Truth In Front of Ours Eyes

Recently my wife has begun writing, from a Christian perspective, about popular culture – music, books, movies, etc.  Her premise has been that the soul cries out to God even if the person doesn’t yet realize it.  We have long talked about how, if you listen carefully, you can hear the questions, the pains, the need for the Creator within the secular words and stories told as the author, performer, or director as they try to put the cries of the soul into their work.  It’s a wonderful way to speak with people about God and the longing of their hearts and souls, via questions that often can be broken down into “I wonder why…” or “I wonder how…” that open the door from concepts that are easier to speak about with nonbelievers to concepts of God that are harder to explain and even harder to understand without a baseline understanding that believers are blessed, hopefully, to have already.

Applying this to another part of life is the application of popular culture to understand current events.  With that said, the event I want to talk about is the Donald Trump phenomenon.  Donald Trump is a businessman who decided to run for President.  He’s running as a Republican and has entranced many conservatives to his bandwagon, yet the concepts he talks about and the words he uses are those of a liberal demagogue.  He identified a yearning in the American public and he is playing to it perfectly.

What yearning?

Anger.

Americans are angry at the government, at politicians, at men and women who promise the moon and then either fail to deliver, or turn around and do exactly the op opposite of what they promised in the first place.

Americans are angry at a lack of justice.

  • Justice under the law (Trump’s initial rise can be directly attributed to the hard line he took on illegal immigration and the promise to punish law breakers and “send them back” and promises of building a wall that another country will finance – never mind that we would have to declare war on Mexico in order to force them to pay for it.)  Also, the criminality of actions by politicians such as Hillary Clinton – lying about the contents of a private, unpermitted, unsecured, and unprotected email server in her home during her time as Secretary of State in order to avoid the documentation preservation rules for all Federal government appointees and employees – used to be called what they are under the color of law – espionage and fraud.  When oaths and laws mean nothing, the law-abiding grow angry.
  • Social justice (the intolerance of the tolerance movement is something I’ve written about before as there are “activists” that aren’t just happy with being permitted to do what they please, but rather want you to celebrate their behavior and their uniqueness as superior to your own – gay marriage/adoption movements, Black Lives Matter, and other such movements fall into this camp squarely.  It has even got so absurd that “All Lives Matter” has been called a racist phrase because Black Lives are apparently more equal than yours.  When you are told that you are worth less and someone else is worth more for any reason is racism whether you are black, white, yellow, red, or green.  There is no justice when ANYONE is elevated above another and the aggrieved grow angry.
  • Economic justice (When banks deemed “too big to fail” are given money via the Federal Reserve, which increases the volume of money thus decreasing the value of money and robbing everyone of stored wealth and income, there is a growing feeling of a economic aristocracy.  When businesses, with politicians beholden to them for campaign contributions and future employment as lobbyists, have laws and taxes written on their behalf to squash competition in the open market or to have the economic advantage of a decreased tax burden comparatively to others in the same market – the government is seen as picking winners and losers.  When good hard-working people lose their jobs because their businesses are regulated out of existence due to profitability problems, when good hard-working people lose their homes because banks deemed “too big to fail” and given money freely to avoid their seemingly inevitable bankruptcies won’t rewrite the terms of their mortgages and force a family into destitution how can there be anything other than a growing anger.

I’m sure you sense a theme now.  Anger is growing in this country.  It is palatable now.  There’s no sense of courtesy anymore.  No consideration of the other person.  No compassion.  What is your first reaction when someone does something unexpected on the road while you’re driving?  Cursing, yelling, honking, aggressively driving with a vendetta toward the other person?  Are these symptoms of love or anger?  I think the answer is obvious.

With this in mind, consider this quote from the great sage of film, Yoda.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

We have passed the point of fear.  The fear is there, but it is deeper, it is foundational.  The fear that our country, our way of life, is changing permanently.  That the freedoms, rights, and privileges we hold as Americans are lessening, not growing.  This is true whether you politically are left or right of center.  There is fear that our jobs are not secure.  There is fear that an economic wall is not just being built, but has been built by those in the highest tier to prevent anyone that they don’t want from joining their ranks.  There is fear that everything that has been accepted as given for so long is simply not so, and the fear is that if the givens are no longer constant, than how can we function without playing “the game.”

Fear leads to anger.

History can be our guide here because the world has seen rises to power like this in the past.  The circumstances of today closely mirror the circumstances of another time and the leaders that can spring out of times like these can restore us or drag us down into darkness.

  • Long-term bitterness makes brazen, bully-like tactics appealing as they see the candidate, in this case Trump, as their champion.
  • Ineffective government and laws give the perception of dual justice systems where certain crimes are excused for those deemed “worthy.”  Equal justice demands equal enforcement, so when selective enforcement is practiced openly faith in the government, police, legislators, and courts is eroded.
  • The usage of money by bureaucrats and politicians to enact personal policy via businesses, lobbying groups, and induced behavior (such as enforced purchases under pain of penalty – The Affordable Care Act mandates ALL people buy health insurance because they were born) reeks of corruption and tyranny.
  • The 24/7 news cycle and unmitigated lying and misleading by politicians (answering one question they want to answer instead of the question asked for instance) has lead to a soundbite culture that hinges not on ideas, but on emotions. It is not a far leap from there to attaching those negative emotions to a race of people, or a political belief, in order to ratchet up anger specifically directed.
  • The Cult of Personality around Mr. Trump is one in which his most ardent supporters don’t care what he says, does, or could do.  They support him fully, leading them to attack those that disagree verbally and, in some cases, physically.

Anger Leads to Hate

The time-period that I referenced above is the 1920s and 1930s in what was then called the Wiemar Republic.  We know it now as Pre-Nazi Germany.  The same conditions and cultural conditions were in place then as now.  I’m not claiming Donald Trump is the new Adolf Hitler, but the comparisons are worth considering.  At what point does he, or his bandwagon turn from expressions of anger to expressions of hate.  At what point do the long knives come out?

Hate Leads to Suffering

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 

Galatians 5:22-23

I don’t sense any of the these attributes in Donald Trump, or anyone I’ve met who truly believes he is the best candidate for President this year.

I don’t argue to change your vote, your preference, or anything like that, but I do ask that you, regardless of who you support this year, to examine WHY you support them.

Are you making a decision out of fear? Anger?  Hate?  Suffering?  Do decisions made in the heat of passion or despair ever work out well?

During the 3 ½ years of World War II that started with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and ended with the surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945, the US produced 22 aircraft carriers, 8 battleships, 48 cruisers, 349 destroyers, 420 destroyer escorts, 203 submarines, 34 million tons of merchant ships, 100,000 fighter aircraft, 98,000 bombers, 24,000 transport aircraft, 58,000 training aircraft, 93,000 tanks, 257,000 artillery pieces, 105,000 mortars, 3,000,000 machine guns, and 2,500,000 trucks.

We put 16.1 million men in uniform in the various armed services, invaded Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, dozens of Pacific Islands, won the battle of the Atlantic, marched across all of Western Europe and Northern Africa, developed the Atomic bomb, and ultimately defeated Japan AND Germany at the same time.

It’s worth noting that during the nearly exact amount of time, the Obama administration could not build a single functioning website.

 

PSA: Drowning

There are many misconceptions about drowning.  It is so critically important to understand the differences between struggling and drowning because it takes so painfully short of a time for someone, especially a child, to drown.

Rescuing Drowning Children

  1. “Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.”

This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble—they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the Instinctive Drowning Response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long—but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level

  • Head tilted back with mouth open

  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus

  • Eyes closed

  • Hair over forehead or eyes

  • Not using legs—vertical

  • Hyperventilating or gasping

  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway

  • Trying to roll over on the back

  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

Oo rah.

And again, oo rah.

“Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They’re aggressive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They’ve got really short hair and they always go for the throat.”

R. Adm. Jay Stark

Froggy

Kim Jong Un is getting froggy with South Korea and the U.S.

If North Korea unilaterally cancelled the nonaggression pact that formally “paused” the Korean War back in the 1950’s, then they are deadly serious as that formally returns the peninsula to a live state of war.

Prayers for those men and women not just in South Korea, but the U.S. servicemen there, and the souls in the North living under a godless dictator.

Interesting times indeed.

 

More gun handling advice

from our esteemed vice-shotgunner-in-chief.

[Y]ou want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.
Vice President Joe Biden
Apparently, Attorney Biden is not aware of safe gun handling rules.  According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the ten safe gun handling rules are:
  1. Always keeps the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  2. Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use.
  3. Don’t rely on your gun’s “safety.”
  4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
  5. Use correct ammunition.
  6. If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, handle with care.
  7. Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.
  8. Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting.
  9. Don’t alter or modify your gun, and have guns serviced regularly.
  10. Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.

Well done Mr. Biden.  More bad legal advice coming from someone who supposedly has a law degree and practiced as an attorney.  First, giving advice to fire into the air if you “think” someone is outside trying to get in to your house and now this gem.

Is this not enough to be disbarred now?

 

 

Fool

obama

Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool—
how much worse lying lips to a ruler!

Proverbs 17:7

Defenseless Victim Zones

I ran across a statistical analysis done of gun free zones efficiency.  Concealed carry advocates no longer need to rely on hyperbole or semi-rational arguments without data to back up their summarizing statements.  This is a great read by Michael Menkus.

The simple fact of the matter is that police, fire, paramedics are SECOND responders, not first responders.  You are the first responder (or the first victim).  You are the one on scene when the shooting starts, the fire ignites, or the 70 year old man in front of you collapses to his knees clutching his chest and sweating buckets.

It’s not that police, firefighters, and paramedics aren’t sacrificial men and women doing a terribly difficult job day in and out, but the simple fact of the matter is that they are your backup, not your first line of defense or aide.

While you wait for them to arrive to help, whether they are one minute or twenty minutes away, you have to stay alive while you wait or keep someone else alive if you can.

stuff happens

Are you prepared to put down an active shooter at your work?  your school? your church?

Are you prepared to charge into a raging inferno with a fire extinguisher in order to hold back the flames and give others time to flee a burning building?

Are you prepared to clamp down on an arterial bleed with nothing but your hand?  Are you prepared to use your belt as a tourniquet to a coworker that just lost his hand in a high speed lathe?  Are you prepared to dive into a swimming pool and pull out your neighbor’s kid after they cracked their head on the diving board an fell in unconscious?

Do you think I’m being extreme?

What did Christ Himself say was the second-most important command of God?

To love your neighbor as yourself.

How can you say you love your neighbor if you won’t run to their aide in their moment of greatest need?

YOU are the first responder.  The lives of your family, your friends, your coworkers, even strangers walking down the street depend on you being ready and able to come to their aide immediately and not by calling 911, but by rolling up your sleeves and diving into the fray.

If you wait for the backup to arrive, people WILL die.

This former Boy Scout still believes and lives the Scout motto “Be Prepared.”  Do you?

plan B

 

 

 

Senseless

Sometimes there are situations in life where the solution to the problem at hand is much easier to comprehend if you have a certain perspective.  I don’t want to Monday morning quarterback every little thing that happens in life, but frankly, sometimes there is so little common sense anymore in society that it becomes necessary.

In Pittsburgh, a toddler was mauled to death in a zoo exhibit after falling in.  There is a lot that happened here which if done differently would’ve prevented the situation from ever unfolding.  I want to look at what happened after because evil will happen in this life.  You cannot shield yourself or your children from it.

Looking back at my post about Duty I feel like I need to say things another way.  As a father, my job is to protect my children.  My duty is to them.  If either of my sons were in the same situation, I would be failing to discharge my duty to them if I did not immediately jump into the pit and fight those dogs to protect my son, even if it meant holding his body under my own to provide myself as a shield for them.

As an onlooker, what duty do I have though?  In the post I mentioned above, I said that I would come to someone else’s aide in terrible circumstances, not because I know them or care for them, but because it is the morally right thing to do as a man.  To throw yourself into the maw of death and hold it open long enough for innocent life to be plucked from it’s grasp is about as Christ-like as one can hope to be in a crisis.  In these situations, you must be willing to sacrifice your perceived safety, rush into the fray and hopefully save a life.

Ultimately, I have no duty to that other person in today’s culture.  I would not be looked at differently for failing to act.  We have become so insulated from each other that we fail to recognize our fellow men and women as potential brothers in Christ whom we are called to love and honor as blood relatives.

So what should someone do in those circumstances?  If you saw someone’s child fall into that pit, would you act?  Would you run to their rescue or would you stand by an abject horror?

Rescue those being led away to death;
    hold back those staggering toward slaughter.

Proverbs 24:11

People need to wake up and stop waiting for someone else to help.  You are that someone else.  Draw your sword, take up your shield, and go fight for your fellow man.  By your example you might inspire a lost soul to find Christ.

Dissonance

President Obama recently said “we leave nobody behind, we make sure we respond as a nation and remind ourselves that whenever an American is in need, all of us stand together to make sure we’re providing the help that’s necessary.”

While I completely agree with him that we come together in times of crisis to help out each other, the cognitive dissonance coming out of the government now is becoming palpable.  If we “leave nobody behind,” why was no air cover dispatched, or reinforcements called in to help the Benghazi consulate staff and the slain Ambassador?

The most powerful country on Earth sat on it’s hands as a few dozen attackers shelled, shot, and rocketed our consulate and then a nearby annex.

As the men on the ground begged and plead for help, we failed to provide the help that was necessary to Americans under fire in a foreign country on sovereign American soil.

Dissonance indeed.

 

 

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