Posts Tagged ‘Tom Fields’

There is much discussion going on at this time pertaining to the Second Amendment and the right to carry a weapon. This amendment has been in place since the ratification of the Constitution. Since the early days of our country debate has taken place pertaining to this amendment and this has then led to courts throughout our great nation attempting to interpret what our founding fathers actually meant when they inked the Constitution which contained the second amendment. Emotions take on a new fervor when tragedy occurs as we have recently witnessed.
What did the founding fathers have to say about the second amendment and the right to bear arms after they had drafted the Constitution?
Thomas Jefferson wrote in the first draft of the Constitution, “”No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
In 1787 Jefferson wrote to James Madison, “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”
Today we hear something like this quote, “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” While we may associate this to today’s discussion on gun control, this was actually written by an 18th century criminologist and was then spoken by Jefferson. The debate about arming peaceful and law abiding citizens has been going on since the beginning of our nation.
Benjamin Franklin, inventor, statesman, signatory of the Constitution and scientist wrote, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
George Madison wrote, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country.” This is where the discussion of gun rights begins to open dialogue as to the intent of the second amendment. Is the second amendment a vehicle to insure that the citizens can own a firearm or is it the intent to insure that America can pull together an opposing force quickly and thus prevent oppression from another country. If the latter is the intent then what was referred to as the minuteman in 1776 is today the state National Guard. At the time of the Constitution writing, the colonies did not have their private militias nor their private store of weapons. It was the citizen militia that had to respond and bring their own weapons.
In 1788 Richard Henry Lee wrote, “A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves…and include, according to the past and general usuage of the states, all men capable of bearing arms… “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” This reinforces the discussion that the purpose of the second amendment was to insure that we had an armed standing militia and free men were to provide their weapons.
There is also a part of this writing that screams the truth of what we need to address today in our country; “especially when young, how to use them”. This is the part of our right to bear arms that has undergone no discussion. When we and our forefathers grew up we knew how to handle a weapon. This was taught to us from very early years and it was our fathers and grandfathers that taught us. Today this is a dying tradition, pardon the pun. Adages such as treat every gun as if it was loaded, never point a gun at anyone and keep the weapon pointed down range are not part of the vernacular when discussing guns. Never, never, never should a person place a gun to a person’s head and pull the trigger thinking it is unloaded. Never should a real gun be treated as if it is a part of a video game and never should a person be allowed to purchase a gun until they can show they know how to use it.
Gun education is probably an answer to gun control. Since the family unit no longer provides the majority of gun education, a training program for our youth may be required to insure that they know how to operate the weapon and when to use it.
There is one discussion today that assault weapons should have an age limit of 21 years. Others say that if a person can go into the army at 18 and carry an assault weapon then they should be able to buy one over the counter. If anyone goes through U.S. Army weapons training then this statement is true; they are trained to handle this weapon better than anyone on earth; but until that level of training takes place we are placing a weapon intended to do nothing more than kill into the hands of a person trying to figure just what they want to do in life.
The debate on gun control has been going on for 200 years and undoubtedly will continue for another 200 years.

 

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During our lives we have heard some really neat stories. Does this story sound familiar.
Carpenters, reed workers, and other people assembled one morning.
Five days later, the exterior walls of the boat of 120 cubits were laid out.
A drawing of the interior structure was made.
The boat had six decks divided into seven and nine compartments.
Water plugs were driven into the middle part.
Punting poles and other necessary things were laid in.
Three times 3,600 units of raw bitumen were melted in a kiln and three times 3,600 units of oil were used in addition to two times 3,600 units of oil that were stored in the boat.
When the boat was finished, the launching was very difficult. A runway of poles was used to slide the boat into the water.
Two-thirds of the boat was in the water.
Silver and gold was loaded into the boat.
He loaded “all the living beings that I had.”
His relatives and craftsmen, and “all the beasts and animals of the field” boarded the boat.
The time arrived, as stated by god , to seal the entry door.
Early in the morning at dawn a black cloud arose from the horizon.
The weather was frightful.
The land was lit with its’ lightning.
The land was shattered like a pot.
All day long the south wind blew rapidly and the water overwhelmed the people like an attack.
No one could see his fellows. They could not recognize each other in the torrent.
The flood and wind lasted six days and six nights, flattening the land.
On the seventh day, the storm was pounding like a woman in labor.
The sea calmed and the whirlwind and flood stopped. All day long there was quiet. All humans had turned to clay.
The terrain was as flat as a roof top. A window opened and felt fresh air on his face.
He fell to his knees and sat weeping, tears streaming down his face. He looked for coastlines at the horizon and saw a region of land.
The boat lodged firmly on mount Nimush which held the boat for several days, allowing no swaying.
On the seventh day he released a dove which flew away, but came back to him. He released a swallow, but it also came back to him.
He released a raven which was able to eat and scratch, and did not circle back to the boat.
He then sent his livestock out in various directions.
While many may see this as a purely Christian story that has been modified, it is in fact a story of a great flood that was chronicled in what is known as the Gilgamesh Epics. The story was written in the 7th Century before Christ and tells a story that is purported to telll of a man named Gilgamesh. He is said to have lived 2,700 years before Christ in Samaria, the land between the Tigress and Euphrates Rivers and what is known as the cradle of civilization. Later the Babylonians adopted the same story.
Stories we find in the Old Testament which provide very interesting reading are not solely a product of the Bible. Other religions and other people provide similar stories and thus helps to provide a common thread that links peoples from around the world and offers credence of various Biblical accounts.
Some may argue that the story could be a myth that was adopted from the Sumerians and the Babylonians. They are mid-Eastern civilizations that could easily have been copied by writers of the Old Testament. There is however, more to the flood story. Over 6,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean the Inca nation in Peru tell of a great flood that left two people to bring civilization to the world. A thousand miles north of the Inca nation, the American Hopi tribe tells of a great flood where only the most righteous were sealed in reeds that were used as boats. This is but a few of the civilizations around the world that talk of a great flood that destroyed much or most of humanity. While the tales have variations that reflect local cultures, the overlying story is the same; there was a great flood.

During the President’s State of the Union Address on February 2nd, the President stated that the MS13 violence is a prime example of why we need strong immigration laws and enforcement. He introduced the parents whose daughter had been murdered by the gang. Anyone with a trace of empathy had to feel the pain of the parents sitting in the great gallery of the American capital building.
Joey Reid of MSNBC commented on the Trump MS13 dialogue by minimizing his assertation of MS13 violence. She stated that if it were not for Fox News, no one would have even heard of MS13. This is not totally true as only a person living in a cocoon would have not heard of this evil gang. Several graphic and revealing documentaries have been produced that provide insight into this vicious gang. Reid’s attempt to politicize Trump’s comment and marginalize a dire threat to her audience did not go well. Her despicable comments were publicly condemned by the parents of the child that MS13 had murdered. Curiously, the Reid tirade had been posted on U-Tube. If an interested individual tries to view the comments the individual will receive notice that U-Tube no longer has the clip posted.
So what exactly is this MS13 gang and is it really a threat to America or just a talking point that is used to sensationalize the immigration issues raised by the current administration. Are any American citizens in jeopardy of physical danger from the gang known as MS13?
The MS 13 gang was founded in Los Angeles in the 1980s. It is made up of immigrants from San Salvador that came to America during the Central American Civil Wars. At the time the San Salvadorians came to Los Angeles, the predominant gangs in the city were composed of Mexicans and African Americans. In an effort to provide safety for San Salvadorians the MS13 gang was formed.
Many of the gang members have been deported. This led the deportees to recruit members in their homelands. One leader has been deported four times. The Los Angeles Times has been so bold as to surmise that due to deporting the gang members we are responsible for the expansion and influence of MS13. I’m not sure what the Times expects the government to do but it is imperative that we get these thugs our of our country.
In 2009 the MS13 gang numbered as many as 50,000 around the world. It was estimated that over 8,000 lived in America. In 2004 a task force was formed to confront the gang. This was a comprehensive force that consisted of the United States as well as El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. In 2005 the office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement launched an operation to clean up the scourge of the cities. By 2011 over 3,000 MS13 gang members had been arrested but the violence has continued. In the first three months of 2016, New York reported 17 deaths attributed to MS13.
Murder is not the only crimes that MS13 masterminds. Drug trafficking is a major money maker for the gang. Even more sickening is the use of children for prostitution. In 2011, eleven MS 13 members were convicted of child prostitution in Virginia and Maryland. Some of the young girls were as young as 14.
The American government has moved to a higher level of enforcement with the arrest of 214 gang members last November. They were charged with drug trafficking, child prostitution, human smuggling, racketing and conspiracy to commit murder.
The question now begs an answer, “Is MS13 a viable threat to Americans and America’s way of life?”. The answer is simple.
Another observation is that the city that founded MS13 and the state that has seen the biggest growth in the gang are now sanctuary cities and a sanctuary state. Los Angeles and California are both beautiful locals with rich culture and history and unfortunately, they have declared that they are turning their backs on many Federal laws that are intended to keep America safe.
One last observation is that it has been reported that MS13 has a major smuggling center in Mexico. There were also reports that MS13 sent agents across the American border to target U.S. Border agents.
America has declared that enough is enough and on July 28th, 2017, President Donald Trump declared that MS13 will be eradicated.

The debate continues about what can be done to prevent violence in the schools such as we have witnessed in Broward County. That horrific act fills the emotions of everyone except the most stonehearted across our nation. These emotions swell up into a frenzy that divides a great people as simple solutions to a very complex problem are suggested. In fact the solution is multi-faceted and will take social modification; financial asset reassignment; training and most importantly, cooperation, understanding and teamwork.
America is a nation of laws. We have no dictator and the laws come from the governed. We may not all ways agree to this statement but in fact the people that make our laws are elected by the citizens that the laws encompass. This thesis of a democratic nation holds validity of a democracy from the very lowest levels of local government through state government to our national régime. We have rights guaranteed by our constitution and these rights are provided to all citizens; however they are guaranteed only if they do not trounce on the very basic tenant of American rights. These are the rights of American citizens to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
When emotions run high we often let these emotions take control of rational thinking as we seek quick solutions to our problems. Over the past week we hear that gun control is the answer to the death of so many innocent lives being lost. We also hear that trained police officers refused to enter the school to stop the shooter and these officers are now receiving the wrath of a nation that ignores the police that did enter the school and thwarted even more deaths. Adults that took in a homeless adolescent had death threats posed on social media after they tried to comfort the youth for the loss of his mother, placed strict rules for the youth to follow and even called the police asking for help with the young man; the same man that slaughtered the children in Broward county.
The second amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms. It does not give Americans a right to take a gun and kill or injure someone else. We must understand there is a difference. It is known that some individuals are not emotionally fit to carry a weapon. This was not an issue when our founding fathers guaranteed that America could be armed. We must do an even better background check that better identifies an individual that has a high probability of performing gun violence if allowed to own a gun. This is a serious endeavor to balance personal rights versus safety and will require an unemotional response that is developed by professionals that understand the importance of this criteria. Both the NRA and Left Wing Liberals must come to some common ground, remove biases and develop criteria that is in the countries best interest.
One of the biggest threats to American ideals is the mis-use of social media and the social changes that it brings. A person reads some posted message that was made by a person whose post contains half truths or by a person that is totally ignorant of what is being posted. When it is read it is taken as fact and taken as fact without checking the source. This is leading to a world relying on mis-information as being the truth. This also leads to professionals that are responsible for our safe keeping to be inundated with false reports of potential danger. Unfortunately this can lead to a numbing effect on organizations that are continually receiving threat tips only to find that they are false. We need to change the understanding of what needs to be published while at the same time make it fully understood that every reported threat must be investigated by the proper authority.
When Germany determined that it would invade Switzerland during World War II, Switzerland called on its’ Army and Reserve Force to fill the mountain passes and thus Germany decided that the cost would be too great. The invasion never happened. We can think of our schools in the same manner. There has been quit a bit of discussion pertaining to arming school teachers. Perhaps using the Switzerland analogy in a school setting would discourage a shooter from entering the premise. There must be constraints though to arming teachers. A potential armed teacher must want to be armed and not forced to be armed. The armed teacher must be well trained in how to operate a weapon and must be extremely well trained in when to use the weapon.
The violence we are experiencing is complex we need to stand back and take a good look at what we must do to curtail this violence. At the same time we must address the horrendous violence that is rampant in the inner cities of America and what must be done to bring hope to that segment of society.

For anyone that is not aware we are in the middle of the Winter Olympic Games. What a wonderful sporting event for the world to witness. This is the 23rd time that the Olympics have been held (XXIII Olympiad) and is an add-on to the original games, the summer Olympics. Originally both the summer and winter Olympics were held on the same year. Recently this changed to provide more time to enjoy the games and thus allow time for sponsors to not be stretched so thin when it comes to marketing dollars.
The Olympics were supposed to be void of political intrigue and pure of heart. Unfortunately this has not all ways been true. The intestinal fortitude and sacrifice required for any Olympic athlete is nothing short of amazing. The pressure to participate and to win are enormous. For a select few the financial rewards are enormous but for most the opportunity to receive a single medal and stand on a podium as the flag of the winner’s country is hoisted makes it all worthwhile. This pressure to achieve is so great that many individuals and in some areas the majority of a countries teams will take illegal drugs to insure success.
When Russia invaded Afghanistan the Carter administration boycotted the Russian hosted Olympics to protest the invasion. Forget the purity of the games, it was then politicized. This year Russia, as a country, was banned from the Olympics due to sanctioned doping of its’ athletes. If athletes could be proven to not have performed any doping they would be allowed to participate in the Olympics; not as a part of the Russian country but listed as an athlete from Russia. No Russian flag would fly at these games.
America has it’ own political drama. Linsey Vaughn stated she would not go to the White House to visit President Trump if she won a medal. Unfortunately, it is the position and not the person that should be respected. This boycott does nothing for the country except to be divisive; however, Linsey does have every right to express her own views. Our founding fathers founded our nation on this concept and laws have been instituted to insure this right is protected. Unfortunately this freedom of speech and dissent is not a popular concept to many. After her first loss in a downhill event the Tweeters came out in droves with wishes of physical harm to the skier and hopes she continually loses. Two problems with this; first: she is still representing our country and she should be paid the respect for that and wish her good will, second: the presses assessment that the Trump supporters are wishing her bad luck is incorrect. Many Trump supporters do whish her good luck as a flag bearer of our nation. We are all Americans.
Korea has its’ own political drama. North Korea sent a contingent to the games. This is unprecedented and what is even more astounding is that some team sports consisted of both North and South Koreans competing together. The biggest point of intrigue was when the leader of North Korea’s sister arrived for the games and then offered an invitation to the leader of South Korea to meet with her brother. This has sent a flurry of diplomatic chatter between the United States and Korea and if unilateral talks take place between the two Koreas the United States will be in a very vulnerable position.
We have grossly underestimated the North Korean government. We thought it was a back wood country that was on the verge of collapse. They proved they had the ability to develop and the knowledge to hack into American computer systems. North Korea has built a nuclear weapon and now has developed a missile that can hit Washington D.C. Now they appear close to have performed and end-around of the United States diplomatically. They have definitely proven themselves to be a worthy adversary. One last political coupe that North Korea performed at the Olympics; the North Korean cheerleaders. North Korea sent an entourage of beautiful young cheerleaders to support North Korea during the Olympics. A minor detail that has proven to be a big hit at the games. No other country sends cheerleaders.
The original Olympic games were founded in ancient Greece in the country that developed and then spread the unorthodox concept of Democracy. The first Olympic games were founded in 776 B.C. These games were to honor religious gods Zeus and Pelops and consisted of athletic events. Wars were even suspended during the celebration. Due to the religious games the Spartans could not send its’ army to stop the Persians from invading Greece. Instead Sparta only sent 300 Spartans to stop the Persians from invading Greece. The games were held every 4 years, just as they are today. Location of the games was at Mt Olympus. City States and geographical areas of ancient Greece sent their athletes to compete just as countries compete today. But what was amazing was that the men competed for; glory and the admiration of their countrymen. The award was simple. A crown of olive leaves adorned the heads of the winners.

 

A patriot is defined as “a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.” Patriotism does not just rest in America but is ingrained in the souls of individuals around the world. The intensity of patriotic pride does vary in different countries and while it is very strong around our planet there is no country that claims patriotic pride any greater than the United States.
Colin Powell is a true American patriot. He was born to Jamaican immigrants and having risen through the ranks he became the first non-West Point graduate to become the Commander of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He later became Secretary of State. During his appointment as Secretary of State Powell was in Switzerland at a conference. While there he was asked about America’s use of hard power instead of soft power. Hard power is referred to as military options while soft power refers to negotiations.
Following the Spanish American War the United States went to war with the Philippines. Instead of giving the Philippines freedom the United States annexed it as a part of America. The Philippines thought that America was liberating them they found that they became an American colony. After years of fighting it became clear that America was not imperialistic and there is no true desire to conquer and dominate another country.
Powell’s response to the question in Switzerland reinforces what America truly is, identifies the true American spirit and portrays American patriotism at its’ best.
“The United States believes strongly in what you call soft power, the value of democracy, the value of the free economic system, the value of making sure that each citizen is free and free to pursue their own God-given ambitions and to use the talents that they were given by God. And that is what we say to the rest of the world. That is why we participated in establishing a community of democracy within the Western Hemisphere. It’s why we participate in all of these great international organizations.
There is nothing in American experience or in American political life or in our culture that suggests we want to use hard power. But what we have found over the decades is that unless you do have hard power — and here I think you’re referring to military power — then sometimes you are faced with situations that you can’t deal with.
I mean, it was not soft power that freed Europe. It was hard power. And what followed immediately after hard power? Did the United States ask for dominion over a single nation in Europe? No. Soft power came in the Marshall Plan. Soft power came with American GIs who put their weapons down once the war was over and helped all those nations rebuild. We did the same thing in Japan.
So our record of living our values and letting our values be an inspiration to others I think is clear. And I don’t think I have anything to be ashamed of or apologize for with respect to what America has done for the world.
We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we’ve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home to seek our own, you know, to seek our own lives in peace, to live our own lives in peace. But there comes a time when soft power or talking with evil will not work where, unfortunately, hard power is the only thing that works.”

A patriot is defined as “a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.” Patriotism does not just rest in America but is ingrained in the souls of individuals around the world. The intensity of patriotic pride does vary in different countries and while it is very strong around our planet there is no country that claims patriotic pride any greater than the United States.
Ever since Thomas Edison developed the motion pictures, patriotism was a main draw to the movies. In 1911 DW Griffith’s silent movie, “Birth of a Nation”, followed two families from the civil war through reconstruction. Though controversial due to racist background, it was an early entry to the patriotic movies produced in Hollywood. Nationalistic movies have spurred the patriotism in Americans and have helped to portray the history of our great nation.
Without fail these patriotic movies contain at least one rousing patriotic speech that instills pride in our country. One memorable speech was given by George C. Scott who won the Academy Award for best actor in the movie that also won best picture of the year; “Patton”. I have taken literary license to slightly clean up certain verbiage with the speech.
“Now, I want you to re0member that no person ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb person die for his country.
Men, all this stuff you’ve heard about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans, traditionally, love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle.
When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. Now, I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. Because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.
Now, an army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap. The bilious derelicts who wrote that stuff about individuality for the Saturday Evening Post don’t know anything more about real battle than they do about breathing.
Now, we have the finest food and equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world. You know, by God, I actually pity those poor guys we’re going up against. By God, I do. We’re not just going to shoot them. We’re going to cut out their living guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We’re going to murder those lousy Huns by the bushel.
Now, some of you boys, I know, are wondering whether or not you’ll chicken-out under fire. Don’t worry about it. I can assure you that you will all do your duty. The Nazis are the enemy. Wade into them. Spill their blood. Shoot them in the belly. When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend’s face, you’ll know what to do.
Now there’s another thing I want you to remember. I don’t want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position. We’re not holding anything. Let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly and we’re not interested in holding onto anything — except the enemy. We’re going to hold onto him by the nose, and we’re gonna kick him in the butt. We’re gonna kick the hell out of him all the time, and we’re gonna go through him like crap through a goose!
Now, there’s one thing that you men will be able to say when you get back home, and you may thank God for it. Thirty years from now when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you, “What did you do in the great World War II?” — you won’t have to say, ‘Well, I shoveled shit in Louisiana.’”
When going through SEABEE training in Pt Hueneme, California I had been taunting how great our state was. Louisiana could do no harm; and then we went to see “Patton”. They never let me live down that final statement.
Patton hated Louisiana due to the Louisiana maneuvers he participated in prior to World War II. These maneuvers were the final use of horses by the U.S. Army Calvary. The derogatory comment that referenced Louisiana dealt with shoveling out the horse pens. If all goes right we hope to be fortunate enough to relive the Louisiana Maneuvers in the future through the eyes of the Union Museum of History and Art.