Veterans for Peace Radio Hour

August 26, 2014

Conflict (Warning graphic pics)

    

 

The recent murder of James Foley has me in a deep conflict, deeper and darker than I care to go, but I can’t keep myself from thinking of much other than revenge for this murder, but against an entire group ISIS/ISIL appears to be the epitome of evil. They murder without mercy, sell women and children off as slaves, they claim a religious basis for this, but I’ll be damned if I can find one from the Muslims and Qur’an Scholars I’ve spoken with who even come close to agreeing with that.

I fully admit that I am as far from religion as a person can get, but I most certainly have a spiritual side that drives me, almost always for the good of the people around me. What would I do, if I could do anything, to alleviate the suffering ISIS/ISIL has brought upon so many? Could I make a passionate argument that what they were doing was in direct conflict with what is the basis of all of the great religions? Could I get them to stop their slaughter long enough to see that they are in direct conflict with their own religion? I am pretty sure I would suffer greatly for my points of view.

It is the impunity with which they have gathered this storm together that bothers me more than anything. In all of the Middle East, not one nation is condemning these people from what they are doing. This is a huge WTF moment! This small band of thieves and liars became a force because honest people within their region did not call them out on their insanity in the beginning.  They get recruits by paying them, something the nations in the region seem incapable of doing for their own citizens.  Flash point after flash point rises from the dust of the desert, some, which were huge news just a week ago, have been relegated to secondary or tertiary status because this rogue element makes for “good copy”.

Is it right for me to wish to bring the same amount of fear they bring to others to them, or perhaps an extra dose of  fear. It is easy to sit here in Boston and safely write about these things, but they bring up the rumblings of my past, the desire to exact vengeance which I have struggled with for 40+ years. To kill a man is a dreadful thing, even when that man acts like a rabid animal. I sincerely doubt this group of black garbed, masked cowards would sit around a campfire singing Cumbayah. There is so much of evil in these people I find it difficult to comprehend; even in my worst days on the battlefield would I act like these people? How can I, as a Veteran For Peace, deal with monstrous acts on a scale that is growing daily?

I can find no empathy for these people, but I have plenty of empathy and sympathy for those who are being summarily abused by these thugs. I try to find some small shred of goodness in everyone, but I cannot find a sliver of goodness in ISIS/ISIL, it is evil personified in an area that is already a keg of dynamite ready to explode. Sleep comes with great difficulty, for while it is night here, it is day there, and the evil moves forward with each dawn. How can I sleep when I know women and children are being sold into slavery, men of all ages are slaughtered in ditches? It is a damned if you do, damned if don’t moment. Christ, I’m damned!

I can think of one way where we could help, starting with Gaza, open up the area for humanitarian aid. Once the people in the region see that we can be as good as our word, we can utilize humanitarian aid to open more areas that need as much, if not more than Gaza. Bring in other nations, not just European nations, but Middle Eastern nations, African and South American nations, Asian nations all coming to the aid of a beleaguered speck of land. We can act globally to end this nightmare and the positives will build upon the positives, nations will realize they can work together for the betterment of mankind.  Food, water, shelter, medicine the four basic elements everyone needs can be brought in. In the longer run, we can build desalinization plants for irrigation and a level of production where people can subsist on their own. We’d need a powerful UN force to guard the lines of communication and distribution, that is possible, even if it is might seem a little rough and tumble from time to time. Each time ISIS/ISIL makes a move, we counter it internationally, giving them the option of cessation of hostilities or face capture and imprisonment for life for crimes against humanity. We could bring families back together, finding out who had “bought” the slaves ISIS/ISIL “sold”, (owning or selling human beings is an international crime).

This is a huge effort and is fraught with possibilities of things going terribly wrong, but could they be worse than what is happening now wherever ISIS/ISIL has left its imprint?

On the other hand, we could just target them and be done with it, but is that justice or retribution? This is where I’m conflicted, I want justice, but retribution sounds so tempting.

Perhaps I’m not damned after all.

Bob

August 23, 2014

Sacco and Vanzetti 8-23-1927

 

 

 

This story has been told many times and is perfect conveyance for the dissolution of capital punishment.

Here is a link to the actual trial of the time, copyrighted by Felix Franfurter, from The Atlantic at the time, (it takes some time to read)

http://www.theatlantic.com/past/unbound/flashbks/oj/frankff.htm

What seems to be missing from most of the story is that hundreds of thousands of people across the nation felt that Sacco and Vanzetti were being framed for a crime they did not commit. In fact, the more “evidence” for the prosecution that came out, the larger the crowds became for the acquittal of the two men. In fact it became an international  causes célèbres, where just about everyone believes the accused are innocent, but the powers that be have so much invested, they refuse to back down. We see this today when minorities and poor whites are caught up in a system that is rigged against them, (just think of the drug charges brought against some, depending on county, state or jurisdiction, a person can get life for a joint, while others are tossed out of court for lack of merit.

The New York Times printed the story immediately following the executions:

http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0823.html

For further reading of this situation that brought the two men to their men to their deaths, there is plenty to look around for, I chose the two articled linked because they give an accurate account during the time frame at what people were actually hearing. A loose end appears though, even before Sacco and Vanzetti were executed another man admitted to the robbery/killing, from wikipedia:

Madeiros confession[edit]

In November 1925, Celestino Madeiros, an ex-convict awaiting trial for murder, confessed to committing the Braintree crimes. He absolved Sacco and Vanzetti of participation.[86]In May, once the SJC had denied their appeal and Madeiros was convicted, the defense investigated the details of Madeiros’ story. Police interviews led them to the Morelli gang based in Providence, Rhode Island. They developed an alternative theory of the crime based on the gang’s history of shoe-factory robberies, connections to a car like that used in Braintree, and other details. Gang leader Joe Morelli bore a striking resemblance to Sacco.[87][88][89]

The defense filed a motion for a new trial based on the Madeiros confession on May 26, 1926.[81] In support of their motion they included 64 affidavits. The prosecution countered with 26 affidavits.[90] When Thayer heard arguments from September 13 to 17, 1926,[81] the defense, along with their Madeiros-Morelli theory of the crime, charged that the U.S. Justice Department was aiding the prosecution by withholding information obtained in its own investigation of the case. Attorney William Thompson made an explicitly political attack: “A government which has come to value its own secrets more than it does the lives of its citizens has become a tyranny, whether you call it a republic, a monarchy, or anything else!”[91] Judge Thayer denied this motion for a new trial on October 23, 1926. After arguing against the credibility of Madeiros, he addressed the defense claims against the federal government, saying the defense was suffering from “a new type of disease,…a belief in the existence of something which in fact and truth has no such existence.”[81][92]

Three days later, the Boston Herald responded to Thayer’s decision by reversing its longstanding position and calling for a new trial. Its editorial, “We Submit”, earned its author aPulitzer Prize.[93][94] No other newspapers followed suit.[95]

 

Today, 87 years to the day when two innocent men were sent to the electric chair, some states still feel that capital punishment is the answer. Since 1973, 244 death row inmates have been exonerated or had their charges reduced. How would you feel if you were innocent and were walking that last mile?

Peace,

Bob

 

August 15, 2014

Update: Ferguson MO/Mr. Brown

Fortunately, last night the county officers pulled back and the State Patrol took over by order of Governor Nixon, and during the night, there were no arrests or unseemly behaviors on the part of everyone involved. On the news this morning, I saw something I was hoping to see, white individuals getting involved in the call for justice. These are the times when all citizens need to be involved, when the county rolled out armored vehicles and snipers, things were out of control. The Captain speaking for the State Patrol is articulate and well informed, he’s not going to just blurb out some answers that people want to hear, he seems to be explaining the facts as we now know them. More will be coming after more is known.

One of the more unfortunate aspects of  the aftermath is that some looting took place, that appears to be one of the things that happens when some people can’t control themselves and use anything as an excuse to do damage. The vast majority of citizens held themselves in check and they deserve all of the respect we can give them.

It will be some time before we find out all of the facts in this case, however, the number of shots fired alone, particularly after the man is down, show me that the officer at the scene should be fired and brought up on criminal charges. Accounts vary, but several witnesses have come forward and spoken of what they saw. By all accounts, these witnesses are credible and their stories of the event match.

What we need to do now, is de-militarize PD’s. The “fire sale” events by the DOD have to stop. There is no need for a tank in Phoenix, (especially under that nutcase Arpaio), nor is there a need for an M-60A3 in Omaha or any other city in the US. A police department needs to be armed, but do they need to have military grade hardware? I’ve worked with a lot of military weapons, comes with the territory when you spend 13 years in the US Army, (even Medics like me want to try out things that go “bang”, but we used them on firing ranges, not real life scenarios, that would breach the Law of Land Warfare and UCMJ).

May the good people of Ferguson find solace and peace after a tragedy and may the rest of us learn that each life is precious.

Peace,

Bob

April 22, 2014

Points to Ponder on Military Extravagance

 

I find it difficult for people to simply accept what they hear on TV, the radio or read in conventional newspapers. The idea that we must spend more on defense is insane to say the least. No other nation can attack us conventionally, there are some issues with terrorist attacks, but the idea that we can be invaded in the traditional sense is nothing less than insane. We could easily cut 1/3 of our military budget and remain safe from attacks. If we actually did things properly, we would not have to worry about outside terrorist attacks either, in fact, our biggest problem with terrorism is hate groups already well established in the US comprised of disgruntled citizens.

I recall Reagan ordering USS Missouri recommissioned at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. Since Big MO ran on oil, it cost an incredible amount to just have her churn up the sea, not to mention the man power required, training, upgrades and a host of other things…just so Reagan could take a page from nearly a century earlier from Teddy Roosevelt’s book, when battleships were the kings of the sea. They lost that status with the advent of aircraft carriers and missiles that could be fired from 50+ miles away sending them to the bottom.

Please don’t get me wrong, I believe we need to defend our nation, but to my point of view, this is a bit overkill. We have F-35’s at some $65M a pop that can’t even fly, we have F-22’s where pilots pass out from anoxia, some have refused to fly the F-22 because nothing short of a crash dummy can survive the flight. We are contracting ships that start taking on water the moment they are launched because of cheap foreign steel and poor welding. Ground troops have to carry so many items they can barely move in close quarters where a good portion of the fighting goes on. I carried two canteens of water, a couple of belts of M-60 ammo, an M-16 or M-14 depending on the mission and a tee-shirt and a pair of Army issued jungle cammies/greens. I sat on my flak jacket because I did not wish to lose my heritage to the rounds that came trough the floor of the slick I was in; (it was amazing the punishment those birds could take). Just as today, we looked for things to make out lives just a little easier…and longer lasting.

We searched for things “out of place”, what had moved? Was there new earth to be seen where a hole had been dug? Was a tree bent a certain way? We use all of our senses, were insects chirping or silent? Were birds moving through the trees and chirping, or suddenly a flock take off from their perches? Did monkeys seem inordinately noisy, you got to use everything, a breeze would send the scent of fresh shit your way, you can tell the difference between human and animal shit, after all, it’s what you eat. LRRP’s would spend a week or more eating local food, never touching anything from the US, you had to stink like the area you were in. You could smell Ivory soap at 300+ meters.

We wasted an incredible amount of ammo, the “Mad Minute” alone used a battalions worth of ammo during that small amount of time, and it did no good, after being caught once at sundown, the VC/NVA  just hunkered down behind a berm, rocks or anything else until it was over. No one was scratched, but it made us feel good, somewhat safer. But we still had to double the sentries and send out more listening posts. Outside the wire, it was a different world, and woe be to the man who forgot the sign/countersign.

Napalm, White Phosporus, ( Willie Pete), Agent Orange, numerous and sundry chemical exposures of unknown forms creating diseases of unknown etiology, (some still unknown), that manifest themselves in various cancers, glandular disorders and a host of other problems that are some 40-50 years later making themselves known. In our current debacles, we have “depleted uranium”, designed to punch through armor; since the Afghans have little to no armor, it is used on people and their homes. The residual effect is a radioactive nightmare that kills silently and deforms children while still in the womb, leaving faceless, legless, armless replicas of what should be a healthy baby. Nightmarish photos exist of disastrously deformed babies, paid for by our tax dollars.

But we have these things now, so we use them. What nightmare situations are in our near and if we survive, distant future?

War is expensive, you use a bullet, rocket, artillery round but once, then you have to get more, the cycle continues, built on the false hope that war can “cure” war. What “cures” war is Equality, Justice and a motivation to lay down the arms we use to kill and maim others. It takes us to another level of communication, where intellect is king, not who has the heavier tank, or bigger nuclear device. If we are all to be free from war and skirmishes we need to understand the needs of people and act to make those needs accessible. Food, clothing and a place to live top the list. Taking care of these three things would move us closer to Peace, We can then fine tune the outcome, help with irrigation, seeds for edible plants, factories to make clothes and other items, concrete to build homes sturdy enough to withstand desert storms. No more exploitation of the locals, no more empire building, no more theft of resources, no more killing.

Peace,

Bob

 

April 5, 2014

Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

 

 

This evening, about 35 people showed up on a blustery,chilly Dewey Plaza to remember Martin Luther King’s 46 anniversary of his untimely demise. King was shot while standing on a balcony at a Memphis TN hotel. We remembered a powerful speaker and man of Peace. A man who could see past color or national origin and find the good in people.

In contrast to the day he was shot, in Boston, it was cold, windy and a little rain fell. VFP and other groups were represented, several songs were sung, reminding us of the universality of music and it’s transcendence into the hearts and minds of people. VFP flags fluttered in the wind, people were bundled up against the chill, we stood across from South Station with our backs to the Red Line entryway. At least the wind was cut by 2/3’s.

Many years ago, I saw Dr King live in front of the Lincoln Memorial, (quite fitting), discussing truth to power. He had many great things to say that day, and being a NY’er, I had plenty of friends from all over the spectrum of humanity. Dr King had taken his theme and changed it a bit, he no longer was using a racially divided nation along a black/white divide, but had made his issue one of human rights, once that change was made, momentum picked up for the cause of Equality. Who can argue against Human Rights, except a tyrant?

He also questioned our involvement in Vietnam and other places where we building an empire, sadly, this is when he quite literally signed his own death warrant. His aides had asked him to steer clear of these issues, but the moral fabric of the man could not let it go, so many things were intertwined with that age. People were still calling others “communists”, “socialists”, “anarchists” and a host of other things that were specifically engaged upon to denigrate people who did not “fit in”.

Let me go back for a moment to the “I Have A Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial. I heard some words that were burned into my conscience that day, and they hold true today; “…a day when men will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  The power of that single line is so immense that most people cannot, or will no fathom it.

Character, Integrity, Honesty, Justice, Equality, these are not merely words, they are a way of life, giving us power over the individuals who would control us at any cost. We have this power, we must use it to expose the hypocrisy and lack of morality the “leaders” profess to have. The power of one man or woman speaking out against the darkness is enough to bring light into world. Speak truth to power, and power withers away.

We stood today in honor of a man who gave the last measure of his devotion on a terrace in Memphis. Let us carry that dream on from this day forward, never forgetting that while we may lose a few things along the way, they can never take from us our dignity or integrity, our character.

Thank you,

Peace,

Bob

March 29, 2014

Fighting In The Trenches

 

Many of us are in the forefront of battles, either past, present or future. We have met the “enemy” and have persevered; those that work for the few of the richest individuals on earth are no match for us, for we have the power of people united against them. The objective should always be Peaceful resolution, however, when the elite get frightened, they call out the troops, usually police, but can include Nation Guard troops to intimidate us.

We are not intimated easily. We have been down this road before, and many of us have seen far greater horrors than can be brought about by PD’s and NG units. Having been in combat, I know that the powers that be cannot inflict upon me what others have attempted. I have withstood the worst days of my life and have survived to maintain the integrity I, and so many before me have developed.

Non-combatants who belong to various Peace groups, have felt the presence of PD’s as well, some have been severely injured, a few have been killed in their endeavor to maintain  peaceful world, the powers that be prefer chaos, it benefits them both financially and strategically. But as we change our tactics, we eat away at the base of the powers, slowly bringing them down until they topple over. It has always been this way in revolution.

Revolution need not be bloody or painful, it is a change in the power structure, and that can be as smooth as silk or like being dragged over razor wire, the choice is ours, and I vote for the silk analogy. I can see no reason to harm people when we change. It is merely a case of stripping the ultra wealthy of their power by limiting their assets. There are many ways to do this, the Koch brothers are spending hundreds of millions in fruitless attacks on their perceived “enemies”, personally, I find the spending of this cash to be akin to tossing cash into a furnace and burning it up, they get a tiny return for all they have spent, they have lost races costing 10’s of millions of dollars. There is a great difference between George Soros and the Koch brothers, Soros actually built his fortune from scratch; the Koch’s inherited their fortunes, which makes a serious divide in how cash is made and how it is spent. The Koch’s might be living in refrigerator boxes relatively soon as they squander their fortunes, a possibility not out of the realm of reality.

 

The powers that be use fear as a strategy, they want you to believe that some “enemy” is behind every tree, rock or mailbox, and only they can protect you. This is one of the reasons many PD’s have become par-military organizations. Using laws that are dubious at best, breaking down the Bill of Rights and attacking “undesirables” are at the heart of the “New World Order”, which is actually the Old World Order where a few have the money and land while everyone else works for a pittance. When the police are at the behest of a small group of ultra-wealthy individuals who control local officials, we are in great danger. Police officers, dressed to look like “Robo-cop” attack individuals with batons, and armed with guns, tazers and a host of other weapons storm a peaceful protest where laptops and signs are the only “weapons” the protesters have, there is a bit of overkill to say the least. What would have the police done if 10,000 people were in the Common protesting police violence? Could they have handled the situation differently?

Negotiations are in order, however, if we “won”, what would they do? The House and Senate would quickly change the law, but what if we did not recognize that new law? Jury Nullification is one way out; another is to have the judge just toss out the charges, or the DA refuse to indict.

I wish no pain upon anyone, but I do want accountability for those who consistently steal and use the money on Wall Street to gamble away the futures of our citizens. I want these people to pay their fair share in taxes, no loopholes, no escape clauses. No more $30,000 desks for insurance companies while children die of leukemia, or starve across the globe. At some point, we have to make a decision, and that point is coming toward us quickly. Exposing the criminals is one thing, dragging them into court is something on a different scale. Shareholders must demand their dividends and not give away $60 million bonuses.

We are the 99%, our numbers alone can create change, but only if we do not fear that 1% that has no moral standing.

March 17, 2014

Thanking All Who Participated in the 4th Annual Peace Parade

For those of you who watch, (and care about) the VFP Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Bde’s alternative “People’s Peace Parade, where we do not exclude any  group that espouses Peace, Equality is willing to stand up to bigotry, hate and the war like status of others, (most of which did not serve, and those that did had rear echelon positions far from the fighting), I offer a very a hearty Thank You!

We have been doing this for 4 years now, the LGBT community has been doing this for a little longer. We took the LGBT community into our ranks, as well as the religious community, numerous bands, labor, environmental & social justice, anti-drone, various Peace groups and many others as we’ve pushed the ball closer to an all inclusive parade, where everyone who wished to be seen or have a message can be involved.

The Allied War Veterans pulled a trick this year, (seems as though they cannot win in a face to face ideological debate.) They have a USSC decision in their favor, but this year , even though the street sweepers were to be behind the People’s Peace Parade, they got to have two street sweepers as members of their contingent. This was a blatant ploy to send the message the parade(s) were over, since we must follow by a court ordered mile. It was a cheap shot.

There were other cheap shots as well, essentially calling other Peace groups “nazi’s”, this by their “most esteemed lawyer”. One would think that an attorney would never stoop so low, but there it was in South Boston online, much to my shock and chagrin. Pointing out any Peace group as “nazi’s” is beyond the pale and borders on slander. If he had mentioned a specific group, such as VFP, it would have been slander, suffice it to say this lawyer is an idiot, (not slander because it’s true!) Wacko Hurley is also a bit of a fool, I am aware that he is a veteran, but not his status as to where he served or in what capacity, perhaps  he is nothing more than an armchair admiral or general, never making it past E-3, but “knows it all”, there are so many like that, it’s really rather sad. In VFP we have combat and support veterans, I make no distinction between the separation of combat troops and support troops, we who held the line could never have done so without the support to the rear. I am not sure, but it appears that the Allied War Veterans council has about 4 active members whereas we have about 75 active and 70 inactive at this point, counting veterans, we beat them hands down. We also have a substantial Associate membership, people who are with us because we sync with their views on Peace and disarmament.

We had a fine parade, even if the chill sent a few home early. We will be there next year as well, and for as long as it takes to break down the walls of bigotry and hate.

Peace,

Bob

January 6, 2014

How Much More Can We Spend On The Military?

Think about this for just  a second, we are the most protected nation on earth, the most powerful militarily that the world has ever known, yet we have no enemies that are capable of attacking us, either conventionally or nuclear. No one has the capability to conquer us in the conventional sense, where we are vulnerable  is in the financial sector, essentially because we spend far too much on “defense”, (which is actually “offense” since we are the provocateurs in most conflicts around the world).

The US has, through direct and indirect military intervention, created a worldwide net of enemies. Our clandestine branches of the government has done more to destroy relationships between nations that could ever do us any harm, beginning a spiral that comes back to haunt us. Our forays into Iraq and Afghanistan are outstanding examples of just how we can create hell on earth for not just those we attack, but for ourselves as well. There was no need to attack either of these countries, much less Libya or any place else. The course we have set has created great animosity toward this nation, boots on the ground are bad enough, but drone attacks are completely unnecessary and the “collateral damage”, (read death and maiming civilians and non-combatants), is inexcusable.

The base line is, there is a lot of money to be made in creating and deploying, then using, the arms we build. When a bomb is dropped, it’s a single use object that does damage. It must be replaced by another; the more we use, the more must replaced with an attendant rise in price and bombs to offset ordinance used. Ultimately, the American taxpayer must pay for all of this, at a premium no less because we are borrowing immense amounts of cash from China and elsewhere. The idiocy of this is so blatant, while the people who are making millions/billions off of the arms merchants and builders, we go further into debt while the “upper crust” sheds crocodile tears and complains about their rate of taxation. While none of these people ever wore a uniform, much less faced any danger, they insist that others go on being killed and maimed while their profit margins sky-rocket. It’s all about money, bloodstained money raked in over the bodies of our troops, innocent victims such as civilians and non-combatants.

A “War on Terror” is an absurdity in the first place, it is a war that can not be won and it is immoral for the simple fact that none of the people who are being slaughtered had anything to do with the attack on 9-11. The entire scenario is little more than a smokescreen to gain the mineral wealth of the countries we’ve invaded…without a declaration of war.

Then there is the “Homeland Security” issue, where police have gained unimaginable power over the citizens of this nation. Billions have been pumped into law enforcement to upgrade and enhance their capabilities. Much of this is military grade offensive weaponry; someone needs to explain to me and the rest of the country just why law enforcement needs such high-grade devices that can bring down buildings, stun or kill hundreds of people and degrade our Constitution.

We need to stand up and ask the right questions, beginning with, “why” any of this is happening. We need to question  those in authority at every turn if we are to keep, no enhance, our freedom. At one time we were a beacon for all those who searched for a better way of life; we have lost our ability to see long-range the big picture of our actions. There have been many sacrifices to our Liberty, we must put an end to the sham and demand accountability of those who are destroying our nation.

Equality+Justice=Peace

Bob

May 29, 2013

Stay Strong

Filed under: General Discussion — Tags: , , , , , — bobfunke @ 2:26

 

We’ve heard that a lot lately, especially here in Boston since the tragedy at the Boston Marathon. Strength however is more than being able to withstand assault, it is a frame of mind that is necessary to ensure our own survival, both physically and mentally.

First, we must understand what we are up against, the first rule in any engagement is “know your enemy”. When people use acts of terror to cast the shadow of fear upon others, the initial reactions are shock and fear, this is what is intended, and it works. In fact, it works so well, many people are willing to sacrifice their Liberties to gain the perception of safety. An “enemy” who will use terror is a coward as well as a fool. Those who fall into the trap of, “we will protect you” are fools as well. Think of this for just a moment, for all of the money spent on “Homeland Security”, two kids murder and maim in one of the most highly policed areas of the US.

Inevitably, anger follows fear. With anger, we seek revenge, not justice. When the second bomber was found hiding in a boat in a driveway, the reaction was to shoot the boat to pieces, then take a look inside. The object was essentially to kill the perpetrator, using that age old excuse, “he may be armed or have another bomb”. Let’s look at this from a realistic point of view. The owner of the boat had lifted the edge of the tarp to see the young man inside, he was not shot at, nor threatened; the boat did not explode from a home made bomb. The kid had nearly bled out by this point, he was not a threat. I’ll give the police credit for considering options that may have occurred but none of them did. The kid may have had a bomb, he may have been armed, he may have been a threat, however, none of those issues came to fruition. The police riddled the boat with small arms fire and used flash bang devices before looking inside. This was not a strategic decision, it was a tactical one. Strategy would have been to capture the individual in the best shape possible, to keep him alive for questioning and finding out why he and his brother did what they did. The tactical decision was to go overboard and do just about everything to ensure this kids death. If heavier arms, say .50 cal’s or LAW’s were available, I’m almost positive they (the police), would have used them. This was the act of  “avenging angels” as opposed to seeking to bring an individual to justice.

When people are afraid they do irrational things, it is admittedly tough to keep one’s wits about them when involved in a fire fight or being targeted by artillery or mortar fire, (which are all acts of terror in one form or another), with military training, you expect the unexpected and react, I never saw a soldier run from a fire fight, although I’ve seen many a man jump into a hole during a barrage. Once the fear and anger subside though, people rally together to get themselves through whatever event occurred, whether the bombing at the Marathon, the tornado in OK or a hurricane that rips shorelines to shreds and endangers people inland. After an earthquake, people rally to find survivors, after a tsunami, people rally to help each other even though they’ve never met and will most likely never meet again. Disasters, whether man made or natural tend to draw people together and steels their resolve to overcome the problem.

As we sort out man made disasters or acts of terror, we demand justice. Justice can often be complicated, but it should not be an emotional issue, it needs to be based on facts, and despite the fact we’ve all heard 100 times, “the maximum penalty is….”, there is also the the other end of the spectrum and everything in between. Not everything should be, “the maximum”, in fact, some things, even heinous acts can be at the other end of the spectrum and forgiven; it takes someone of extraordinary courage and empathy to forgive, but that is occasionally what it takes to ensure justice remains justice, it’s not all about punishment. Part of our collective strength is justice, albeit that is a debate that could take a long time and plenty of energy.

My point in all of this is that no matter how many times we are hurt, no matter who the next bully is that comes along, (lately that bully has been the US), it is imperative to remain strong, to maintain our sense of humanity and dignity. It is within our power to show the world we “are better than that”. We can stand strong in our morality, fighting agaisnt empire, fighting against drone warfare, (an act of terror by the way). We are not sheep, we are people, we must stand up to those who would have us cower, we must maintain our strength.

To all people who have felt the power of violence and intimidation; Stay Strong!

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