Archive for the ‘Law Enforcement/Military’ Category

Terrorists – civilian courts or military courts?

How do we handle terrorists? Are they prisoners of war? Are they civilian criminals? The argument is about where they should be tried, civilian courts or military courts. And, though those on each side have good arguments, the law of war and an opinion by the Supreme Court suggest both sides may be correct, depending on the circumstances.

In 2010, the executive branch failed in an attempt to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others in a civilian court on charges of plotting the Sept. 11th attacks. Recently, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, bin Laden’s son-in-law, was quietly brought into the United States and quickly appeared in federal court before anyone had the opportunity to block it, the executive branch still determined that terrorists be tried in civilian courts rather than military courts.

Gun control – the wrong discussion

“Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.”

~ Thomas Jefferson, 1781

A Connecticut man murdered 20 children and 6 adults, gun control proponents again advocating that disarming law-abiding citizens will solve the problem. And though I believe their logic is folly, we still need a reasoned debate on the issue.

But, lest we forget, gun ownership is still a constitutional right; it is not a constitutional privilege; it is not a governmental privilege; it is not a presidential privilege. The Constitution does not allow the federal government to “evolve” the Constitution to address perceived changing times and needs. It must have the permission of “We the People” in the form of an amendment for change to occur.

Lead, follow or get out of the way

General George S. Patton said, “Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.” Mr. President, are you listening? We are nearing the end of the president’s second year in office and, as he promised, things have changed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the question is not if things have changed, but have they improved.

The decision to go to war is political. The decision to end a war is political. But war itself is not. The president is expert at politics; the military is expert at war. The president must balance political realities with military realities. And during peacetime political realities often carry more weight than military ones. But during times of war, if military realities cannot carry more weight than political ones, should we even be at war?

“Humans are more important than hardware”

On Christmas day, a Nigerian man boarded Northwest Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit with a bomb he planned to detonate over the United States, his success prevented more by luck than skill.

The President responded saying there were “human and system failures” and the United States will do “whatever it takes” to defeat the terrorists, a few days ago adding that we need more body scanners in airports.

Could the President be focusing on the wrong solution to the right problem?  Is he correct assuming we need more scanners, more technology and more congressional appropriations?  We react to each new threat with purchases of ever-more expensive technology, determined if we spend enough money and buy enough equipment we can find anything. 

“Earn this. Earn it.” – Veteran’s Day

Who are the men and women we honor each year on Veterans Day?  An anonymous person offered the following description – “A veteran is someone who at one point in life wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.'”  What makes them write this check, make this promise, show this love of country, this loyalty to country?  Could you or I write this check?

Values and common sense

Do you ever wonder about our lost values, our disappearing common sense?  Where is our foundation, our cornerstone, showing us the values that are America?  Our foundation is crumbling and a cornerstone is hard to find.  And we have fewer anchors to look to for help understanding what we are, and what we should aspire to be.

Nearly 30 years ago, I met such a man, such an anchor, although I did not realize it at the time.  Our first meeting was in the emergency department of Bannock Memorial Hospital.  He was a bit confused when I very kindly, but firmly, asked him to please read, and sign, about 500 pages of consents.  With a boisterous voice, he suggested that might be excessive; I suggested it made a great deal of sense.

Move to the sound of the gun

“Let’s roll.”

Response of Todd Beamer, one of the heroes of Flight 93, just before he and fellow passengers rushed the cockpit upon hearing that three other passenger planes had been used as weapons on 9/11.


Have you ever watched a sheepdog working with sheep?  Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, author of the book “On Killing,” discusses sheep and sheepdogs, drawing comparisons between sheep, sheepdogs and us.

The sheepdog herds the sheep, keeps them where they belong, makes them follow the rules, and nips at them when needed; all a bit irritating to the sheep.  Moreover, the sheepdog is always nervous, always sniffing the air, always watching, always on the alert.

Claiming racism be racist

Four police officers and two men; one black, a noted Harvard professor, and one Jewish, a famous singer –each with a recent police encounter.

Returning from a trip, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates found his front door jammed.  He tried to force it open and then he and his chauffeur got in through the back door.  According to Officer Figueroa’s police report, a neighbor called the police saying she saw “a man wedging his shoulder into the front door as if to pry the door open.”  And contrary to media reports, she did not identify the men by their race.  Further, Figueroa, the second officer on the scene, is also black.

Thank you Chance Phelps

Are we too complacent, not realizing the price of our freedom?  I watched a movie about the cost of this freedom. 

In fact, I watched the movie four times, each time with tears.  The movie is a simple look at the price of our freedom, a simple reminder of what we have, a simple thank you.

A world away, a day in Iraq, a suicide vehicle, a convoy attacked, a long drive in the middle of the night, a knock on the door, and an “I’m sorry to inform you.”

Selective law enforcement




 What do you do with a county sheriff who treats criminals like criminals, who enforces all the laws, not just the politically correct ones? 

Simple. You claim racism, civil rights violations, and contact the Justice Department. His critics hoped it would seek to remove him from office. Instead, Loretta King, acting assistant attorney general in charge of the investigation, said that if the investigation uncovers violations, her office “will provide recommendations on ways to improve practices and procedures.”  

We ask them to kill – VETERAN’S DAY

We ask our military to do the unspeakable, the unthinkable.  We ask them to kill fellow human beings.  We ask of them what we are unable to ask of ourselves. Moreover, we do not want to see or know what they do.  We are appalled when we see a television image of a marine killing an Iraqi who is “faking dead.”  We condemn that marine.  We must or else we feel we are condoning it.  It doesn’t matter that he did nothing wrong.  We saw it.  We saw him kill that man.  We are not supposed to see that happen.  How dare he make it real. 

Is military desertion courageous?

Jeremy Hinzman is the most recent military deserter losing his legal battle to stay in Canada.  I read his story while visiting our son and daughter-in-law at Ft. Bragg in Fayetteville, NC; home of the Army Special Forces, the Green Beret.  There I met men and women who have clarity of thought, a code of honor, and a love of country; values so clear I immensely admire and genuinely envy them.  If you want to meet a real hero, just visit a military base.  Their moral fiber is unwavering, giving me little tolerance for those who abandon their oath.  With this admitted bias, I would like to discuss those who desert our country. 

The power of advertising prescription medications

Traditionally, pharmaceutical advertising has focused on advertisements in medical journals and sending representatives to meet with individual physicians.  During the last ten years, their advertising has increased over four-fold and they have also added direct to consumer advertising (DTCA).  According to Emergency Medical Abstracts, only the United States and New Zealand allow DTCA.  Is there a reason most nations do not allow pharmaceutical advertising?  Are expensive commercials the right way to select a medication?  Have you ever seen a television advertisement for an inexpensive medication?

Remembering Pfc. Joseph Dwyer

Our country has a large group of people who hope we never go to war. No, they are not the people disparaging our military; rather, they are our military personnel. Our military is full of reluctant warriors who understand better than anyone the travesty of war. They know the price to be paid; but, unlike the rest of us, they are willing to pay it. They know the parents who will lose sons and daughters. They know the husbands and wives who will lose spouses. They know the children who will lose fathers and mothers. They know the reality of war the rest of us watch from a safe distance.

Taps for the fallen brave – MEMORIAL DAY

Today we remember those who died in our nation’s service. Today we proudly display the American flag, a small flag in the living room window or a huge flag on a flagpole, the size is irrelevant. The flag is flown at half-staff until noon to honor the fallen brave, and then flown at full staff the remainder of the day. At 3:00 P.M. offer a moment of silence, remembering those who died for us. Memorial Day is the day we are not republicans or democrats, we are Americans, united honoring our war dead.

Even military critics enjoy free speech

Thomas Jefferson said, “My God!  How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!” Proof of his statement echoes from the Berkeley, California city council chambers.  They approved sending a letter to the Marine Corp Recruiting office informing the marines they were “not welcome” in Berkeley.  The council added, “If recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders.”  During that council meeting they also derided the marines with statements like “trained killers” and “the president’s own gangsters.”   How should we respond to this anti-military, anti-American behavior?  Is it acceptable for elected officials to behave this way?  Should there be consequences for their choices?  In the aftermath of the Berkeley council’s statements, U.S. senators introduced legislation to rescind $2.3 million of federal transportation funds to Berkeley.  Following the news of the proposed legislation, the Berkeley city council voted to not send the letter while the mayor of Berkeley, Tom Bates, said the city did not mean to offend anyone in the military.  Does he expect us to believe their statements were not intentionally offensive?  The city council believed they were taking a principled, difficult position. But as soon as they learned of potential consequences resulting from their actions, they quickly abandoned their position suggesting their principles are negotiable.  But, they still refused to apologize to the Marines, saying they were only “clarifying their position,” and statements like “trained killers” did not warrant an apology. 

Interrogation or torture?

The debate continues.  What is interrogation and what is torture?  Are there situations in which interrogation is inadequate, situations requiring something more? In the abstract, it seems rather easy to determine what is or is not morally acceptable, what is or is not torture.  But, how easy is the decision when it’s personal; when the lives at risk are American, when our national security is in jeopardy?  How far do we go to get information?  What would you be willing to do to a terrorist if the information they had could prevent another 9/11?  If you had a family member in the World Trade Towers and you were interrogating a terrorist before the destruction, would you still find waterboarding heinous?  If summarily executing a terrorist could save the life of an American soldier would you hesitate?  The urgency of these situations, according to Professor Darius Rejali of Reed College in Oregon, is “morally the only way a democratic society is able to justify torture.”

Allow our military to fight the terrorists

Albert Einstein said, “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”  He believed World War III would be nuclear annihilation returning us to the Stone Age.  Is he correct? Will there even be a World War III?  If there is a World War III, what type of conflict will it be?  By the way, what is a world war?  Merriam-Webster defines it as, “a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world”.  Is World War III on the horizon?  Could the instability of the Middle East be the fuse to ignite it?

The price of ‘freeing the oppressed’

How do you propose an acceptable number of dead American military personnel? How do you justify losing even one American life.  Are there acceptable deaths?

My inability to answer these questions is probably why I did not have the character to serve my country while many of my family members did.  Maybe I could never grasp an understanding of necessary loss of life.  But spend a few minutes with military personnel.  They aren’t confused.  They understand.  They know the risk. They love their country and are willing to “ruck up and close with the enemy.”

Thoughts of a soldier’s father – VETERAN’S DAY

How do I write about the people willing to do what so many of us are not willing to do?  How do I write about heroes?  The ones “ready to pick up a rifle, ruck up and close with the enemy.”

How do I write about Veteran’s Day when I am terrified because I have a son who joined the Army at age 27 in the midst of a war?  A son who was determined to enter the Special Forces?  A son determined to do his part?  A son who joined the Army because he wants to help people?