Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White

Over the weekend reports began circulating that Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White was going to be charged with discharging a personal weapon at the US Navy Operations Center in Chattanooga. He fired the weapon at Muhammad Abdulazeez who was attacking the base and had already killed some military personnel. These reports began with Allen West, who received the information and began to sound a loud call to action to defend the Lt. Cmdr.

Since then there have been comments by the navy on social media stating that no charges have been filed, and that the investigation as to what happened is still ongoing. If they have formulated any official reply I could not find it in an internet search this morning.

While their assertion that no charges have been filed provides some degree of assurance, I believe that it also leaves some room that as the investigation progresses this action could still be taken. It’s hard to digest, that this is even a possibility. Think about it, the action of defending your fellow soldiers, running toward the gunfire instead of away from it, actions which would have resulted in commendations or at the very least the satisfaction of having done your duty – these same actions could result in charges because you are on US soil and are deemed illegal here.

It comes down to a decision years ago, which greatly restricts when military personnel would carry weapons. I believe soldiers can be trained, and in fact, are trained to handle their weapons responsibly. Undoubtedly some individuals would go against their training, but I do not believe that would be as big of a problem as that created by disarming our defenders.

Disarming our military men on US bases sends two unacceptable messages. First that our military is untrustworthy and second that they are now defenseless and easy targets.

Advertisements

Presidential Divisiveness

One of the current political questions is, who will run for president in 2016? We are in that awkward stage, where even though we basically know who will run, they are not yet officially committed.

Looking over the field, I notice something horrible. But let me explain some current history from my perspective for clarity sake first. Six years ago we elected a president who promised to bring the country together. We even reelected him two years ago, when he was promising that he would bring the country together as soon as his opponents decided to do everything his way.

For conservative minded people, like myself, this president has created an ever widening chasm between the two viewpoints, namely by refusing to compromise on anything, and then having his buddies in the media, blame the division on his opponents. This tactic has so alienated conservative America, that we now can’t hear the president’s name without bristling. Now we are aiming at another election. I suspect most voters believe an ability to work together should be the first qualification.

Now look at the candidates. Whether we like it or not there are some names in politics that introduce rancor merely by their mention. For the party of Lincoln, we will have our teeth set on edge by anyone named Clinton. For the Democrats a similar reaction is evoked by the name Bush.

So it seems to me that voters should consider, not just the normal priorities, but also whether they really want to elect someone their opponents are already unable to work with. I am quite sure some want to continue the gridlock. Some are so fixated on dominating policy and elections that they only believe they are winning when their opponents are demonized and demoralized. These individuals would be too blind to realize they could win the election, but lose the country.

The Powerful New Court

Recently the Supreme Court made a subtle and important non-decision on gay marriage.

The non-decision happened like this. Alabama had a law banning gay marriage. It was voted into place by the majority of Alabama voters, but was then challenged and overturned by a federal judge. This decision will be brought up before the Supreme Court later this year, but in the meantime Alabama asked the Supreme Court to issue a stay preventing the issuing of marriage licenses to same sex couples until after the court decides.

The non-decision was refusing to hear and act on the request for a stay. Many have interpreted it as an indication the majority of the court is ready to rubber stamp anything and everything in regards to gay marriage.

This is not to say there are no dissenting voices. Clarence Thomas spoke strongly against the decision, and for my purposes against the implications of the non-decision.

He said the court demonstrates an “increasingly cavalier attitude toward the states.” He explained the federal courts fail to show “appropriate respect” to the states. He also reminds them they owe respect “to the people of those states who approved those laws.” He further said their behavior was formed “on questionable constitutional grounds.” And that their actions were “without any regard for the people who approved those laws in popular referendums or elected the representatives who voted for them.”

In other words, the Supreme Court, and courts in general, are expanding their power. But what will it mean for us all in the long run? We no longer have a representative government, but a shadow of one, more accurately guided by the supreme and uncontested power of the courts.

 

 

Marijuana’s Cost

Recently I saw a news report stating that Oreos could be more addictive than cocaine. Even more recently I heard the statement repeated once again that marijuana is not addictive.

Society is in the middle of a craze of legalizing marijuana. This movement was catalyzed by those who painted it as a miracle drug which is unfairly maligned when labeled as an illegal drug. But other strains of thought are also present. Some thought legalizing it would take a useless burden off law enforcement and correctional institutions. Others felt it was simply a freedom issue and these often advocate legalizing all drugs.

Of course, these ideas came along after a couple of generations grew up with prevalent use of marijuana among young people, movies which glorified marijuana, and politicians beginning to admit to marijuana use.

So all told I have been hearing about marijuana use for decades, with increasingly, the voices singing its praises drowning out those of caution. The road that got us here is likely to be less interesting than where we go from here.

America became great as a land of opportunity. Marijuana use demotivates the user. It may become the single largest force working against America regaining its momentum and strength. It might already be.

Bathroom Wisdom

One of the political movements that I can’t make heads or tails of is the law to give legal protection to those who choose to use the restroom labeled for the other gender. All over America, cities have passed laws making it legitimate for a man to enter a woman’s restroom and for a woman to use a man’s restroom.

This law is advocated as a means of supporting the LGBT community, but it also seems likely to have the effect of allowing predators easy access to victims. Apparently preventing sexual violence is of less concern than the possibility that a LGBT individual would feel oppressed by having to use the restroom designed for people of their same physical gender.

This is the root issue behind recent events in Houston. The mayor subpoenaed the sermons from five local pastors. She felt they had crossed some kind of line by preaching against the law before it was passed in that city. The idea her office could take charge of what was presented in local pulpits was eventually rejected. I have mixed reports on whether she is still seeking to access the statements and print communications made by these church leaders, outside of worship. Apparently she is under the impression pastors have a different freedom of speech than the rest of the country? So it’s illegal or immoral to oppose a law that is not passed yet?

So safety has to take a back seat to the LGBT demands. Then the first amendment is given an LGBT exception. Apparently LGBT concerns now rule the world.

Maybe we better rethink these choices. First give us back our constitution. I promise you, no matter how politically correct you think you are, you are going to miss it when it is gone.

Next let’s return to common sense. It is more important to return to protecting society from physical danger than from social awkwardness.

Finally, for those who feel oppressed, get over it. Get tougher, learn not to be a slave of your feelings. Allow yourself to be inconvenienced for the safety of others, rather than expecting others to be placed in peril to preserve your convenience.

Ebola and The Future

Ebola is scary. It has a death rate somewhere between 50% and 90%. There is no direct cure, only treatment of the symptoms. Furthermore it is a hemorrhagic virus, meaning that it causes bleeding, most visibly from the nose, but from other places including internally as well. Victims of Ebola generally bleed to death. Not coincidentally, horror movies have been showing us people dying in this this way for decades and have cemented it in our minds as scary—apocalyptically scary.

Containing the spread of the disease is presently achievable only by isolating the infection. There is no direct treatment of the virus, only management of the symptoms, and the spread of the disease has outpaced the ability of the affected African governments to manage it.

But, for those of us who are not in Africa, we can delude ourselves into thinking it will not reach us. Or perhaps we will choose to believe our technologically advanced nations will manage it better. Unfortunately these assurances have been undermined by the first attempts to deal with cases of Ebola here in the United States.

The case in Texas, which has been all over the news, has resulted in two additional cases so far according to the CDC 10/19/14 update. This one case, has resulted in two additional cases, so far. If we do not get better at containment, if we allow each of these cases to result in two additional cases and if that trend continues from there, then we are already in deep trouble. But I doubt we will continue to see this one to two ratio continue. I believe we will get better at isolating it.

Unfortunately, I also believe the mood in Africa is that infected people are left to die, because local resources are overwhelmed. Desperate people do desperate things. Those with resources will flee the parts of the world where the contagion is spreading. At least some of these will not know they are infected and will bring the virus with them, others will be hiding their symptoms hoping for better treatment.

I will not speculate further on the future of the disease, other than to say it is going to get interesting.

Presidential Cooperation

This past week, President Obama addressed the UN General Assembly. He spoke to several issues hoping make the world a better place. Notable among them was his plans for the world to come together and battle terrorism. Among his suggestions were guidelines to interrupt the flow of money to support terrorism. Specifically a plan to prevent citizens from one part of the world, funding subversive organizations in other parts.

On one front it looks like a great idea for our president to cooperate with the rest of the world. We like that he is showing leadership. But on the home front, I wonder why it is he has chosen to place blame on his opponents rather than to extend an olive branch of compromise? He has preferred to save his spirit of cooperation for the international scene.

The idea of laws being instituted over our country by the international community bothers me. Specifically as a Christian, who supports missionary work all around the world, I am concerned. You see the definition of terrorism is different from place to place, and miscommunication can be disastrous. On a side note, this is why a group like ISIS can think it is a good idea to publicly behead American citizens. They think they are saying to America, “Stay away from us.” They don’t know what we hear then saying is, “We need to be wiped off the face of the earth.” Miscommunication can be pretty extreme indeed.

In the future it seems very probable some locations will define the work of missionaries as terrorism. At that point, will every mission minded church in America be deemed guilty of supporting terrorist organizations or activities?