An Apology For A Life Of Insensitivity……

I am writing this week to in an attempt to find peace after living a life of utter insensitivity. I have come to notice how this horrible trait permeates my existence from day to day and somehow, if I acknowledge these shortcomings, I might find solace.

First, I acknowledge the the sin of reading to my children and grandchildren from Dr. Seuss, Mark Twain and Laura Engles Wilder. I meant well, but know I have damaged them. I also am guilty of serving them pancakes made from Aunt Jemima batter and of all things allowed the use of syrup by the same name. Compounding this egregious conduct, I served Land-o-Lakes butter, an obvious affront to the Inuit population, a group slandered by the moniker “Eskimo”. We have enjoyed far too many Eskimo Pies, a treat contemptuous of the Inuits. I am deeply chagrined by my decision to actually drive on streets named after confederate generals. That was so callous.

On a personal level, I love white meat from the poultry that is a staple in our home. This is an obvious affront to dark meat and should have been obvious. How could I? We are also fond of rice, a carryover from our southern heritage, and have even eaten Uncle Ben’s rice. Oh the magnitude of that transgression. As a kid, I enjoyed a Mr. Potato Head, oblivious to the fact that I was relegating the female gender to second class status. I deeply regret the wonderful float trips on the White River as the Black River was so close. I just was not thinking. Without giving it a thought, I casually pull on Cotten underwear, with little regard for the fact that many years ago, black slaves toiled in fields chopping Cotten for the convenience of people who wear underwear.

The insensitivity goes on. How could I possibly enjoy a slice of cold watermelon? My eyes have been opened to the horrible implications of Father’s Day. Clearly this day should be renamed Hermaphrodite Day, to acknowledge the importance of folks who are genuinely afflicted. No more white sheets for us, only sheets of color. I am repulsed by the many loaves of White Bread on the shelves, with nary a loaf of black bread to be had. In this age of food coloring, you would think this matter easily resolved. I have allowed my insensitivity to show in the preference for white vehicles, probably a genetic flaw as a result of my southern heritage. There are plenty of black, brown and red vehicles around and I should know better.

I have come to appreciate the necessity of renaming the teams that challenge the sensitivities of folks who cannot identify with the racist monikers such as Indians and Chiefs. I would welcome the Cleveland Indians being renamed the Cleveland Multi-Culturals, and the Kansas City Chiefs the Kansas City Amoebas, after a harmless one cell organism not offensive to anyone.

Cancel Culture explained, visually.

America does not need a bright, capable head of state backed by an energetic congress who makes the people their priority. America needs more sensitivity. The cry of the cancel culture mobs, even though they constitute a minority in our population, needs to be heard. We are at a fork in the road my dear readers. If you choose the left route and do your research, it is likely that you can find a new way to trample the cultural norm and get your three minutes of fame. You will be among the liberals and Democrats that are currently driving the bus. If you go to the right, you can join conservative America that shakes it heads at the ludicrousness of the cancel culture movement. My satire is obvious, and I thank God that I am not a Democrat today. If this movement wasn’t as dangerous as it is, I would need a sedative to quell my hysterical laughter at what is happening.

God help us.

Have a good weekend!

The Art Of The Tip……..

The significance of tipping for services began for me in 1965 when I was unceremoniously delivered to the office of the manager of the Ft. Leonard Wood commissary, or grocery store for those who aren’t into military lingo. My new, and first, boss was Mrs. Mabel Steward, who drove daily from the community of Evening Shade, south of the post, to supervise the operations of the store. At the age of 16, I began a job that was as consistently physically demanding as any I have held since, a job that was compensated entirely through tips for service. I was a bag boy, packing groceries into paper sacks and delivering them to car side and loading them in cars. My clientele was military, usually dependents, and ran the gamut from frugal to generous. I have never forgotten the delicate dance that occurs between a service provider and the customer, and the significance of a generous tip. Haircuts were mandatory and a white shirt and tie was the standard.

First the ergonomics. Lifting double bagged canned goods into cars as well as watermelons, cartons of tripe (yes, tripe), as well as handling fragile goods on a good day was tough work. On a rainy day you learned about expediency and efficiency. Each customer from the bread and milk folks to the beginning of the month, double cart loads, needed to be met with a smile and courtesy. Occasionally, you encountered the customer who tipped poorly or not at all, which required a little more effort, but a customer they were and unpleasant responses were not acceptable to Mrs. Mabel. In those days, military families lived month to month and the first 3 days of a new month were met by huge orders of groceries and better tips. We averaged about 5 customers, packed and loaded, per hour with the bread and milk folks adding a few more. We worked behind 12 cashiers, all with the big manual NCR cash registers, and these folks could really fly on their machines. The cashiers knew full well the significance of their demeanor on the compensation of the bag boys, and could converse with customers and check with NASA like efficiency.

Near the end of the month, you would average around 10 bucks a day in compensation. Earlier in the month, you could count on a number of 20 to 25 dollar days with the best tips being a dollar on a double cart carry out. We knew who the good tippers were. There were far more customers who requested a particular bag boy than you might expect, and they compensated accordingly. As hard as it might be to believe, a number of the carry out “boys” were grown men who supported a family with this work. We had a break area and our breaks were not scheduled, but loitering or leaving registers unserviced would bring the affable Mrs. Mabel out to correct the inefficiency. Our responsibilities included keeping the floors clean behind the registers, stocking bags and policing spills and such up. When it snowed, we manned the shovels and kept the loading areas snow free and safe. It was damned hard work, well compensated for the era, and priceless in terms of human relations. Before the end of my tenure in this rather menial job, I was selected to supervise the bagging crew. I began understanding supervision and teamwork at the age of 17, lessons you will not garner at Harvard or Princeton. I also began understanding America’s fascination with titles, as we referred to ourselves as “commodities packing and transfer specialists”, far more impressive to the girls in school than “bag boy”.

During my years as a commodities packing and transfer specialist, otherwise known as a bag boy!

Today, Sharon and I overtip by the standards that currently exist. It is because I understand the tipping concept and because we absolutely love to see Americans work for a living. When time permits we talk with our waitresses and waiters, and mention their efficiency to the managers and floor supervisors. In turn, these service providers remember us, often calling us by name when we are seated, resulting in a pleasant meal or other service where tipping is customary. From experience, I know that an extra dollar or two on top of a normal gratuity means much more to the provider than it does to me. After a long day on your feet, seeing to the needs of customers, a dollar or two in extra compensation from each customer results in a broad smile when the provider makes it home, kicks off their shoes, and tally’s the days income. I know this……again from experience.

Only a seriously, mathematically challenged individual does not understand that increases in the minimum wage will be passed directly to the consumer. These increases will tend to shrink tipping and result in layoffs and business failures. Tips, where permitted, will make more difference than ever before. A large, vanilla Diet Coke at Sonic, even at happy hour, is worth at least a buck for the purveyor of this nectar……a transaction that leaves all concerned feeling better. Tips, my dear readers, are important.

Have a great weekend!


The Ammunition Crises Explained…..

Within the past month or so, I stopped in my favorite toy store, Bass Pro, to pick up a few boxes of .22 caliber ammunition, with the intent of taking a new rifle to the range and tuning it up for the late squirrel season. I quickly discovered the days of grabbing ammunition for an afternoon shoot are on hold. I did find a box of .223 ammo and proceeded to the check out where I waited behind a gentleman buying over $1,000.00 dollars worth of .38 ammo, presumably for resale. There are many things wrong with that day’s experience prompting a look into this shortage for the benefit of my readers who either own a firearm or know someone who does.

If 37 million gun owners would just write their Congressman…..

It is obvious that demand has exceeded supply. The question is why. In the days before Covid, about a year ago, supply easily exceeded demand. All was well. Obviously Covid has been an ingredient in the shortage recipe, however civil unrest, often violent in nature, a white hot presidential election and the installation of the party of gun control is in the driver’s seat. Congress and the Presidency are controlled by folks who have never met a gun they liked. Add to this recipe around 7 million new American gun owners and you can start to see the makings of trouble for folks who enjoy firearms, but cannot find ammunition.

Back to my .22 ammunition experience. The makers of this diminutive little bullet tell us that if they stop taking orders today, it will take two years to fill the existing back orders with a price tag of around 1 billions dollars. A thoughtful business mind would conclude that more production is the answer, perhaps building new factories. Not so says the industry. Factories are excruciatingly expensive and current 24 hour production schedules will eventually fill the demand. It is unwise to build new factories to see them out of production in a year or so. We must also remember the shortage is cyclical in nature, as in 2017 when ammunition supplies easily exceeded demand.

Now it starts to get sticky. Manufacturers are starting to raise prices to distributors, logically reflecting the increase in production hours and labor costs. Market savvy folks know that when prices are high enough, folks won’t be stockpiling full combat stores of ammo. In simple terms, prices will discourage hoarding, something new to America on the levels we have seen recently during the pandemic. If you are one of the folks who has a thousand rounds of .223 in your basement or who has built a bunker to store obscene stockpiles of ammo, then you are part of the problem. Buying hundreds of expensive, personal defense ammunition for your 9mm is ludicrous, as the chances of touching off even one shot is incredibly low. By the same token, enough full metal jacket, for the range, makes perfect sense.

Has the new administration ordered the stockpiling of ammunition or ordered production slowed? Have they attempted to slap a high tax on ammunition? Not yet, but stay tuned. They will likely exhaust every effort to somehow make ammunition the centerpiece of their desire to crush the 2d Amendment. The new boss has blank executive orders at his breakfast table, and signs them anytime he can find his glasses. It is necessary, in most cases, to challenge these orders in the courts, and that takes time. Stay vigilant on this sensitive political issue. Boss Biden really has no need to think about running for a second term so he will run over anything he disagrees with.

A good strategy going forward through 2021 is to stay calm, shop for ammo deals on line, don’t buy and shoot that cheap Russian crap, and ease up on those long strings of .223 while on the range with your AR. The days of paying a buck a round for 9mm will likely disappear sometime this year and we can go back to the pastime so many of us love. Support your favorite 2d Amendment advocacy group to the extent you are comfortable and pick up the pen and put your thoughts on paper. Don’t miss an opportunity to teach a kid, or your wife or husband to shoot, safely and accurately.

Have a good weekend!


There Is No gender Equality in Car Crashes….

We have had it up to here with this gender equality thing, where boys are girls and girls are boys. This crazy concept is all the rage among woke folks who prefer blurred lines in our world today, however; as we will soon see, there is a difference in the world of car wrecks between the sexes. Almost every one of us drives an automobile of some sort, almost every day. Let’s talk about what is really happening on our streets and highways as it relates to gender. Twisted metal, blood and asphalt can tell us something about the differences in men and women.

One of my forefathers taking a break!

Men die at a much higher rate than women in automobile crashes. Period. That is because men are not as risk adverse as women. Generally speaking, males tend to do more stupid things. Crashes involving males are often more severe than women, however women are more likely to be killed or injured than males in an equally severe accident. We know that women, in frontal collisions, are 3 times more likely to suffer a broken bone, concussion or other moderate injury and twice as likely to suffer a collapsed lung or traumatic head injury. Is structure, musculature, or weight a factor? The weight and type of vehicle may also be a factor in this statistic. Death is the result of simple physics, the more weight at a given speed requires more energy to stop. This dissipation of energy is what tears a human body or vehicle apart. The answer is elusive. I supervised the Traffic Division for the Missouri State Patrol along the way, a place where accidents were studied at great depth in an effort to positively impact injury and death rates on our highways. Statistics are slow to develop but can be enlightening. It is snowing out, Texas has just experienced a 100 car pileup due to icing on an Interstate, and our body shops are busy estimating and scheduling. This is a perfect time to review what we know. Grab a cup and have a look.

From 1975 through 2018 vehicle occupant death rates have been about 2 times higher for males than females. There has been a notable decline (56% for males and 39% for females) in total deaths. (Likely due to both highway and vehicle engineering and sophisticated enforcement strategies). Let’s look at age. In 2018, males 80 and older suffered the highest death rate per mile driven, followed by males aged 20-29. Male drivers and passengers are twice as likely to die as women in a vehicle driven by a male with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher. It’s the risk aversion thing again. Clearly a case can be made for the difference between males and females, with females showing better judgement. To further illustrate this point, a much greater percentage of males, as opposed to females, involve excessive speed in the equation that led to a fatal accident. Speed DOES kill.

Where are we here? Approximately 29% of all vehicle deaths were female. Males accounted for 48% of all passenger deaths, 3% of large truck deaths were female and females account for 28% of all large truck passenger deaths. Males account for 69% of pedestrian deaths, 86% of bicyclist deaths and 91% of all motorcycle deaths.

The bottom line. When your wife suggests you slow down, yield at an intersection or signal a turn, pay attention. When she asks for the keys at the end of an evening filled with libation, give ‘em up. She is much more likely to be hurt when your episode of driving with your head in your butt leads to a crash and she knows better…..the numbers don’t lie!

Have a wonderful, if not cold, weekend!


The Habu And The Mongoose…….

As a kid, I traded the comfort of a hometown for the life of a military dependent, beginning with my birth in Japan. Along the way, we lived in Okinawa, an island in the Ryukyu chain, running south from mainland Japan. This island is populated by a deadly snake with the moniker Habu. Venomous snakes are generally not well thought of and the Habu can deliver a nasty bite with dire consequences. It’s natural enemy is a rodent known as a Mongoose. This weasel looking little guy is lightening quick and ferocious when he confronts a Habu. The locals in Okinawa often stage fights between these two sworn enemies, a spectacle you will not soon forget. Blood flies and the snake is usually vanquished.

The snake relies on quickness, venom and constricture to win the fight, while the mongoose is cunning, lightening quick and possesses a sharp set of teeth. It helps that Habu venom has little effect on the rodent. I have witnessed one of these fights and absolutely did not enjoy it, but can attest to the ferocity of the little mongoose as he dispatched the snake. The natives know that a well rested mongoose is going to to be deep trouble for the snake so they up the odds by increasing the threat to the Mongoose by placing two or more snakes in the pit with him. This gins up interest in paying to watch the spectacle. I am guessing there is a certain number of snakes that it takes to destroy the mongoose, but am not privileged to that number. Suffice to say, a Mongoose is not welcome in a den of Habu’s and the meeting is going to end fatally for one of the critters. Clearly, a nest of Habu’s will figure out a way to destroy the intruding little Mongoose. It is the natural order of things.

Nature teaches us that upsetting the natural order of things usually doesn’t end well. In the case of these two natural enemies, neither one would make a good pet as an astute person would never turn his back on them. If forced to have one in your home, you would likely die from sleep deprivation, induced by sleeping with one eye always open. For the life of me, I see little value in poisonous snakes and am sure the Mongoose was created to manage snake populations. I can also attest to the fact that a Mongoose does not back down from a snake and can be depended upon to fight like hell when confronted. While it’s mission is honorable, the style and nastiness of the method leaves something to be desired if you are the slightest bit squeamish. The diminutive little guy knows no fear and intimidates any snake he encounters, unless of course, the snakes have superior numbers. In Okinawa, experienced Mongooses are revered, snakes not so much. One last point, there are far more snakes than Mongooses.

Nature’s lesson

I like analogies and this missive is intended as such. You have to admire the courage of a Mongoose when he encounters a snake(s) and steels himself for the fight. There are those that wager on the rodent and those that wager on the snake, but the snake bettors seldom will place money on a even competition. They operate best when they are in a nest which multiplies their deadly tendencies. I’ll leave it to the reader to humanize this analogy and match it to the times. Who are the snakes? Who is the Mongoose? Who are the spectators? What happens when the snakes prevail? What happens when the Mongoose prevails? Where is the arena? Which critter do you want to live with? We can learn from the Habu and the Mongoose. I know that I have.

Enjoy the weekend!


Guns, Sociopaths and 2020………

I don’t dwell much on images that appear in the rear view mirror, but occasionally it is necessary so that we might keep things in perspective. With Joey Biden signing executive orders as if they were Christmas cards, those of us that constitute the so-called “gun culture” would do well to consider gun violence in 2020. It was a mixed bag, but it usually is. Joey and his boys and girls do not like guns and screaming from the lawn at his minions who come after yours is not going to be effective. Facts, however, always are. As I write, you cannot find ammunition in any of the popular calibers and there are waiting lists for the latest firearms. In the present political climate, I do not see that changing.

Fear no evil……..

The year 2020 saw the fewest number of “mass” KILLINGS in the last ten years. A mass killing is loosely defined as four or more killings in a single incident or 24 hour time frame. Cutting to the chase here, there were 19 such incidents in 2020 as opposed to 32 in 2019. Half of these incidents involved family members and the others were generally involving the drug trade and gang wars. Two of these shootings were what drives fear and scares the hell out of folks, such as concerts, churches, a restaurant or other public venue. People who commit these public massacres are sociopathic, deranged or otherwise bat shit crazy as they say down in the hills. Often they are trying to settle a score with society over some perceived injustice. They walk among us and there is little we can do about them until they act on their deadly impulses.

Interestingly, there has been a rather sharp increase in mass SHOOTINGS, the criterion being 4 or more folks shot but not killed. In America, according to the Gun Violence Archive, there were about 50 of the non fatal incidents a month last year. Why, you ask. Sociologists might suggest that being laid off, idle time, schools being closed and the unbelievable numbers of guns being procured by a population fearful of having a constitutional right stripped from them by an administration that believes themselves to be omnipotent, might have something to do with it. Others might conclude the shooters were not very proficient. After all, we now have a President who offered to beat up folks on several occasions while campaigning, thus suggesting violence as a perfectly reasonable response to a situation that he cannot handle otherwise. I seriously question his ability to cope, but that is another story.

Here is the point. There is an estimated 434 million guns in the hands of private US citizens, of which an estimated 21 million were sold in 2020. About 37% of American households own one or more guns.While any unlawful shooting is genuinely regrettable, there is not much happening here that is newsworthy. The media sees little value in the story of a homeowner killing an intruder, as happened in a community near here this week, by all accounts a perfectly legal response to a situation that had resulted in injury to the homeowner before he ended a burglars career. To provide a reference for gun mortality, in 2016, more than 30,000 adults died in falls in the US. Statistically, Alabama experienced about 25 fatal falls per 100,000 folks while Wisconsin experienced 143 deaths per 100,000. About 800 adults a year are killed while riding bicycles in vehicular traffic. Remember reading about these statistics? No, these folks were just as dead as if shot on a corner, however; the death did not involve a gun or politician. (I would suggest that a correlation can be made between walking on ice as opposed to walking in the red dirt of Alabama as far as falling is concerned.)

Americans are frightened and very angry. Coronavirus, an economy that has been crushed, and an administration that has gone wild with executive fiat is in office. We are a sharply divided people with little relief in sight as the polarization is being stoked by a President who talks unity but does the opposite. Guns are an easy target. They do not vote, are capable of great destruction and are never viewed through a favorable prism. They are also deadly in the hands of a statistically small segment of our society that has zero in terms of the ability to cope.

The year over year trend in unnecessary gun violence is somewhat favorable, however attacking guns isn’t the answer. We need to get a handle on the terrorist culture, not the gun culture. When ANTIFA, BLM, and street gangs are given wide latitude to pursue their anti-social agenda, bad things are going to happen. Housewives aren’t buying handguns in unprecedented numbers because they suddenly want to burn powder at the range. They are doing it for personal protection from thugs who enjoy their personal protection in the form of an inert government with their heads in the sand. You can bet on it.

Have a great weekend!


The New Guy Is In Office…….

Folks, it is time to shift gears and focus on our job ahead. Whether you think he won, stole or other wise assumed the Presidency through fraud, chicanery or other means, Joey Biden is the new sheriff in town. You saw it happen on live TV, replete with his wonderful son, Hunter by his side. We don’t have to like it, but we’re going to live with it until his waning mental capacity runs out or he is timed out in four years. If the Trump administration taught us anything, it taught us how to criticize like never before. Hang on Joey, you’re not going to like this.

Where the hell was your plea for unity four years ago, Joey?

First, follow the money. The new administration is going to need buckets of it to push their agenda through. Covid has taught us that being thrifty at the government level is not necessary. Thrifty is a word to describe what ordinary Americans are living through to keep the lights on and food on the table. The progressive agenda, that will bite Joey in the ass every waking minute he is in office, will cost an arm and a leg, all through taxation, something the Democratic Party knows a lot about. The lying has started with Corn Pop Joey reneging on his promise to distribute 2 grand to Americans for Covid relief. Check the headlines in Georgia where Democratic leaders are already having buyers remorse over their Senatorial vote for guys who promised a “new” check for the big 2 which is now being scaled back by Corn Pop, to 1400.

Next we need to watch this immigration thing. We have third world throngs on the march, loudly quoting Corn Pop’s pledge to open our borders. It is going to take a lot of money to feed these new Democratic voters and take care of their medical needs. Remember, Corn Pop wants the census redone to include these folks in the count so as to inflate voter roles, increase Democratic Base support and favorably impact re-districting. Corn Pop has already shut down construction of the wall, which is akin to fencing half of your yard….but that is another story.

Next up, for folks that are engaged, is the 2d Amendment. Corn Pop and his troop have never seen a gun they like. The courts have generally viewed the 2d Amendment favorably for folks who understand guns so we breathe a little more easily. Before you grab your AR and rip a magazine down range at steel plate, think about taxation. Taxation has nothing to do with anything other than raising money and influencing a political issue. When the courts finally decide YOU can decide what kind of gun you want, Corn Pop and his crew will tax the hell out of ammunition and accessories to a level that makes owning a gun on par with owning a car. Remember, Obama pushed his health care fiasco through on the basis of taxation.

Now for the Covid thing. Corn Pop has no more idea about how to improve this situation than I do. He is issuing an order suggesting that a mask on airplanes and trains is going to fix the problem. He is going to manage the roll out of vaccines expeditiously, never mind that until manufacturing capacity is geared up, his super efficient distribution plan has nothing to distribute. You do have to marvel, though, on his selling of Corona virus mismanagement to enough folks to get him the seat in the Oval Office.

Let’s talk gasoline. Corn Pop and his pal John Kerry, are going to fix the world wide pollution problem through an all out war on the fossil fuel industry. Never mind that most of the precious metals necessary to battery production come from Russia and China, and that solar power, to date, has evolved to the point where a good solar powered Seiko watch will quit in a day or so without being in the presence of the sun. Most of the world wants clean air, but the big guns in nasty air are China and Russia, at last check run by the Communist Party who have little regard for the opinions of John “Swift boat” Kerry and Corn Pop. Please don’t ignore the application of taxes on fossil fuels, remember, we have learned that political gains can be made through this wonderful tool!

Finally there is the push for what I call “unisex”. We have a new cabinet level, transgender person in Corn Pop’s circus. I get it, boys can love boys and girls can love girls, the commercials on television are teaching us this in no uncertain terms. I am an old veteran and sometimes you get naked in wartime situations, and with the confusion of combat that permeates a battlefield, I am not sure that having a person who exhibits characteristics of both sexes in a fighting position with you is a good thing. I can guarantee there is going to be tension and likely a problem here…..but what the heck, to each his own. My advice to Corn Pop is to slow down just a bit. It has taken us hundreds of years to get where we are, and this process will not be helped by the new found urgency that Corn Pop’s rainbow coalition is pushing.

We are in for a ride, my friends, and we must not lose focus. We are up to our armpits in the liberal revolution comprised of the media, the progressives and the democratic arm of the Republican Party. Stay vigilant and in touch with the courageous, not yet jaundiced legislators we know are out there. Re-focus………part one is in the books.

Have a wonderful weekend!


My First Week Without Facebook……

I made it! Like an alcoholic rocking back at the Betty Ford Center where celebrity drinkers go to regain control of their lives, I have endured a full week without social media. It wasn’t as bad as I expected, even though I love communication in all it’s forms. A candid assessment is in order here so let’s get started.

To be sure, there are a number of things that I miss. Before signing off, I read where a good friend lost a beloved hunting companion in the form of his pointer dog. I feel fortunate to share in his grief that is known only to those of us who love our dogs. I will miss the opportunities to help friends with a kind word when they suffer an egregious loss in their family, whether it be a dog or a person. There is a nagging reality that I may never know of these losses, a real benefit of social media. Along those lines, social media offers a glimpse, sometimes a little deeper than is necessary, into the health of those who you care about. I miss the reassurance that comes with being in a herd of like minded people to face the political uncertainty of our future. When you rely on mainstream media (I do not) the truth is so far from reality, it challenges your very notion of right and wrong. I am getting along just fine with the Wall Street Journal and our local televised news outlets. I miss the opportunity to shovel sarcasm in a forum that offers ample opportunities to do so. Folks who have made a living in the uniformed services all have a mechanism to deal with the harsher realities of life, a common bond that requires little thought to decipher. I miss my association with them and those who support them.

What do I not miss? I do not miss the uneasy feeling when confronted with “fact” that has no factual basis. I do not miss sorting through proclamations and propaganda designed to stir emotion and sway perception. I do not miss the push by big tech to control the message. I do not miss the absolute declarations of certainty by people who should damned well know better than to rely on “always”, “never” “only” and other declarations offered in defense of a position. With the exception of math, life and death, these words should be banned from use. I do not miss the cheer leading that comes with espousing an opinion, especially when the cheerleaders do not have the intellect to challenge a position with reason and instead offer a cute personal insult. I don’t miss the cowards who slink around these forums, offering opinions that cannot be challenged. These are the people who are brave hearts when sitting in their living rooms and spineless one on one. Every debate coach in America has to blanche at the lack of intellect it takes to push a ridiculous point in this forum. Facebook has exposed a chink in my personal armor. I have tended to accept friends based on the preferences of other, well meaning friends who might not have the same criteria that I rely on. Social media opens a world of personal preference and personal data to folks you simply don’t know.

Easy enough!

My departure from Facebook has provided me the opportunity to begin scrubbing my public persona and manage friendships the old way, email, the telephone and pen and paper, the only true record of one’s image. Sure, my withdrawal from social media has been challenging, and I am sure there are many aspects that I have not yet realized.

So far…….so good!

Have a great weekend!


Social Media, The Great Enabler……..

Yesterday, I deactivated my Facebook account. I am certain this deactivation will lead to a permanent divorce from this insidious killer of friends and I will likely go back to the old ways of communication. While the social media platforms allow the instant expression of opinion and conviction, they also are terribly destructive. It occurred to me that I was participating in a unbelievably dangerous exercise that chooses friends and makes enemies while the politically aligned owners of the platforms revel in their incredible power to control the message. I am 71 years old, and do not need to play their game.

An amazing addiction

First up, are friends lists. Folks when someone is “unfriended” it is not a divorce, replete with a division of property and courtroom fight. Unfortunately, that is how is is viewed. In reality it often means we are fed up with the cheer leaders who offer one shot, personal attacks in support of your “friends” position. It is like watching a playground fight, with bystanders cheering on their favorite participant. We tend to choose friends with an eye to whom they are friends with….and this is complicated. I think you see my point.

Social media has incredible power. I am finished with permitting them to subtly manage my response to the political scene in America that I feel is as threatening as any event since the division over Vietnam. Sorry to say, I have allowed myself to be pulled into this discussion in a vivid and dangerous way. When you are provided with advisories that suggest your association with policing may be exposing you to retribution from those who do not appreciate the profession, you are are not the sharpest pencil in the box if you persist. At the end of the day, it has occurred to me that my opinions on political matters are of little passing interest to folks whose minds are made up. Like a trout laying behind a rock, I have been too quick to take the bait, and that is squarely on me. Social media enables carefully scripted nonsense while weeding out differing opinion to suit their political agenda. The problem is that nonsense to one is gospel to the other and big tech manipulates the message.

Foreign interference in our affairs must love social media. It is the perfect conduit for psychological warfare in a country that feeds on freedom of expression and an open media. This topic alone is worthy of pages of discourse as it is yet another insidious aspect of social media. Instead of scripted little paper messages from an airplane, or Tokyo Rose broadcasts to our troops, it is a keystroke away from our offices and living rooms. Congress talks about it, but as of yet, hasn’t gotten off their collective asses to address this issue.

Finally, I am concerned with just what the social media giants know about me. I find it fascinating that if I google a new fish bait, I am soon bombarded with ads for bass boats and the latest package junkets to New Zealand and it’s fishing. They know I am a conservative, likely my church affiliation, what kind of car I drive and what my dining preferences are. They know that I am a 2d Amendment supporter, where I live and about my vacation preferences. They know exactly which politicians I prefer and those that I loathe. It is a sad state of affairs when Facebook knows more about you than your most trusted friend who will always have your back. In this vicious, divided environment in America, a bullhorn is not advisable. There are too many folks who hate bullhorns……..

I recall specifically where I was and what I was doing when a friend suggested that I join Facebook. Another friend, sitting with us, suggested in the strongest possible terms that becoming involved with social media would be the biggest mistake that could possibly be made. Friend number 2 was not persuasive. I should have listened to him. To those of you who enjoy social media, may God bless you. There are many great aspects to this discourse enabler. For me, I have reached the point where the disadvantages outweigh the advantages and I will go back to print media, the local news and email to accomplish my information needs. Like any addict, I will waver in my resolve, but believe I can break the habit. When something is no longer fun, experience has taught me to stay away from it.

The paper was just delivered, time to catch up!


There Is No Checklist In Police Work…….

Pilots learn early in their training to rely on a checklist to safely fly an aircraft of any shape and size. Interestingly, experience has little to do with the requirement to rely on a carefully prepared checklist to make sure that you fly safely and competently. One of my flying mentors, an airline super pilot with over 30,000 hours, still relies on a methodical checklist review before calling for clearance to fly. He flew 777’s all over the world and now flies General Aviation airplanes with the same degree of diligence. Police officers, when they hit the streets, do not have a checklist. Human nature does not lend itself to uniformity, and one approach does not serve every need. Let’s talk about it a bit.

The current lack of support for the policing profession is rooted in the unfortunate death of folks in police confrontations. It is popular to demand that police officers be retrained with an emphasis on peaceful resolution of confrontation as if a degree in psychology is going to be helpful in handling an intoxicated individual who is hell bent on fighting. Rather than advantaged, the psychologist is going to be woefully under equipped to handle a sociopath who is brandishing a deadly weapon and advancing menacingly. There is no time to apply a textbook, clinical technique to the management of this confrontation. Someone is going to get hurt. I can guarantee that political figures who want policing defunded would rather have an armed, street wise officer between them and a homicidal sociopath than a school trained conversationalist. When this encounter develops, there is no time for a checklist. Again, someone is likely going to get hurt.

Congratulations to the fringe who has managed to fool the fools in charge.

I am writing today, because reasonable people are being led by folks who are anything but reasonable. Oregon has just legalized heroin and crystal meth for recreational use, thus turning another group of potentially dangerous folks out to be regulated by the police. We are on the verge of completely legalizing marijuana with no empirical system in place to determine the degree of impairment while driving or interacting in public. The police will handle the problems without the aid of a checklist. These political figures are bending to the will of a presumably small element of our society and handing off their regulation to the police. There is no checklist for handling a meth addled person who has become violent. In these confrontations there is, again, a very real possibility that someone is going to get hurt. The officer’s role is to determine exactly who that someone is. I am guessing that political figures that scream for the abolishing of the police have little respect for authority in the first place. Reason is nowhere to be seen in their lame justifications.

It is believed that medical error accounts for over 250,000 deaths in America each year, the third leading cause of death. We still stand behind our medical professionals and recognize the practice of medicine is an inexact science that involves judgement. Is it too much to ask that we accord police professionals more respect than suggesting this profession that delivers thousands upon thousands of peaceful resolutions each year be tossed? I think not.

We begin the year with “0” on the score card for police deaths. This score will begin to climb in short order and we need to recognize the role the police play in instilling order in what would otherwise be a chaotic and self destructing free society. We work without a checklist……..because a checklist won’t work. Just as there is no uniformity in people, there is no uniformity in approaches to them……….

Have a great weekend, and super New Year!