often alleged Mexico’s brutal treatment of impoverished Central Americans crossing its borders. Yet according to Mexican officials, millions of uneducated, unskilled campesinos are just what the American economy needs...
The hypocrisy of this whole situation continues to become more and more realized, and it shows. A new Zogby poll shows that all these demonstrations have backfired. The American people, rather than being sympathetic to the illegals' cause, are instead turning against it. We Americans may sometimes be an ignorant mushy-headed bunch, but we are not yet quite ready to commit national suicide.

Good Day to You, Sir

The Irritating Fad Du Jour Continues

Why, oh why do they do this to themselves? Walking around trying to hold up your pants isn't enough, I guess. The number of black male students on my campus who are wearing "grillz" (it pains me to even write the word), is increasing. Again, when I see a student of another race, ethnicity, or sex wearing... (wince)... grillz... I will let you know ASAP. Until then, so far it is only our black male students. Here is an interesting Fox News article that talks about the obvious fact that... (wretch)... grillz... can ruin a wearer's teeth due to the fact that saliva and bits of previous meals are trapped up against the wearer's teeth all day. Yuk!

I have a student who has defied me on numerous occasions regarding the wearing of his... (oh, the humanity!)... grillz... in my classroom. I have tried calling his mother (there is no father listed on the contact info), but she never returns my phone calls. This means that when I leave for work in about seven hours, I will take a little ziploc baggie with me. When this student walks into class tomorrow morning inevitably wearing his... (shudder)... grillz... I will have him remove them from his mouth and deposit them in said baggie. His mother may then pick them up herself from the office.

Good Day to You, Homie

About Monday's Illegal Immigration Rallies...

According to this article from Fox News Online,
Hundreds of thousands of people demanding U.S. citizenship for illegal immigrants took to the streets in dozens of cities from New York to San Diego on Monday in some of the most widespread demonstrations since the mass protests began around the country last month...

Rallies took place in communities of all sizes, from a gathering of at least 50,000 people in Atlanta to one involving 3,000 people in the farming town of Garden City, Kan., which has fewer than 30,000 residents...

Thick crowds gathered in New York's Washington Square Park before marching to City Hall. Many waved flags, both American and of countries of their origin. Korean-Americans beat drums nearby. Another group marched from Chinatown, and a third demonstration took place in Brooklyn. Police declined to estimate the size of the crowds, but organizers said 125,000 people were present at City Hall...
Just a little observation: These protests all took place on Monday. Isn't Monday a work day? I know I was at work. I would have loved to join in a counter-demonstration, but I have a family to feed. Don't apologists for illegal aliens say that they all come here just wanting to work? What do I know? I'm just a dumb American.

Good Day to You, Muchacho

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

What to Do About Iran?

Again, my thanks to Cox and Forkum for a cartoon that about sums it all up regarding our crazy Persian friends. They claim that they are that much closer to going nuclear. There's your cheerful thought for the day.

Good Day to You, Sir

Just So You Don't Think...

...that I blame illegal aliens for all of our nation's woes, there is plenty to be worried about from our own native population; particularly our younger generations. Thank you Cox and Forkum for the cartoon, and thank you Darren at Right on the Left Coast for that oh-so-true article about our over-pampered generations of the last 35 years. Disclosure: I'm only 33, and a proud member of Generation X. Just consider me one of the exceptions to the rule.

Good Day to You, Dude

What Would Mexico Do? (WWMD?)

Here is a link to a great column by Michael Reagan. In this column, Mr. Reagan fills us in on some rather enlightening sections from Mexico's constitution that deal with immigration and the rights of foreigners living in Mexico. Here are some examples taken right from the Mexican constitution:
Pursuant to Article 33, "Foreigners may not in any way participate in the political affairs of the country."
Gosh, does that mean that if I go to Mexico and protest one of their policies - say, their immigration policies - I would be kicked out of the country?
Article 55 denies immigrants the right to become federal lawmakers. A Mexican congressman or senator must be "a Mexican citizen by birth."
Gosh, I know of quite a few foreign-born congressmembers in the United States. You mean that Mexico doesn't allow the same thing in their country?
Article 32: "Mexicans shall have priority over foreigners under equality of circumstances for all classes of concessions and for all employment, positions, or commissions of the Government in which the status of citizenship is not indispensable."
What? You mean that Mexico favors Mexican citizens over foreigners - legal and illegal - in matters of employment?

Watch your step folks; there's a whole lot of hypocrisy goin' on, and it's littered all over the ground from here to the Rio Grande.

I think of all those numb-nuts walking our streets in protest and idiotically flying that Mexican flag. Fine - if they want us to be like Mexico, then let us indulge them. Let's adopt all those provisions from the Mexican constitution, and then use it as justification to ship their illegal keesters back where they came from.

Good Day to You, Sir

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Some Moral Equivalency for Your Sunday Sermon

My wife and I are members of the Presbyterian Church. For quite awhile now, I have known that on a national level, the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) is pretty leftist; just look at their recent decision to divest themselves of anything having to to with Israel. But I wondered if that leftism trickled down to my local church. During this morning's sermon by our lead pastor, I got a hint at an answer.

The theme of this morning's sermon was "A World Gone Mad". On this Palm Sunday, our pastor gave examples of how our world has gone mad in our time, and then told of how the world had gone mad during the days of Imperial Rome. In his list of examples of our modern world gone mad, he named the recent senseless murders of a woman in Roseville and two men in Elk Grove. Then, he got down to business. First, he named the Iraq War - fair enough I guess; war is often madness, even if you're one of the good guys. But this next one threw me for a loop. Our pastor said (and I'm paraphrasing),

"People danced in the streets all over the world when the Berlin Wall was torn down. Now, two decades later, we are seeing more walls erected, such as along our border with Mexico, or in Israel."

Do you see what our pastor did here? He equated the Berlin Wall - a wall designed to keep goodness in by preventing the escape of millions of people from a horrible communist prison called Eastern Europe - to two other walls that are meant to keep evil out. Our wall (and fences) that we wish to build along our border with Mexico is meant to protect the security of our borders - both from those who wish to come here uninvited, and from those who wish to come to our country to do us harm. The wall that has been proposed in Israel is to protect that country from Islamic Palestinian terrorists who walk into Israel on a regular basis and blow themselves up on crowded buses and restaurants in the hopes of taking a lot of innocent Israelis with them.
For our pastor to stand up there and say that Israel and the United States are no better than East Germany and the Soviet Union because they all want to build, or have built walls on their border is ludicrous and irresponsible.

One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from William F. Buckley when he described moral equivalency. He said,
"'Moral Equivalency' is saying that pushing an old lady out of the path of an oncoming bus is just as bad as pushing an old lady into the path of an oncoming bus, because either way, you are pushing old ladies around."

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Is Islam a Violent Religion? A Reader Responds...

Back on February 12, 2005, I posted this entry on my blog that included the above cartoon. Just the other day, I got a rather long comment from "ryan h" who took me to task on my position. I can tell that ryan put quite a bit of time and effort into his comment, and I wanted to respond back to him, and educate the rest of my reader(s) at the same time. First, here is what ryan h had to say:

I wanted to take the time to respond to this, in hopes that I may help to break your tunnel vision.

First and foremost, most all of the things you write I stand by. Namely this entry which I have been spreading to many. You strike me as someone who is down to earth and sees matters for what they are. I'm afraid, however, that this issue you have been lost.

I'm not Muslim, and before 9/11 I knew absolutely nothing about the religion other than the word. Even though I had been dating a Muslim for some time. I'm not a religious person at all, but I see the value in faith and hope, as they help many survive cold and lonely nights. And push when sometimes it feels like there is no longer a reason.

I think you have lost site of the real issues here, and your attention has been misdirected by otherwise arrogant sources. That's not intended to be an insult to anyone.

I'll start with the obvious: violence. My personal problem with the drawings of Muhammad is that they're drawn by ignorant people. Muhammad was a prophet, like any other prophet. His words were simply written from God. The violence comes from the interpretation, and the people, not the religion.

Seeing as how you are a teacher I don't expect to lecture you about the different denominations of the Islamic faith, but I hope to remind you of the psychology behind everything in hopes that you regain control of your point of view.

It's late, and I just got done having this discussion with another buddy of mine so I'll do all of this in dude talk, so forgive me if I don't sound as scholarly as others. :P

Muslims have a bad rep because of the Sunni's. When Muhammad died, Ali and Abu were the two successors. Sunni's believe Abu was the man, Shi'a believe Ali was the man. Abu was a friend of Muhammad, and a militant kind of guy. While Ali was actually Muhammad blood. Most people followed Abu, and his militant interpretations are why we have people drawing cartoons of Muhammad with a bomb on his head, which isn't fair.

Also, you should remember the Taliban, which have ruled with /fear and violence/, aren't any kind of religious group. They're terrorists to both their own people and the world and shouldn't be related to the Muslim faith in any form. I bring up the Taliban because you mentioned Rushdie, which was the whole reason the conversation came up with my buddy. ANYWAYS. He was held captive for 16 *YEARS*. It's old news. And hardly constitutes among the worst crimes of the Taliban. Also remember that, while the Taliban are in rule, all the clerics and political leaders 'benefit' with their lives by promoting it as faith.

If 1.5 billion people exhibited the violence you, and sadly many others, associate with Muslims as a whole.. well.. think about it. 1.5 people killing.. well.. everyone else? There's be a lot more dead bodies. -- Most of the violence I know of is 'in the family'. Sunni vs Shi'a. Sunni's again being the bullies because the militant interpretation that's been taught for FIFTEEN HUNDRED YEARS since the death of Muhammad. And when you know only one ultimate rule since the day of your birth; death to the unfaithful, you tend to, even after the liberation of those rulers, follow suit.

There will always be extremists. And as scary as it is when you introduce violence as a core, it is ultimately left up to the person to decide what is right and wrong. This is the reason (I believe) that 70% of the Muslim population that are Sunni aren't killing people. Because killing is wrong.

Also, when you said "The worst part about all of this is that much of the major media on both sides of the Atlantic are capitulating to the Muslims by criticizing the publishing of the cartoons, and refusing to run them in their own newspapers or show them on television." I had to make a face like this.. =/

Surely you don't believe that's the worse... the fighting. The lives that have been lost for what's actually a common cause. The blind hate that the families of both 'houses' have developed because of the centuries of deaths and all the pain they have caused each other. And.. the worst part? The pride. Ooohhh what damage can be done by the ripple of broken pride. When the very core of your lifestyle is challenged and insulted. These men.. are they not equally capable of love? Do they not love their children? Their mothers? Do they wish heart ache and torment on their friends and family? Over a *thousand* years of broken pride. Surely you must see the impact that has. And sadly, when other people get involved, when an artist decides to volunteer himself to insult that very group of people, he's sucked, like a vacuum into the pool of hate. It is sad, but the artist is as much to blame for poking a stick at the serpent as the serpent is for striking.

And finally, it's unfair to make assessments of the entire Islamic faith based on the actions, no matter how horrific, of a few. Is it fair to call all Catholics molesters? Hardly. Is it fair to call all Americans greedy, stupid, killers? Of course not. Don't loose your focus on the -person- responsible. Don't allow yourself to become that person who stereotypes. America's shit stinks too. 2 bombs.. 220 thousand people dead in only a moment of time.

I hope everything I've said has meant something... really I do.
In a nutshell, I believe that Islam is a violent religion. I have never said that all Muslims are violent, but for the love of Allah, all you have to do is take a look around you (tunnel vision indeed), and you will see that a disproportionate amount of the violence and bloodshed in the world is being perpetrated by Muslims - very often against other Muslims. As the common saying goes: Not all Muslims are terrorists, but most of the world's terrorists are Muslim. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I am going to partially respond to ryan's comment with a response that Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Steyn wrote to one of his readers who basically said the same thing, i.e. Mark, how can you paint Islam with such a broad brush? How can you attribute to all because of what a few do, and all the other common arguments. Here is what Mr. Steyn had to say to his reader, and it is the same thing I would retort to ryan h:
Well, if I’m not an expert on Islam and Muslim society, perhaps you can explain a couple of things to me: As you note, I was paraphrasing Dr Wafa Sultan when I referred to “the backwardness and misery and oppression that attend the advance of Islam.” According to the annual Freedom House survey on political rights and civil liberties in the world, of the 46 Muslim majority nations in the world only three are ranked as free: Indonesia, Mali and Senegal. Of the 16 additional nations in which Muslims form between 20 and 50% of the population, only three are ranked as free: Benin, Serbia & Montenegro, and Suriname. Of the eight nations in the world which have the very worst ranking on the Freedom House chart and thus the least freedom, five are Muslim. So, simply as a statistical proposition, the correlation between Islam and lack of freedom is clearly demonstrable. That would seem to take care of the “oppression”.

As for “backwardness”, here is Dr Mahathir Mohammed, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, one of the least worst states in the Muslim world, speaking just a week ago:

"We produce practically nothing on our own, we can do almost nothing for ourselves, we cannot even manage our wealth."

You think I’m being unfair, take it up with Dr Mahathir. And as for “misery”, ask those who have to share real estate with Muslims – from the Christians in Nigeria and the Sudan to the Buddhists in southern Thailand – whether that’s such a barrel of fun.

I would be very interested in hearing your responses to the above points. Till then I stand by my words.
And I also stand by my words. There are a few specific things ryan said that I just have to be taken to task:
Muhammad was a prophet, like any other prophet. His words were simply written from God. The violence comes from the interpretation, and the people, not the religion.
"The violence comes from the interpretation"? Folks, read a Quran sometime. Take special note of the Suras which talk about smiting the necks of the unbelievers. What is there to interpret?
I bring up the Taliban because you mentioned Rushdie, which was the whole reason the conversation came up with my buddy. ANYWAYS. He was held captive for 16 *YEARS*. It's old news. And hardly constitutes among the worst crimes of the Taliban.
First of all, it wasn't the Taliban that issued the death fatwa against Salman Rushdie; it was our old buddies the Iranians. The fatwa was issued in 1989. The Taliban didn't come to power in Afghanistan until 1996. Second of all, Rushdie wasn't "held captive", but he might as well have been. He became a prisoner in his own home because Muslims from all over the world were looking for him so they could kill him. If you don't think any Muslim would carry out the killing of Rushdie for insulting their faith, just ask Theo Van Gogh... oh wait, he was murdered by a Muslim in Amsterdam for the crime of making a film that highlighted the oppression of women in Muslim society.
Also, when you said "The worst part about all of this is that much of the major media on both sides of the Atlantic are capitulating to the Muslims by criticizing the publishing of the cartoons, and refusing to run them in their own newspapers or show them on television." I had to make a face like this.. =/
Uh, ryan - why do you think much of the world's media didn't print the cartoons? Because they didn't want their throats slit like Theo Van Gogh. Newspaper men in Muslim countries are already being put on trial and threatened with death for printing the cartoons.
It is sad, but the artist is as much to blame for poking a stick at the serpent as the serpent is for striking.
You are kidding me right? Worldwide riots, hundreds of deaths, destruction of property, mayhem, chaos... all over some cartoons? I believe I covered this: where were similar actions done by Christians all over the world when a so-called artist took a crucifix and stuck in a jar of his own urine? Where were the world-wide Christian riots when a so-called artist displayed a painting of the Virgin Mary that was adorned with elephant dung and pornography? Where were the world-wide Jewish riots when millions of them were exterminated in the death camps?

And finally:
America's shit stinks too. 2 bombs.. 220 thousand people dead in only a moment of time.
This is where ryan's argument went off the deep end. He is saying that we are just as bad as the terrorists because we dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan? Never mind that we were in a declared war with Japan. Never mind that it was either end the war this way, or have many more Japanese civilians, along with possibly hundreds of thousands of Allied troops killed if an all-out invasion of Japan had been attempted instead. Do you think if the Japanese had had the atomic bomb, they would have thought twice about using it on us? War is hell ryan, and there is no medal for coming in second.

Thank you for your response ryan, but no matter how you try to sugar coat it, you are dead wrong.

Good Day to You, Sir

Saturday, April 01, 2006

In Honor of a Hero; and a True Pacifist

When I was a little kid, I was quite the reader. During the summer of 1985 (and numerous other times), I devoured my parents' Time Life World War II series. In one of the books - it was either Island Fighting or The Road to Tokyo - I read about an American medic on Okinawa named Desmond Doss. He was a Seventh Day Adventist and a pacifist. So when the draft board came knocking, did he slap a "Visualize World Peace" bumper sticker on his car and tell them to get lost? No, he went into the Army as a medic. He didn't have to carry a rifle or engage the enemy, but that doesn't mean that his situation was any less dangerous. His job was to be right in the thick of it on the battlefield and tend to his fellow soldiers who fell wounded.

On numerous occasions during the Battle of Okinawa, Desmond Doss saved dozens of his fellow soldiers, all the while being shot and shrapneled to holy hell. For his many selfless actions, Doss was awarded the Medal of Honor. If you want to read exactly what he did, here is his citation.

On March 23, 2006, Desmond Doss died at the age of 87. It has been over a week since he died, but word of it has only now reached the papers.

I have read that something like 2,000 World War II veterans die every day. Within another 10 or 20 years, they will all be gone. Some people wonder if bravery like that even exists in this country anymore. I can assure you it does. If you don't believe me, read the citation of Sergeant First Class Paul Smith; the only U.S. serviceman so far to be awarded the Medal of Honor for service in the War on Terrorism. This medal was posthumus.

Good Day to You, Sir