This tag is associated with 12 posts

Barbarians At The Gate

are nothing new!

(courtesy of Bobbi, in part, from her musings on 9/11…)

     Barbarians of one stripe or another had been after blowing up highly-visible stuff in the States for a good long while — a Federal building in Oklahoma City, a van-bomb at the World Trade center, and so on back to the 1886 Haymarket bombing in Chicago.  There’s no shortage of fools who think blowing up innocent people is a suitable method to effect change.

It’s not.  It’s been shown to produce nothing but death, injury and anger.  And we’ve now got the TSA bringing miniature, audience-participation versions of the Stanford Prison Experiment to every passenger airport in the country.

Here’s what I can tell you: when violent people initiate force against the innocent, more people step up to stop them (Flight 93), to help the victims (police and firefighters at the World Trade Center and Pentagon), and they do not count the personal cost; they step up.  Civilization is stronger than barbarism.  It is not destroyed from the outside.

So remember the heroes, probably none of whom felt especially heroic in the moment.  Remember the people who do what needs doing.  And don’t kid yourself that it won’t happen again.

Considering we remain at ‘war’ (in one degree or another) against these forces (both foreign and domestic) after 15 years, it’s good to hear that while said barbarians keep testing (and sometimes breaching) the fences, there are folks out there who continue to step up to do the task at hand.  Thank you, Roberta, for reminding us.

Three quotes come to mind:

While it may be apocryphal, Winston Churchill is often quoted as having said (supposedly paraphrasing Orwell) “We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  (John 15:13)

“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.”  –  General George S. Patton



Unsung Heroes

There is a prevalent attitude to laud our own heroes, and minimize others.  I suspect this has to do with patriotism and nationalism.  And as far as it goes, there is nothing wrong in so doing.

However, it is also good to acknowledge others from other cultures who did what is right, rather than as they were ordered.

The many Germans who hid and smuggled out Jews; the North African Arabs who protected Jews and Christians.  There are many others unsung.

And then there’s THIS GUY (from Brock Townsend):

The Man who Saved the World

“A guy called Vasili Arkhipov saved the world.” –  Thomas Blanton in 2002 (then director of the National Security Archive)

Last month, October 27, 1962 marked the 50th anniversary of an event too important in world history for it to get lost amid the Halloween and other “trivial” holiday-related notifications. I therefore chose to wait until they were over to pay due honor to this truly great and heroic gentleman who is sadly almost unknown outside his mother country: Vasili Arkhipov.

At the nail-biting height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, second-in-command Vasili Arkhipov of the Soviet submarine B-59 adamantly refused to follow his commanding officers’ order to launch nuclear torpedoes against USA warships which had been dropping depth charges near his submarine in a attempt to force it to surface.

I’ve never been a fan of communism, the Soviet system or their minions.  But doing the right thing against orders is indeed brave – especially in such a system!

На Здоровье!

(And, now for something completely different – as promised)
I would ask all of you bloggers out there to at least make the effort to post a link to


Even ONE of these heroes making this choice is unacceptable! (Day #4 of 22)

Today In History, Recent and A Few Years Ago…

Muhammad-Ali-quote-on-courageMuhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay) is one of my childhood heroes.  Not so much because of specifics (being a great athlete/boxer – which he was), but because he stood for something.  And if his goals were boasts, he surpassed them.

By taking risks.

In spite of being a member of a controversial religious sect, he gave millions to charities for all races.

One of his biggest supporters was broadcaster Howard Cosell, who was unashamedly Jewish.

Hardly following the party line of radical Islam there, Mr. Ali.  Good for you!

He passed yesterday from complications due to Parkinson’s disease.  Not a serene way to go.  Just short miles from a hospital wing bearing he and his wife’s name.  For treatment of Parkinson’s.

“I AM THE GREATEST!” he used to boast.

He was.


Today is the 27th Anniversary of the ending to the protests in Tianamen Square, Peking, P.R.C.  We all remember that famous photo of the guy and the tank.

Here it is, in a wider view:

a everyone-knows-the-photo-of-tankman-stopping-tanks-but-this-the-real-photo-s800x571-437607-1020

Makes me think of the force of unfettered government versus the individual.

I wonder if he had heard of Muhammad Ali?

(And, now for something completely different – as promised)
I would ask all of you bloggers out there to at least make the effort to post a link to


Even ONE of these heroes making this choice is unacceptable! (Day #2 of 22)

How Tough ARE You?

I’m more tough than I used to be – but hardly a marathon-running spec ops guy.  I’ve beaten cancer (2x) and a serious car wreck.

Frankly, most days just walking is a challenge.  😦

But, I read about these bubble-wrapped snowflakes in colleges, demanding safe spaces to share their feelings, because they say a chalk writing on the pavement in support of a presidential candidate with whom they disagree distresses them!

And that makes me sick!

THEN, I read about THIS guy (courtesy of my friend Borepatch)

Badass of the year

Russian Special Forces officer surrounded by ISIS calls in airstrike on himself.

Hat tip: Chris Lynch.

Why is it I keep reading about Russians and Ghurkas and other furrin’ folk who are TOUGH – but no ‘Mericans?  Enquiring minds want to know…?

♫ Unremarkable ♫

That’s what we are. ♫  (with apologies to the late, great Nat King Cole)

From Caleb @ Gun Nuts:

Carrying a gun does not make me special. It doesn’t make me different, it doesn’t make me a sheepdog, and it shouldn’t be treated like an occasion. The act of every day concealed carry should be no more interesting or dramatic than the act of buckling your seatbelt, washing your hands during flu season, or changing the batteries in your smoke detectors.


Stop treating CCW like it’s special. It’s not. You’re just carrying the most effective tool available to defend yourself from violence. It’s a fire extinguisher. There’s nothing special about keeping a fire extinguisher under the kitchen sink. I want owning and carrying a Glock 19 to have the same level of remarkableness as owning a Toyota Camry.

You should really go to the link above and read Caleb’s entire editorial.

He is correct, of course.  Unless you are military, spec ops, civilian police or private security, you are NOT a sheepdog, superhero or James Bond.  You are just a piece of flotsam out there taking some responsibility for your own protection.  Good for you (as far as that goes) but your adrenaline and bp shouldn’t go up just because you gear up.

Putting on an IWB holster should be no different than picking up your keys or clipping your folding knife in your pocket!

There is no big red S on your chest.

not superman

I’m Guessing She’s Not An N.E.A. Member?

Stormbringer reminded us of a teacher of yore.  We need more like her, today.

Here.  Now.

Meet Captain Nieves Fernandez, the only known Filipino female guerrilla leader and school teacher. When the Japanese came to take the children under her care she shot them. She didn’t hide in a closet, she didn’t put up a gun free zone sign, she shot them in the face with her latong (a home made shotgun).

Note she has an M1 carbine with a 15 round magazine – illegal in the Gun Control States of California and Massachusetts.

She then went on to kill over 200 Japanese soldiers during the war with a group of commandos and holds the distinction as the only female commander of a resistance group in the Philippines.

In this photo she is showing U.S. Army Private Andrew Lupiba how she used her bolo to silently kill Japanese sentries during the occupation of Leyte Island.

Can you imagine an American school teacher in the day & age having the chutzpah to pull off a class act like this?

h/t Theo Spark


It’s been said there are no longer heroes.  This presupposes all heroism to be resident in times past; days of yesteryear.  Fond recollection, now absent.

Growing up, my heroes were individuals who set goals, aspired to them and surpassed them.  Harry Houdini, Thomas Jefferson, and Cassius Clay (aka Muhammad Ali).  All these men lived up to their egos and surpassed their goals.  And stood for something.

I remember a story about Alexander Hamilton visiting Jefferson at Monticello, and noting the three portraits in the foyer:  Sir Issac Newton, John Locke and Francis Bacon.  Hamilton asked Jefferson who the portraits were.  He proudly identified them as the three greatest men who ever lived.  Hamilton responded, “I thought Julius Caesar was the greatest man who ever lived!”  We all have our heroes.

Today, heroism seems to be populated with military folk – many of whom ARE heroes, and sports or Hollywood figures.  And that’s fine, such as it is.

But, see what The Art of Manliness came up with:

Manvotional: There Is Always a Time for Heroism



“There Is Always a Time for Heroism”
By GR Jordan
From The Emerging Revival, 1946

Once Wendell Phillips and a young friend were sitting by the fire. It was a memorable evening. Recollections had flushed the cheeks of the veteran campaigner. Memories of former heroic days had loosened his tongue. He had completely lost himself in the thrilling recital of the past. The young visitor sat enthralled. At last, when he recognized that the evening was far gone, he rose with a start. “Mr. Phillips,” he exclaimed, as he grasped the older man’s hand, “if I had lived in your time, I think I would have been heroic too!” The veteran, who had accompanied his young visitor to the door, was noticeably aroused. As he pointed down the street, he drew the attention of his companion to flaunting indications of audacious vice. His voice was tremulous with indignation as he exclaimed: “Young man, you are living in my time, and in God’s time! Be sure of this:  No man could have been heroic then who is not heroic now.

Be heroic now.

The Politics of COOL

Well, the Nation has re-elected the incumbent.  In spite of allegations of stealing tampering irregularities of votes (e.g. some voting districts in Ohio reportedly had 0% Republican turn out!) we got what we deserve.

Americans historically don’t like politics, and this time around is no different.  We suffered through 18 months of vile political attack ads, then went into the booth, held our respective noses and pulled the lever.

And what did we get for our trouble?  COOL.

After all, American Tradition shows us we vote for the coolest guy.  How many generals, admirals, war heroes and other military folk have run for President or Vice President, because for most of this country’s history such people were thought of as cool?  Does this mean they are qualified civilian administrators and policy makers?  Not necessarily.

The advent of modern telecommunication, computers, the Internet and email, coupled with the anti- (fill-in-the-blank) movement, another dimension has been added.  Just like cinema of the late 60s/early 70s reflected the counter-culture, so did politics.  And cool took on another facet.

Suddenly, the cool guy wasn’t the former Army General or the guy whose PT boat was sliced in half by a Japanese destroyer, it was the guy who reluctant served, or the guy who didn’t even serve at all.

The anti-hero.

Suddenly, it’s Dustin Hoffman instead of Audie Murphy; Peter Fonda instead of John Wayne.  William Jefferson Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama instead of George Bush (either one).

There was a time that American ideals meant a Norman Rockwell painting, not a poster from Mother Jones.  Suddenly it was okay to hold high office having admittedly done marijuana and cocaine in one’s youth.  Instead of just drinking.

And we got what we deserve.  The anti-hero.

‘I’m no Superman…’

Lazlo Bane’s song I’m no Superman  was the theme song to the television series Scrubs, a comic farce about doctors’ training in residency.

I wasn’t a big fan, but, those I did catch were pretty funny.  But it’s the theme of the title that caught my attention, today.

Roomie Judy and I were out for blood breakfast then went to Wally World.  (The Walmart I wrote about previously.)  The good part is it’s a smaller one, and, being in a smaller community isn’t as congested as my previous one experienced in Metro-Phoenix.  Of course, this was lunch time and not rush hour, either.

Upon walking across the parking lot to enter, we encountered two ‘security guards’ (presumably for the store) in a heated discussion with an individual whom it appeared was being asked to leave.  He was the the main bringer of the heat.

I immediately noticed two things:  1)  the guards were unarmed, and 2)  the subject appeared to be unarmed.  Of course, he was getting into his vehicle, so I couldn’t see everything.  And the guards appeared fit, one especially.  But there was a belligerent exchange of words.

Fortunately, this didn’t last long, and he had backed out by the time we arrived at the store proper.  None of the participants were around when we left the store 20 minutes later.

‘I’m no Superman’.  There was a time, not that many years ago, that my ego would have taken charge, and the former, experienced security guy –  me (complete with concealed weapon) would have approached the scene, offering my assistance.  (translation:  trying to get in on the action!)

Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and we shopped without incident, or inclusion.

Remember, if you are carrying-concealed, you are NOT wearing a mask and cape, and there is no big red S on your chest!  If you are not a sworn peace officer you have no requirement or duty to assist anyone.  The law doesn’t always protect good Samaritans, but it does protect (usually) those who do nothing.

Especially if they are not invited!

Pay attention and watch your own back, Jack!

PS – I awakened to the Aurora, Colorado shooting story.  If only someone had been carrying and took action instead of waiting for the authorities.  We’re not supermen, but we’re not uncaring robots, either. – Guffaw

Nine Pound Sledgehammer Said It First!…

That sound you heard was me grinding my teeth

Radio: “Memorial Day: It’s about barbeques, auto racing, and shopping at” click
Me: “No, it’s not, it about remembering those who died for our Country you dumbass!” – TinCan Assassin

…and the maroons who say ‘Happy Memorial Day’ on TV and Radio.

…and Brigid said it best!  It’s Not About a Day Off from Work

No reason to be maudlin.  Solemn would be nice.  Remembrance.

I used to spend Memorial Day watching Uncommon Valor, but I can’t anymore.  It’s just a movie.

Mark A. Bell, USN
1952 – 2012

I miss you brother.  Thank you for your service.
(click on the photo to see what I previously wrote about my friend – Guffaw)

h/t Tin Can Assassin, Cathy Bell, Brigid, and all who gave all

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…