Last Saturday, September 11, I was one of about 1000 motorcycle riders participating in “Ride to the Flags,” from Ventura Country to Malibu, California, where a display of almost 3000 flags will honor the lives lost to Islamic suicide bombers on September 11, 2001. The ride was hosted by the Gary Sinise Charitable Foundation, and the proceeds go to the children of those who lose their lives in the service of our country’s defense against terrorism. Pre-ride entertainment was offered by Glen Campbell, and Ann-Margret (a veteran of Vietnam-era USO entertainment) was there to send us all off with her kind words of love and support.
It was a fascinating experience. This was the first major ride I’d done, and I’d never before witnessed over 1000 bikers and their spouses get together and mingle. I pointed out to my friend Patrick (a Harley newbie) and my husband (a Harley veteran) how affectionate the couples were. There were scores of husbands and wives, quite seasoned by time and riding, all in leather, chains, boots, head scarves and chaps, holding hands and wrapping arms around each other. The amount of affection between couples was mirrored by the affection between “regular folks” – mostly strangers to one another. It was the friendliest assemblage I’d ever had the pleasure to be with.
I was chatting with one woman who’d come over to introduce herself as a fan of my radio program. Later, one of the organizers came to me and asked me if I’d be willing to ride a Gold Star mom on my bike. For those of you who don’t know, a Gold Star mom is one who has lost her military child in the war on international terror. I, of course, agreed on the spot, saying I’d be honored. Well, who walked over to my bike but the mom I’d been chatting with. I had no idea she had lost her child, and I just about collapsed in a heap of sobs.
As we rode through the windy mountain roads, I was very aware I had treasured cargo behind me on my bike. It never left my mind she had produced a warrior who gave his life for me and you and every American. As I have a son who was also in combat in Afghanistan, I kept thinking I could have been one of those moms, instead of one who is anxiously awaiting her son’s visit in a month or so. I felt so bad for her, and worked so hard to drive the bike perfectly around those curves so as not to worry her. When we reached Malibu, I hugged her and said, “What can I say? I am your friend.” We exchanged email addresses, and she will forward me a photo of us taken on my bike before the ride. I’ll post it on my website.
I considered her “hallowed ground,” and that is why I can’t understand why the Imam who wants to place a mosque near Ground Zero doesn’t get that is hallowed ground as well.
I was honored to take care of a Gold Star mom – a mom who made the ultimate sacrifice, not willingly, but nobly nonetheless.TrackBack URI
Our American history is rich with stories of people who came here from all over the world, who assimilated with great enthusiasm, becoming proud Americans while maintaining aspects of their traditions and cultures.
Not so since the Internet. Now, one’s daily life is bombarded with images and often contrived perceptions from around the world. One thing for sure, though…the notion that terrorists are impoverished, desperate, and turn to religion as their only alternative to feel connection or power is…baloney!
Our friendly neighbor, Faisal Shahzad (who allegedly wanted to kill all Americans unlucky enough to be in Times Square when he tried to detonate a car bomb), was a naturalized citizen, lived in a three-bedroom suburban home with a wife and two kids and had a Facebook page, an MBA and a job as a financial analyst. He is the son of a well-off family in Pakistan.
Since 9/11, almost 150 American Muslims have been publicly accused of planning or carrying out Islamist violence, according to Duke University. Most were born in America, or were naturalized citizens or legal residents.
While many try to comprehend their motives, for me, it seems simple. There are those personalities who are so weak that they need the attachment to something seemingly powerful to feel strength – similar to women who become groupies and sex objects to sports and movie celebrities. It isn’t about what they have, it’s about how they perceive themselves. Being angry and being able to take punitive measures towards someone or something outside of personal responsibility is an empowerment in some minds. There are ready-made scapegoats all along in history: Jews, Americans, white Europeans, gays, etc.
When I was in college in the 1960s, the women’s movement very strongly depended on anger towards anything male as a major part of its core.
Second, there is the guilt factor. Success often brings self-doubts and guilt. The self-doubt has to do with one’s sense of deserving the success; the guilt has to do with realizing that you have risen above others (and are enjoying American freedoms), and they might hate or reject you. A lot of self-sabotage motivation comes from self-doubt and success guilt, which, in the case of some Muslims enjoying America, leads to acts of terrorism to maintain their connectedness to what they perceive they’ve left behind.
We have seen this before in the Ku Klux Klan-type groups who blamed blacks and Jews for the problems in life, and bullied and killed their way into history.
Hate and murder are empowerments. The cultures or religions which lean heavily on these factors gain the support of many who want to become meaningful and strong the easy way.TrackBack URI
British Airways passengers who refuse to submit to what is an astonishingly controversial full body scan will be barred from boarding their flights. FANTASTIC! And they also eliminated the ban on scanning children under the age of 18. FANTASTIC! Wow. To know you’re not going to have to worry about the guy next to you lighting up a bomb in his private parts is a blessing.
Now why would anyone be against this? Well think of conspiracy nuts, “big brother” nuts, and people who are anti-Western civilization, as well as those who are anarchists. As far as I’m concerned, they can all ride a bus or get some exercise on their bicycle or rent a little boat and cross the ocean on their own.
Oh, and by the way, the image generated by the body scanner can’t be stored or captured, nor can security officers recognize individuals from viewing the images.
This is not (as some naysayers proclaim) an indication that the “bad guys” have won. It’s a technology which thwarts their means of killing us. Issues of life and death take precedence over silly sentiments of “modesty” when our media has elevated immodesty to a perverted art.
Two recent acts of bravery bring up a clear point:
1. A nine year old boy in a Southern town was in the passenger seat of his parents’ car with three siblings all under the age of three in the back. His mother darted into a convenience store, and a huge man (who was lurking nearby) jumped into the driver’s seat, i.e., it was a car-jacking in the works. The nine year old had the courage and the presence of mind not to be “politically correct” which would have meant sitting quietly and obeying an adult. Nope, not at all. This kid grabbed the car keys and held them tight to his right side. The would-be carjacker hit the boy’s head against the passenger door in an attempt to get the keys, and failed as the boy was resolute. As the boy said later, “I didn’t want my family to be taken.” The car-jacker ran from the car, fell, and was apprehended by police who had been called from the convenience store.
2. A young female (of course I’m proud) civilian police officer stopped an Army officer from continuing his murders of Fort Hood soldiers by standing up to him and shooting him numerous times while being shot three times herself. Unfortunately, except for military police (MPs) and civilian police, soldiers on a base do not carry weapons, and are, therefore, sitting ducks for the murderous rampage of “one of their own.” As it turns out, by all media reports, the history of this so-called American Army officer was clearly one of a terrorist.
There was a history of his radical Muslim ideology. Reports against him had been made, but political correctness ruled the day. Because he had worshipped at a mosque with a radical imam who allegedly had made contact with two of the 9/11 hijackers and had written on the Internet Muslim extremist comments (which, I understand, included a defense of suicide bombers), had tried to indoctrinate patients and his school mates even complained about the political leanings of his class assignments and so much more, was no reason, many authorities have said, to assume he was a home-grown terrorist. That political correctness caused the death of 13 and serious injury to dozens. Never mind the fear it has generated on bases around the country and the world where the bullet or bomb can come from the “inside.”
Instead of facing this threat (and please do remember the plots that were foiled against other military bases on American soil in the past several years), we are being told not to “jump to conclusions.” Well, without jumping to the correct conclusions in a timely manner, hanging on instead to political correctness (meaning that no one should criticize or profile), our military men and women and their families have a good reason to be afraid and angry. They pay the price.
That nine year old boy didn’t sit complacently and be a “good boy.” He took charge to protect his own. We should do the same for our military and their families. Those who have expressed at any time any philosophy resembling radical Islamic hate should be marginalized, scrutinized, put under surveillance, and supervised.
The first obligation of the American government is not “Cash for Clunkers.” It’s for the safety of the populace. The morale of our military took a large hit when they discovered that they were not safe from worldwide terrorists at their own desks.
Dump all that “PTSD by proxy” nonsense. Look at the truth, without which we are neither free nor safe.TrackBack URI
I watched the most horrendous (but telling) video on Fox News last week.
The video was taken from one of America’s finest military airplanes, which was getting ready to send a missile to kill terrorists while they were working on planting a roadside bomb. You can hear the pilots talking about the target and informing the base as to what they were about to do.
All of a sudden, one of them aborts the shoot because a young boy has come on the scene, delivering something, it appears, to the bombers. Our guys halt their attack, and then watch as the boy moves away. You hear one of the pilots kind of “cheering” the kid to leave the site, so they can then destroy the terrorists and their bomb.
Suddenly, there’s a huge explosion. It appears that the bombers have accidentally blown themselves up, saving us some ordnance. I don’t know if the casualties included the boy. I do know that the terrorists’ religious and political commitments to murder include killing their own women and children as part of their world vision.
I was proud for the whole world to see (assuming other news outlets played it) that our commitment was to protect the innocent whenever possible.
It made me proud to be an American.TrackBack URI
I am sick to my stomach and soul that Scotland freed the Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds, allowing the terminally ill creep to die in his homeland, Libya, and rejecting American pleas for justice in the attack that killed 270 people.
Abdel Baset al-Megrahi served ONLY eight years of his life sentence. Because he’s been diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer, Scottish Judge Secretary MacAskill felt that since “Mr. al-Megrahi now faces a sentence imposed by a higher power,” he should be set free to die in his own bed in Libya. The mass murderer was convicted in 2001 of taking part in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21, 1988 – just before Christmas. The airliner exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, and all 259 people aboard and 11 on the ground died when it crashed.
This evil man has been given three months to live, or so the doctors guess. He is being given the luxury of dying in his country, in his town, in his home and with his family. Is that appropriately compassionate? Well, my take is that this is definitely compassionate, but definitely NOT appropriate.
It is an appalling, disgusting, sickening decision made by misguided notions of compassion. Compassion for this man is an insult to all the victims. The compassion should be directed to the victims and the ongoing, permanent suffering of their families. This is misplaced compassion, misdirected compassion, and inappropriate compassion. All the families of the victims got the bits and pieces of their loved ones returned to them in a box. The same should happen to al-Meghari.
Why is this happening? As one wise man once said, “Follow the money…or the oil.” Libya’s leader, Moammar Gadhafi collected al-Megrahi on his private jet. Western energy companies (including Britain’s BP PLC) have moved into Libya in an attempt to tap the country’s vast oil and gas wealth. Gadhafi, as reported by FoxNews.com, has renounced terrorism, dismantled Libya’s secret nuclear program, and accepted his government’s responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing. He has paid compensation to the victim’s families. I don’t know why he wants this vile creature back in Libya to die. Perhaps it’s because there’s more to the story…
When al-Megrahi landed in Tripoli, more than 1,000 young Libyans gathered to welcome him, cheering and waving Libyan flags. You should know that large public gatherings are rare in Libya, and tightly controlled by the government (especially on the tarmac where Gadhafi’s private jet lands). For a country that is supposed to have turned its back on terrorism, protecting, nurturing and celebrating a terrorist murderer is perplexing. Perhaps it means that the roots of Libya are still firmly planted in extremist mentalities. Or maybe it means that, having bowed to economic and political pressure, Libya wished to flex a bicep at the expense of 270 victims and their innumerable family members and friends.
To have put al-Meghari on a plane and then to welcome him as a hero, allowing him to die in peace is, in my opinion, an insult to the values of all civilization which believes that life is precious. He forfeited the preciousness of his life when he thought it righteous to murder, killing men, women and children who didn’t mean him or anyone else any harm.
Shame on Scotland. Shame on Libya. Shame on Scotland again, for not inflicting a death penalty on an unrepentant mass murderer. We do not show the world that we value life when we impose minor consequences on those who devalue and steal lives.TrackBack URI
The coordinator behind a children’s coloring book that was pulled from FEMA’s website recently is standing by her work, despite its controversial cover (which shows a child’s drawing of the New York’s “Twin Towers” on fire, with a plane flying toward them), according to Fox News.
Ostensibly, this downloadable coloring book was created to help children cope with disaster, and was developed by Minnesota’s Freeborn County Crisis Response Team after a tornado hit their area. “I stand firm that it was a very well thought out and useful resource for kids,” Rose Olmstead told Fox News. I think she is sadly mistaken. I read the entire coloring book, and these are my observations and opinions:
1. The title of the coloring book is “A Scary Thing Happened,” a children’s coloring book to help cope with disasters. I would not have shown this to my child. The cover has the World Trade Center towers burning, with a plane coming in for the second kill, a house with the roof blowing away due to a tornado, and a car that is smashed from the top – this doesn’t resemble a car accident, so I don’t know if a tornado was supposed to have hauled it up and then dropped it on its top before righting it, or what. Can’t figure that one out.
Here’s where I take issue: a tornado is an act of nature. The tower disaster was an act of evil people determined to murder all those who didn’t share their religion. It’s wrong to put these two together, because the explanations for these events are worlds apart, and people cope differently when other humans perpetrate heinous acts on purpose, than when nature does what nature does, or when accidents happen. Coping with these two category types is psychologically different. As you might guess, murder and mayhem perpetrated by man is much harder to deal with, because it becomes more personal.
2. After highlighting terrorism on the cover, the book starts out showing excessive rain causing a flood, a tornado and a house fire – typical disasters for a community. The text then says, “You may wonder why anybody would do this or why it happened to you.” Well, are we blaming God for rain and high winds? Who else could do this? This is neither discussed nor explained. “…why it happened to you” is definitely a good question to ask, because that is what most people of any age would ask. On the next page, the question is not answered. The page just shows a child among three different images of terrorist-hijacked planes and World Trade Center towers. This actually made me angry, because it was a pointless segue from the previous page.
3. The next section is pretty good. It talks about sadness, but then it throws in “You might think you made the disaster happen, but you didn’t.” What kid thinks a tornado or flood is their fault? This book is just all mixed up with concepts, and ultimately, I don’t believe it is helpful to children at all.
4. One of the worst parts of the book is a section that mentions “In the disaster, there was no warning and no time to get ready.” Well, people in flood, earthquake and tornado areas have family and community plans in place, and generally instruct their children on what to do. The same goes for house fires. This book leads children to believe that they have absolutely no power, because it does not inform them that there is such a thing as preparedness. Coloring after the fact is cute, but preparedness before the fact helps children to anticipate and feel a sense of power vs. a feeling of helplessness.
5. Since this book doesn’t really settle on one concept, it does not effectively deal with any, which is a shame, because the last part talks about discussing your feelings, doing good deeds, and taking care of yourself as a way to cope.
I stand with the people who wanted this book pulled because of the cover with the burning towers, but I stand with them more because of the quality of the effort than just because of a controversial cover.
Disasters have different origins: those that are natural are dealt with one way, while those that are perpetrated by humans are handled another way. If FEMA wanted to do a book about how to deal with the fear that there are millions of people who want us dead because of their blind bigotry, hate, and misguided sense of spirituality, well, that’s a very different book from this one.TrackBack URI