The Case for Books…..

I am a serial reader. That is my confession, made unapologetically. I am hopelessly addicted to the feel, smell and comfort that words on paper provide. There are few pastimes where hoarding is respected and the collection of books is one of them. When life grants a pause, I choose to read, something, anything, rather than sit idly by with a brain in neutral. Let’s have a look at this addiction and think for a bit about the direction we are headed. We are at a fork in the road and must choose between technology and the way of the dinosaur. The antiquated Dewey Decimal system is slowly being replaced by a keystroke on a battery powered piece of computer technology. Technology is wonderful, but it can not replace a book.

The smell of a book is intoxicating. The bookbinders glue, fresh paper and the promise of something new and exciting is a part of the euphoria. My concern is that one day, our descendants will pick up an IPad rather than the family Bible to see who married whom back in the day. Already, our children are shopping for school with the latest in technology being the prime mover of the back to school shoppers. In the world of hard science and technology, a printed book is obsolete before the ink dries on a printed page. I understand this phenomenon, but still……

I am currently reading a wonderful book, written in a style that evokes true emotion in the reader. It is entitled “Tears In The Darkness”, authored by Michael Norman and Elizabeth Norman. This book chronicles an event that history cannot erase, the Bataan Death march. I am a combat veteran, however my experiences were a walk in the park compared to the tribulations of those subjected to the inhumanity of the Japanese during this event. The authors are gifted with the ability to tell this story in such a way that you are profoundly and emotionally moved by the plight of our men who were compelled to surrender in the largest mass surrender in our military history. You feel the rage toward the Japanese and at the same time develop an understanding of the way they were trained and their reverence to the Emperor. The morphine induced euthanasia of our dying soldiers by our doctors, themselves dying from the conditions that defy human comprehension, is moving and enraging. The indignity of death, under these circumstances, is palpable. Forgive the comparison, but the faux rage expressed by the folks trying to tear our country down, is disgusting when you consider the hell these men went through to guarantee that privilege. These events would be lost to history were it not for the printed words of skilled writers who have captured the essence of this horror and placed it in a book. I will never again look at the jacket on this printed treasure without saying a prayer for those who were participants in this unspeakable tragedy. Such is the power of the printed word.

The magic of a good book…..

What about the fork in the road? I think it a disservice to not encourage the reading of books and other print media by the generations that are coming up today. Science aside, the world today belongs to folks who can communicate verbally and with the pen. What better way to master these skills than books, periodicals and other forms of print media. A newspaperman who I had great respect for once told me that print media is pure communication. The words cannot be taken back and live forever. You have done your job when the reader feels the point you make rather than simply sees the point.

I’ll take a book any day over a tablet or pad. When we hit that fork, I’ll be treading in the tracks of the dinosaurs, with a book in my bag and a smile on my face!

Have a good weekend!

SR

The Scent of a Woman…..

Pandemics, politics, civil disobedience and the economy tend to take our minds off what is truly important. Today I am writing about one of the true pleasures in life and why it is important. Borrowing from the excellent 1992 movie, “The Scent of a Woman” starring Al Pacino, let’s talk about what men take for granted and really don’t understand! These thoughts occurred to me at 2:00 AM this morning, when Sharon slipped into bed. More on that later!

Men are conditioned to respond to certain scents. Examples include black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, grapefruit, ylang ylang, lavender, patchouli and vanilla. These beautiful scents, when mixed with proprietary pheromones by the cosmetic industry are what is found in those little bottles that adorn your wife’s dressing table. They are designed to shift a man’s focus from politics to the lass that is sharing his space. A spritz of one of these little temptations on my pillow when Sharon was traveling, as a buyer for a gift shop, served as a reminder of how fortunate I really am. These little bottles of potion are ridiculously expensive and alert men can read the mood of his lady by the scent chosen for the occasion. Al Pacino, in the movie, played the part of a blind eccentric. Perhaps when we concentrate on the signal sent by the scent of a women, we can let go of the troubles of the day. Now for the “Fifty Shades of Gray” part of my missive.

Miss Sharon, the master of scents!

Sharon put two beautiful chuck roasts on the Traeger at midnight last night. The air is heavy, with humidity at the top of the scale, and the smell of beef and hickory smoke combined, hung in the air around our home throughout the night. I am sure it stopped passing cars, if not for the smoke emitting from our deck, then from the promise of delectable smoked meats slowly coming to perfection on the smoker. You know the scent, like when you park in front of your favorite BBQ joint and begin salivating before you hit the door.

I was asleep when she began this cook, slumbering away when she slipped out in the wee hours of the morning to check the smokers progress. When she returned to bed, I was aroused from a deep sleep, not by the scent of one of our favorite colognes on the nape of her neck, but by the unmistakable scent of beef and smoking hickory pellets. Maybe it is my age, but the scent of the smoker on her PJ’s was every bit as intoxicating as the best bergamot and vanilla concoction that Paris or New York has to offer. Sharon no longer travels, but if she did, instead of a fifty dollar spritz on my pillow, just leave a smoked rib. It will work every time!

I will always appreciate the true scent of a woman, but have come to realize the smell of smoked meat will get you in a hell of a lot less trouble in life than a beguiling smile, little black dress and touch of Opium or my old favorite, Ciara. Al Pacino had it figured out and now I do!

Have a great weekend!

SR

Perfect is Good Enough…….

This has been a recovery week, another surgery to fuse a finger joint has relegated me to the hunt and peck typist cadre, while limiting physical activity. My time has been well spent reflecting on the current state of affairs and other considerations. Sharon and I have been working to improve the landscaping in our back yard, and I have come to the inescapable conclusion that perfection exists in very few places. Landscaping isn’t one of them. The pursuit of perfection may be a fool’s errand, however; it does exist. Today I write to offer an example or two of “Perfection”.

Within the past few days, the world lost a good man. Allan C. Heseman, a retired Highway Patrol Sergeant went to his reward, courtesy of the emperor of all maladies, cancer. He was young, at 63, and had a zest for life lived in the pursuit of perfection. It was Allen who coined the title of this blog. Allan’s quest for perfection manifested itself in many ways. He was an aviator, where perfection lies just out of any pilot’s reach but is relentlessly pursued, a woodworker where there are so many aspects to perfection that most never see them, and a technical developer, as in computer applications. He was also the consummate family man, and today few can wear that title honestly. Allan possessed a great sense of humor and could light up a room with a broad smile and appreciation for harmony. Allan knew just how elusive perfection is, but was never deterred in his pursuit.

Sgt. Allan Heseman June 28, 1957 – July 17, 2020

The surgeon that has slowly turned my hands into bionic hands is a perfectionist. The skill and training that manifests itself when he picks up the blade is evident soon enough when the bandages are removed. But even a skilled surgeon knows that perfection can be obliterated by a moment’s carelessness. He is careful to write “cut” on the finger before surgery and a big “I” , for injection, on a finger on the opposite hand that needs a little cortisone to calm the arthritis down. The surgeon mends and shapes human flesh and bone while Allan’s medium was wood, computers and the sky. The similarities are significant.

Allan Heseman trimmed our Truman Lake home. Allan’s craftsmanship was very evident as he patiently taught me that with the application of math and science, wood can be molded and shaped to do anything you want it to. I installed a wood ceiling in the great room, overlooking the lake. Allan taught me about the appropriate process to finish this ceiling, before it was hung. Each board was perfectly sanded, conditioned appropriately, stained, and then sealed before hanging. This required the construction of an elaborate drying rack to handle the volume of wood. Base joints were carefully cut to precise fitting and difficult outside ceiling corners were trimmed to perfection. I can only hope and do believe that my surgeon is as meticulous as Allan Heseman.

Where is this going? In this absolutely tumultuous world we live in, perfection can still be found. The craftsmanship in a Ranger bass boat, the beauty in a Loomis rod and the appeal of a Belgium Browning shotgun. A perfectly maintained mid 60’s muscle car or the refinement in today’s BMW’s are all close. A Smith & Wesson Model 15 Combat Masterpiece, with a trigger reworked by the late Roy Bergman, a shooter that has attained a “perfect” score on the FBI combat course is, well, perfection. A tailwheel airplane pilot who can plant a Citabria on the centerline and hold it there in a crosswind is tempting perfection. We all know about perfection, but we do not all pursue it.

Perfection is slowly being replaced by “good enough” and that is a tragedy. I challenge my readers to look for the perfect or near perfect things in your lives and begin each day thinking about them for a few minutes. It establishes a mindset for the day. Our landscaping involves a lot of wood, in privacy fences and decking. It looks good, probably good enough, but it is not Allan Heseman or Dr. Wyrsch perfect. This shortcoming is not from a lack of effort…rather a lack of experience. God is already enjoying a conversation with Allan, who closed the gap between perfect and good enough. The Lord, who is perfect and a man who relentlessly pursued perfection. It ought to be a two cup visit.

Have a good week!

SR

The Use of Force……..

There is a lot of real estate between a bully and sociopath and the rest of society. That real estate is where the police live. Today we are fascinated, or enraged as the case may be, by the police use of force. It is time we take a few minutes to look at this important aspect of policing from 30,000 feet.

There is a concept in policing that most departments rely on in the review of the use of physical force by it’s officers. This concept is called the Force Continuum a concept which establishes a scale for the degree of force that is necessary to meet force or the threatened use of force. It is clinical and seems easy enough, but it is not. The whole model is submerged in a murky cloud of uncertainty and relies on experience and judgement to apply properly. Today the police are being subjected to extreme criticism and second guessing on a topic that, unfortunately, is very much a part of the police responsibility to the people we serve. Let’s have a look.

Seems easy….it is not!

Today, I watched a police officer in New York being placed in a headlock by a thug in front of a jeering crowd of people. This cannot happen. At best, this thug should have been concerned with serious physical injury as a result of this encounter, or worse. He was not. That is what happens when we are lulled into believing that policing should be a game of conversation, kissing and teddy bears. It is not.

“If you are in a fair fight, you didn’t plan it properly”. Nick Lappos, Chief Pilot for Sikorsky Aircraft

Police officers cannot be subjected to physical force situations in which they lose. It is that simple. The vast majority of encounters with the police are resolved verbally as the vast majority of folks in freedom loving America are reasonable. Today, with the aid of instant television and cameras in every hand, we are blitzed with images of violent encounters between folks who despise authority and authority. All experienced police officers have been involved in physical force situations and it has become fashionable to second guess these encounters by certain politicians and the folks who support the elimination of the police function. We tend to forget that police officers bring a gun into every violent encounter with those that fight, therefore for us the stakes are inordinately high. The trigger on this gun can be pulled by either party in the fight. There is a good reason for our wariness in any encounter with the citizens we contact.

“The skillful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible and does not miss the moment to defeat the enemy.” Sun Tzu

On a personal level, I once was threatened by a huge, cross dressing man, who held a linoleum knife in his hand, that I found only after placing him in a wall search position. He was driving a stolen car and had just left a station without paying for gasoline. He assured me that if he had the opportunity he would have “cut me in two” with the short blade. I was lucky as he was a violent offender with several resisting arrest charges in his jacket. He was hurt in this encounter, but easily could have been killed. The words of Sun Tzu, above, ring in my ears even today. I wish that I could say this was my only encounter involving physical force, but it most certainly was not. It is a part of policing.

The point that I am making is a simple one. For a certain, small, highly visible segment of our society, force is absolutely necessary to gain lawful compliance. There have been some 20 officers killed since the death of George Floyd at the hands of an aberrant police officer who will certainly face a significant penalty as a result of his actions. Police officers are seldom aware of what level of force may be necessary when they are in an enforcement situation. It is high time the police officer be accorded the same respect in these encounters as the individual on the other side of the contact. We cannot let thugs put officers in headlocks, douse officers with buckets of God knows what, hurl bricks at them and burn their cars to the ground. The answer is force, reasonably applied, with a good measure of judgement and training mixed into the response. The qualifiers aside, it is still force.

Even today, the words of Sun Tzu and Mr. Lappos are instructive. There will always be a segment of society that demands a forceful approach to problem resolution. This is what the police train for and are good at. A police officer, fully capable of superior violence, is exactly what you want between you and a thug hell bent on destruction. Trust me here as I have been that police officer.

The thinnest pancake has two sides. Let’s have a look at the police side, appreciatively, for a change.

Have a great week!

SR

Old Men and Old Cars……

In 1967 I was a carefree kid sliding through High School laughing, playing baseball and thinking about pretty girls and fast cars, neither of which were particularly affordable at the time. Many of my friends in high school had acquired a car, and they ranged from utilitarian to exotic, all US made iron, with a good mix of “muscle” cars in the crowd. Dad surprised me near the end of my junior year with a brand new, black vinyl over regimental red 1967 GTO. It was a muscle car, but there were many rides on the lot that could best it in the quarter mile. (How I know that is a closely guarded secret.) I have often wondered where the Goat ended up, probably smelted down and reincarnated a Prius, God forbid.

The “Goat”. A wonderful memory.

Old cars and old men have much in common, which leads to this writing. As an example, the cars of this era were relatively simple. Most of us could swap out plugs, set the points and timing, adjust the carbs and change out worn belts and such. Our generation enjoyed a little grease and oil on our hands and certainly knew which polishes and waxes were superior. We knew a lot about tires as you were looking for new ones every 10K or so to replace the bias belted tires of our day. We could identify virtually every car we encountered, from any angle, and were always looking for badges and bulges that separated the performance cars from the grocery getters. Regrettably, seatbelts were usually neatly crossed on the rear floorboards and seldom worn. We were not aware that lap belts, while helpful in rollovers, were not much use in keeping you out of the steering column, the demise of a lot of folks in those days. Today, I am still drawn to the cars of that era, where weak V8s churned out 200 horsepower, while the fire breathers torqued out 400 and more, all the while delivering 8 miles to every gallon of then cheap premium fuel. What about the parallel with old men, you ask?

The “car guys” of that era were also relatively simple, in a good way. We were motivated by the dream of earning a living, owning a home and raising a family, often with the same girl we took to the Junior Prom. Air conditioning was a luxury, in a car or home, and we were still motivated by Detroit’s annual reveal of their latest offerings. Today, every other car on the road is foreign manufactured iron, with small displacements churning out incredible horsepower while delivering equally incredible fuel efficiency. Pop the hood, or trunk in some cases, and we would not have a clue what we are seeing, most of it requiring thousands of dollars in electronic diagnostics to decipher any issue that shows up. With respect, the men coming of age today have never had oil on their hands and would have no idea what a dipstick is, or if it even exists in their car. (I owned a BMW Z-4 that had no dipstick, you pushed a button on the dash to “check” your oil.) When car shopping today, performance is a remote consideration, after concerns with fuel efficiency and extended warranties are evaluated. I doubt today’s generation has ever lined up the family hauler against the loud mouthed neighbor to see whose SUV is quicker. (Again, rumor has it that our generation would square off on a straight stretch and settle arguments with carefully managed shifting and clutch management, a tactic that evokes the 5th Amendment with us.) We didn’t envy the guy with the white collar job driving the latest Detroit boat, rather the guy with the cute girlfriend who drove a super quick Chevy II with the 327/350 that could dust about every thing in town. The Deuce would catch our attention at the A&W, the boat would not.

My hat is off to the new generation of men who see a car as a utilitarian piece of comfortable equipment with a sumptuous Corinthian leather interior sporting blue tooth capabilities and in-dash mapping. This generation can dance with a computer, execute stock trades in minutes and shop for the new family chariot online, even having the car delivered to your driveway, sight unseen. While I admire you, I also feel sorry for you. You will never know the significance of such words as Holly, Edelbrock, Cragar, Muncie, Hurst, Shelby, tri-power and positrack. You will never feel the rush when you key up a big V8 and listen to the tuned dual exhaust promising plenty of push off the line. You will not enjoy the envy of others when you swing into Sonic, exhaust burbling, eliciting a head turn from everyone on your side of the store. Sure, the new stuff will run like hell won’t have it, with electronically controlled everything, in air conditioned comfort, while you listen to satellite radio blasting the tunes of the day. Again, I am sorry for you as ours was the golden age…….today’s Subarus just don’t turn our heads.

Give me the Goat, the Temptations on the AM, and a pretty girl out for a movie. Old men and old cars………we were made for each other!

America’s Problem with Authority……

Early life, for me, was really easy. I had absolutely no problem with authority as I was living in an authoritarian world where the pecking order in life was both clearly established and closely adhered to. I was an army brat under the tutelage of a demanding father who had no problem conveying expectations. While I may not have agreed with the decision at hand, I clearly understood the ramifications of failure to deliver as directed. In true military fashion, I could gripe and air my opposing views, but still delivered. Today, we are seeing a runaway generation that is not being schooled in a simple concept that has served our country well. Everyone has a boss. There is little practical accountability and unless our ox is gored, we sit back and watch our country being shamed by stupidity with no guarantee of stopping the current madness.

In combat, you follow the orders delivered by a superior. It is that simple. Unless confronted by a situation like My Lai, in Vietnam, you do as you are instructed. Sometimes the reward for following orders is death, but the assumption remains, orders are to be followed. Three troopers in Oregon, using very poor situational reasoning skill, failed to follow their bosses (The Governor) order to mask up when in public. There is plenty of opinion as to the validity of this concept, however the Governor’s direction is tantamount to an order. At least one of these officers announced publicly, the Governor could not issue such an order and further responded with a vulgar recreational suggestion for her to consider. The troopers won an audience with the Governor and a “conversation” ensued in which they learned that she did have that authority. Troopers, mind you. Presumably disciplined enforcers of the law. Every body has a boss. On social media, a young man was photographed with his pants pulled down below his hips with his underwear clearly visible. We have come to accept this as some sort of indication of defiance of conventional wisdom regarding the display of your drawers. He needs a ‘60s drill instructor, meeting him as he gets off the bus at 2AM on a military base, with his pants in disarray. It would take only 6 seconds of his precious life to understand why pants are to be worn properly. It is not a cultural thing, it is a defiance thing.

You will find no pants at half mast here.
A boss at work.

This morning I listened to a talking head suggest that everyone that is involved in damaging our heritage and engaging in meaningless disruption of the daily flow should be charged and adjudicated. It can’t happen because our bosses, to date, have refused to enforce any semblance of reasonable adherence to law and order, and the numbers are to many to handle. We also cannot possibly arrest everyone who exceeds the speed limit, but we can arrest enough of them to create an incentive to not speed. We are delusional if we believe folks are tearing stuff up and raising hell in the name of some social injustice. They are doing it because they can successfully defy authority, a trait carefully cultivated from early childhood. You disagree? Have a conversation with my retired elementary administrator wife about the defiance that is occurring at the very basic elementary levels, often without meaningful sanction.

In paramilitary organizations, specifically the uniformed services that are absolutely essential, bosses are understood and obeyed or you will enjoy another line of work. In these institutions, you do not surrender your right to complain and disobey, instead your surrender your right to work there.

This week, a Harvard educated accountant published a ignorant rant on a social media site that threatened death and injury to folks not supporting the BLM movement. Her prestigious accounting firm showed her the street. Ignorance rewarded and I am confident that other employees understand they have a boss at this firm. I know this firm, having professionally interacted with them while working at our Gaming Commission. My always high opinion of their ethics and honesty has been substantiated. A boss at work is a beautiful thing to watch.

In closing, consider this proposition. If you are in a position of authority and you tolerate insubordinate and illegal activity in those you manage or govern, you are not a boss, you are a facilitator, and are discrediting your area of responsibility. There is a wide array of weaponry in your managerial arsenal to deal with folks who are anti-authoritarian. Use them and get us back on track. We are on a runaway train, and somebody needs to step up and drive the damned thing. We need bosses, not facilitators.

The Heart And Soul Of Policing…….

A beautiful Monday morning finds me reflecting on a career in law enforcement, a profession I knew nothing about until I put the uniform on and hit the road. I walked away from the profession with mixed feelings, primarily as a result of the inevitable shifting of focus from the road and street, where a difference is really made, to the office where your attention is diverted to survival in the management ranks. I just watched a video clip of a state police officer as he went off the air for the last time and it reminded me of the incredible contribution that officers make to the American way of life every day they work. He was a working officer and retired from the same place he began, thirty inches off the ground and twenty four inches behind the windshield. God bless him.

I was blessed and cursed in my career. The blessings were rich and the rewards great when I came on the air in my driveway and turned my attention to providing that razor’s edge between what was clearly right and clearly wrong in my zone. The blessings continued during my years as a field supervisor, providing structure to working schedules and supporting my guys as they delivered a police response. A field supervisor in most State Police organizations is a working proposition. You are on the road with your officers, which serves to keep you firmly in touch with the realities of the job, sharing the elation when a remarkable difference is made and the crushing sadness when rules are broken and death comes calling. When I look back, I was blessed to work with bright, energetic officers who were deeply committed to excellence in a science where excellence goes unnoticed by the folks we serve.

Bleeding blue and damned proud of it.

My blessings continued when I was given a field command. The troop that I was handed the reigns to was a mature, settled and capable troop in a conservative corner of the state. These guys were good, amazing me every day with their ability, energy and sense of service. I was jealous. The Colonel, my boss, gave me clear direction when he sent me to this assignment. He told me that when he called, needing something, he did not expect me to answer the phone from headquarters. Instead, he admonished, he would find me where ever I was in the field, as that was where good commanders belonged. I took his advice, showing up at odd hours in the field, working DWI checkpoints at midnight and visiting with my officers for coffee when they least expected it. I was constantly amazed at the quality and quantity of service these guys delivered. I was able to stay in my element, behind that windshield and just off the road surface in the seat of a patrol car.

I write today in response to the zany antics of various police commanders who are embarrassing their departments by bowing down to demonstrators and washing their feet. They are not the heart and soul of policing, rather their red faced officers are. In policing, when your emphasis shifts from lending dignity to undignified situations to the inevitable politics of senior management, you begin to lose focus on what really matters. These are brutal times for the men and women on the street. I suspect there are any number of good commanders still out there, but they are not getting the headlines. Instead the political wimps who will casually toss an officer under the bus with the first whiff of trouble are the peoples choice. There are two points that need to be made here.

The heart and soul of policing belongs to the men and women who are on the streets and roads, not to the commanders who are busy testing the political wind with a wet finger. Secondly, if you have not been in the business, your best course of action is to rely on those who have been for advice. I am, at once, sickened by the current assault on policing and deeply appreciative to have been associated with the men and women in my organization. Policing is not for the faint of heart, advice that applies equally to the folks in the field and the leadership behind them. The weaknesses I see in police leadership today, both internally and politically, make me nauseous…..

Have a great week.

SR

Crossing The Chalk…..

Yesterday I spent several hours helping a neighbor set up a new RV at a park near Springfield, Mo., my hometown. These folks are new to the RV experience and have acquired a very nice trailer to begin a new adventure in their lives. Danny Crafts holds a Ph.d in a variation of personnel management and is retiring from teaching at Missouri State University. He and his wife, Pam, have sold their home and are going on the road full time with the intention of seeing America at ground level. Mind you they are going from a very nice suburban existence to the nomadic lifestyle that a 30’ trailer provides. I admire their conviction and courage as Sharon and I have often talked about doing the same thing. It turns out the Crafts are wonderful folks that we regrettably only knew in passing, as they are moving to the RV in the next day or two.

I like RV stuff. It is challenging as you really must have some concept of things like weight and balance, mechanics, sanitation systems, water management, refrigeration and the ability to drive in traffic when you essentially have little concept of what is going on behind you. You also meet really neat folks while on the road as you develop an understanding of the RV culture. The Crafts will be a wonderful addition to the people involved in this lifestyle.

Aside from his abilities in the classroom, Danny is also a baseball umpire, having officiated at the college level and Double A level of my favorite sport. We made a couple of trips into town to procure extra items necessary to set this unit up, as his reserved spot had the sewer on one side of the unit and the utilities on the other, a particular inconvenience that requires extra power cords and water hoses. During these trips and while enjoying a nice BBQ lunch, Danny told one story after another about what really happens between the chalk lines in my favorite sport. I laughed at his recollection of events that occurred that involve far more than what the TV camera’s capture while the announcers provide “color commentary”. The color, dear readers, is on the field as this game is executed. Baseball is a complicated game and umpires are uniquely positioned to offer deep dives into the strategies and machinations of a sport played by superbly conditioned human beings who must also be very clever to capitalize on the nuances of strategy. The umpire controls the diamond, and is confronted by any number of “experts” on each side of the field peering out from the “hole” or dugout. Danny is a masterful story teller and possesses the unique personality trait that I refer to as “duck-back”. Duck-back people are able to accept criticism and a reasonable amount of inconvenience with a smile, deflecting the irritation at hand like water off a duck’s back. They are rare, but ideally suited to the role of an umpire in baseball. I am sad that a master of the game is moving away before I learn more from him, an unfortunate circumstance that happens when you fail to get to know your neighbors well. Danny Crafts will draw a crowd around his RV when he settles in with a beverage and his easy smile under the awning, and talks of America’s pastime.

“Duck-back” Danny Crafts

Umpires, like police officers, must make decisions in seconds while relying only on their God given senses without the benefit of cameras and replay that do not take into account the angles and limitations that exist on every play. Every play is reviewed at that level and you are constantly harangued by the perceptions of those without your experience or viewpoint. The difference in baseball is that life or death is not in the equation……unless you are a hot headed manager or coach who will certainly challenge your status as a duck back as they bring the fires of hell with them from the dugout.

Good luck, Danny and Pam. Your experiences, thirst for new knowledge and zest for life will serve you well. I am sorry to see such lovely neighbors move on, but you will surely touch many as you travel about.

Have a great weekend, be safe and ignore the conflict all around us, for just a day!

SR

When Not To Turn The Other Cheek……

Christianity, a religious point of view that seems to be losing favor among our society, teaches us many things, including doctrines that were used by folks like Dr. Martin Luther King to lend dignity to the political and social issues of his day. I am not in his league, and seldom mix politics and religion when I write or speak. When you think about it, the two issues are not particularly compatible. This being said, today I am going to violate my usual norms and talk about our response to the politically correct tone of the day. Let’s dive in.

Mathew 5, Verse 39 says; “But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. Verse 40: “And if a man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.”

What does this mean in practical terms? It refers to responding to injury without revenge and allowing more injury. It is commanding nonresistance. Child psychologists often rely on this doctrine in attempting to teach our children that non violent resolutions are superior to physical response. This being said, there is a huge caveat to relying on this concept. Now we are getting into the reason I write.

The doctrine of turning the other cheek can work ONLY if the other person has the capacity for conscience. It will NOT work when sadistic, crazed or hate filled people are actually intent on injuring or killing us regardless of our behavior. This is settled psychological reasoning. In fact, in today’s PC world, if you turn the other cheek, these crazed, ignorant people who are intent on destroying America’s great institutions, will knock the hell out of you, or worse, kill you.

I just read where a major city Chief of Police turned out a large number of violent protestors arrested during the riots, without charges. You sir, in your infinite wisdom have just empowered a group of fanatical, hate filled people who understand there is no penalty for raising destructive and injurious hell on the citizens you protect. You have turned the other cheek, and there will be hell to pay. This is not the time to turn the other cheek and there are many among us who do not respect your decision.

My final point. America is turning the other cheek every time we tear down a piece of history, deface a cemetery, burn a business, loot a store or bow down and kiss the feet of another race in the name of political correctness. Our rush to placate the revisionists who see a package of pancake batter as a racist symbol because a black lady is on the package, our constant concession to the BLM movement when we know that EVERY life matters, including the lives cloaked in blue, is seen as a sign of societal weakness by those intent on destruction. Those that hate or have no conscience are empowered by this weakness. Turning the other cheek in Seattle, allowing thugs to establish a lawless zone within a beautiful city, is empowering the thugs.

We are empowering a group of people who have little understanding of Dr. King’s philosophy and effectiveness. This is not how America has evolved and it will not serve our interests in the years to come.

Have a great weekend!

SR

I Don’t Have A Dog In This Fight……

Last week, I published a blog and within a day or two, took it down. While I strongly believed the points I was making, it occurred to me that anger is not going to move the football in the hysteria that is gripping a small part of vocal America. I had lowered myself to the level of the folks who believe that, somehow, removing statues, seizing portions of cities and burning down the rest is the right thing to do. My anger was fueled by a passion and belief in the police profession that I was a part of for my adult working life. I believed that a little reflection on my part would help me to understand what is actually happening to us. Today I write with a better handle on the idiocy we are seeing and our response to it.

There are parts of our society that cannot tolerate authority. They do not want to conform to rules, laws and the dictums of social order and are gleefully showing contempt for the orderly way of life that we are seeing assailed. My wife, a career educator, saw this coming years ago and warned me that we are heading to a day of reckoning. She had an amazing ability to identify the children in her charge that enjoyed no parental guidance. The application of discipline was left to the teachers on her staff, who worked tirelessly to instill some degree of conformity to the kids, all the while knowing full well their lessons of the day were not being reinforced at home. She would point these hapless kids out to me and suggest, that one day, they would be my problem as a officer of the law. History has confirmed her suspicions, and we have watched a number of her predictions sadly come to fruition.

A child that has a chance in life

To be sure, this is not new to our culture. In the Army, during basic training, I watched the not so subtle application of absolute discipline amazingly transform young men, that were societal problems in the making, into productive human beings capable of following orders and marching to a tune not struck up by their own, personal band. The military still has this ability, however unfortunately, you must volunteer to be a part of this transformative process. The deranged folks who are attempting to destroy our heritage and worse, leading this destructive process as political leaders, do not choose to embrace the concepts about which I write. There are a number of these folks, evidenced by today’s happenings, and this is their day.

What about the rest of us? What about the millions of apathetic Americans who are shaking their heads in horrified response to the idiocy we are seeing? The answer is simple, they feel they do not have a dog in this fight. To borrow yet another colloquial saying, our response depends on whose ox has been gored. Certainly, to be fair, we are not going to take a day or two off from work and pack up to destroy a few Veterans Memorials or statues of great military minds that found themselves on the wrong side of history. We also are not going to pay homage to the sacred alter of television and accept the now defunct media’s opinion as to what is right and wrong today. We know full well what is right and wrong. As a result of our acceptance of the wonderful life we live, we will talk with like minded folks about the strife we see, and that is pretty well it.

To my point. We have elected the certifiable idiots that we see at the helm in New York, Minneapolis and Seattle. The outrage of America is on the back burner, conveniently cloaked in the fear these issues might become our dog in the fight. Our ability to trust government to come down on the right side of the incredible divide is shaken. The threatened destruction of our police forces is an example of the extremes that threaten the sanctity that we enjoy. The hordes that advocate anarchy and act on their ignorant impulses must be crushed in a way that leaves an indelible impression on those who do not understand reasonable dissent. If we fail in Seattle and across our nation to affirmatively address these deranged people we are doomed to live under their rule…which is no rule at all. I have given calm reflection to what we are seeing and refuse to accept one damned thing the anarchists are proffering.

Please, folks. Your dog is in this fight and your ox has been gored. Make your opinions known. Our representatives need to hear from us. They must understand that we are at our limits with the situation as it stands. I visited my local gun shop yesterday to pick up a new optic for one of my firearms. He is enjoying one of the best weeks in sales in his history. What does that tell you? When the anarchists bring their handiwork to rural America…..it will not be pretty.
We will not allow Seattle’s damnable situation to happen here. We need to flood elected leadership with written notice that we are outraged and their very political existence hinges on their management of this outrage.

Have a terrific weekend!

SR