Looking Back to 1776 from 2023

It’s the 4th of July. Known also to most of us in this country as Independence Day. 

And no, I’m not talking about the 1996 movie in which aliens invaded the earth to destroy it. Although sometimes I do wonder if we have some aliens here already masquerading as politicians, but that’s a debate for another time.

Today for most people in our country is a day off. A day we use to celebrate with cook outs, beach or pool or other backyard parties, flying the American flag if we have one, and then ending the day either setting off fireworks or crowding into parks and other areas to watch firework displays put on by whichever city or town we live in.

Sometimes we even remember why we celebrate this day. 

But I don’t think enough of us, and I’ll include myself, really stop to think why we recognize this day as being important in the history of our nation. Because we’ve known nothing but freedom in this country for our entire lives. We don’t stop to think about how hard fought that freedom really was.

Our nation was founded on a concept of freedom from tyranny, from another country that wanted to make those who came to these shores to begin a new life continue to live their lives under that country’s rule. 

And after a while, the colonists decided they’d had enough, and it was time to separate and form a new country. And they did. They risked their lives to start this country, to set in motion their dreams for a better life for their families and future generations. And they succeeded.

Now here we are today, some 247 long and challenging years later. 

And I wonder what the men who started that revolution, who dared to defy a then-mighty country who controlled those 13 little colonies…I wonder just what they’d have to say about our country today.

I dare say they wouldn’t begin to recognize what we’ve become. A nation united now becoming more and more strongly divided between two political parties. Between two sets of ideas for what this country should be, each side with basically no respect for the other. And sadly now, a nation beginning to see an erosion of many of our basic rights and freedoms for certain people, women especially, in a growing number of states. And it’s most likely not going to end there,

In the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Most likely they’d say our government has become too powerful; too over-reaching into our daily lives, and trying to control too much of what we do and how we do it. There are too many laws, both federal and state, which attempt to restrict the freedoms they fought so hard for.

And definitely too many politicians running the governments who are only out for themselves instead of the people who voted them into office. Too many egos saying what people want to hear, getting into elected office, and then going along with whoever can help them make the most money and get re-elected.

I think the founding fathers would be appalled. And I wonder if they wouldn’t try to maybe start another revolution of some sort to get us back on the right track?

Don’t get me wrong. I love my country. It’s not perfect, but it’s so much better than most of the others. Many other countries have nowhere near the freedoms we have, and if their citizens dare to assert their rights to individual freedom they are many times arrested and thrown into jail…or worse.

We’re allowed to speak our minds when we don’t like what’s happening; many other countries don’t have that luxury. But we don’t have the right to riot, burn businesses, and use guns to kill those who disagree. Which is now happening far too often. And we don’t have the right to go to a crowded club, musical event, or other celebration, or to a school where the future generation of Americans are trying to learn, and shoot them randomly. While politicians sit back and do nothing because we have “freedom” to have guns.

What would the founding fathers think of us now? They didn’t envision people owning assault weapons and other firearms in order to go shoot other people. They envisioned law abiding citizens having weapons to defend themselves from tyranny and attacks; not to attack others just because they have the weapons to do it. They didn’t envision career politicians running this great land. They wanted everyday people to make those decisions. And that’s not happening now.

Today let’s take a bit of time to reflect on what this day means, and what we can help do to get back to some of the basic ideas this country was founded on. 

I don’t know exactly how, but if all of us actually start to take the time to think about it, maybe we can accomplish something…at least for our children and grandchildren and all of the other future generations.

Thank about it. And have a safe and happy Independence Day!

I’ll Remember Graduation Day

There’s an old song called “Graduation Day.” It was sung by the Four Freshmen in 1956. The Beach Boys did a cover version of it in 1964.

“There’s a time for joy, a time for tears. A time we’ll treasure through the years. We’ll remember always Graduation Day.”

I remember it well, having grown up in the 60’s era of those really great meaningful songs. I graduated from high school in 1968, and have fond memories of that senior year.

We thought we were all going to make a difference in the world. We were going to really show the world what we could do. We were invincible.

Many of us went on to college. Some to trade schools. Some joined the military. There were weddings and babies. Established couples grew apart and went separate ways. Established friendships faded and were replaced with new people.

That was life. But there was one thing that stayed in our minds and our hearts and that was the feeling of a well knit and established community. Of people who cared about us.

It was a time of peace and happiness, even while the Viet Nam war raged on.

Some of us moved away and some of us stayed near our hometown. But we always had memories of each other, growing up and becoming adults. Those high school memories were and still are precious to us, and we continue to get together for high school reunions which is a great time for us all to catch up and discuss our lives then and now.

But today is sadly different. 

Just last night there was a mass shooting after a high school graduation in Richmond, VA, just a few hours from where we live. Seven people shot and two so far have died. Many others were injured and at least one person is still fighting for their life.

Talk about remembering your graduation day….and not in the way any of the graduates had planned.

For those graduates, there will be no happy memories. Only fear and sadness. Lives just beginning were cut down. And suddenly graduation meant entering a world of hate and violence; where one moment your entire future is ahead of you, and in an instant,  friends you’ve known for years are fighting for their lives. The happy pictures that were being taken of graduates and their families when the shooting began became photos of a scene of horror.

What is happening in our country these days is beyond my comprehension. I do not understand any of this. It is a sickness that has infested far too many events in our lives, to the point that none of us feel totally safe at any event, be it graduation, a birthday party, a wedding, a concert, or a church service. 

And the list continues to grow every day.

What is it going to take to end the gun violence in our country? How many more lives will be lost before we say enough is enough!?

It’s time to take a stand and make our voices louder than the sounds of bullets flying through the air.

Please, for our future generations’ sakes, so they will have a future, let’s do something before it’s too late.

A Memorial Day for the Fallen – 2023

Today is Memorial Day. A day set aside to honor those who have given their lives for this country. In countless wars and overseas conflicts. Brave men and women who gave their all.

They gave their lives to protect our freedoms. They went where our country sent them, and did what they needed to do. 

Did they question their reasons for going? I’m sure many did. But they went. Some returned and some didn’t. Today we honor those that didn’t return.

But I cannot help but ask us all to add another couple of categories of our citizens to remember and pay our respects to on this Memorial Day. Citizens who left home one day as usual and never returned.

Let’s remember the hundreds of first responders, police and firefighters as well as EMT’s who have also given their lives to save others. Oh, I know right now the police are under attack again for not doing what they’re supposed to do. It’s become a o popular sport in this country, unfortunately. And there will always be those officers who are in the wrong, but the majority are good people, who’ve dedicated themselves to such service, and those of them who’ve given their lives in the line of duty should be honored as well. It’s a job I wouldn’t want to do, and I am thankful for each and every one of them that have chosen to do it.

And we need to continue to support those who gave so much, and even today are still trying to readjust to a world that isn’t the same as when they left to serve; a world that sometimes tends to forget them, or ignore them; a world that sometimes has trouble remembering all they went through, and how hard it is to re-adjust to a life that has certainly changed them, emotionally as well as sometimes physical.

And I want us to also remember another group of people…innocent people who’ve been senselessly murdered by cowardly people with guns, out to spread their hatred and violence for whatever twisted and deranged parts of their minds that were urging them forward.

Innocent children. Worshippers in their chosen houses of God. Innocent shoppers in malls and grocery stores. Innocent concert goers who were enjoying a night of music. 

They unwillingly gave their lives because someone they didn’t even know decided they didn’t deserve to live.

And we continue on with our lives, thankful it wasn’t us.  

But such violence touches all of us in some way. It forever changes a part of us, and sometimes we don’t even realize it.

The awfulness of so much violence in this country will eventually be forgotten by the majority of the country, but never by the families and communities which have been devastated by the tragedy. Just like the families of our servicemen and women who were lost in combat, they will NEVER forget. Not a day will go by without a memory sneaking into their mind, and those memories are all they have left. They can’t call to say hello. They can’t visit with them or invite them to dinner. They can only look at their pictures and relive their memories.

Today as most of us gather together with friends and family for picnics and parties, or go out to grab up the best Memorial Day sales, let’s take the time to remember those families who are grieving over their loved ones who will never attend such events again.

Remember the fallen, because they deserve never, ever to be forgotten. And remember the families who will also never forget.


Those of us who grew up in the Viet Nam era of the 60’s and 70’s certainly remember the chant “Hey, Hey, LBJ…How many kids did you kill today?!”

It was heard throughout the country. A cry against a war that should never have been. A war that divided the country and took the lives of so many of our friends and families.

Well, yesterday this idea just hit me after hearing about the 162nd mass shooting in our country. And unfortunately by the time this is published, that number will most likely be higher. 

So I have a new chant we can start using, and it goes like this: “Hey, hey, NRA…how many of your guns killed kids today!? How many people did guns kill today?”

What do think? Could it catch on? 

Would anyone even care?

Or have we become so complacent that the news of a mass shooting just doesn’t affect us anymore? 

That is…unless it’s in your state or your hometown. Unless it affects people you know.

Have we gotten so used to these senseless tragedies…these senseless murders…that we’ve forgotten it’s not just another news story?

It’s a tragedy that happened to people just like you and me. And as the saying goes, “there but for the grace of God go I.”

It could be you or your loved ones next.

WHEN are we going to DO something about this epidemic that’s sweeping our nation?

Your kids could have been at that Sweet Sixteen party in Alabama where 4 young people were killed and 32 injured. Or attending that private school in Louisville. Or your loved ones could have been working at that bank in Louisville. 

Then you’d cry out for change. After it’s too late. 

Hey, hey, NRA…how many of your guns killed kids yesterday? How many more will they kill today?

Those of us who grew up in the Viet Nam era of the 60’s and 70’s remember the chant “Hey, hey,

What’s It Going to Take?

That’s a good question. And I wish I had an answer. A good answer would be nice. Or even any answer.

But I have none. And obviously there really isn’t one.

Yesterday a bank employee who had heard he was going to lose his job walked into that bank and started shooting employees, probably those who had nothing to do with his employment situation. All in all, 5 people are now dead, several others are in critical condition including a young police officer ten days out of the police academy. He was shot in the head.

Yesterday’s tragedy marked the 145th mass shouting in our country since the beginning of the year. That’s a sad statistic. 

It should be a frightening and sobering statistic, but it’s obviously not as much as it should be, because such events are becoming far too commonplace in our country.

We listen to the news and hear about some deranged individual walking into a crowded area, a school, a concert, a shopping center, a church, a darkened movie theater, and firing away, seeing how many people he or she can kill. 

We shake our heads in disbelief that it’s happened again. We’re outraged. We cry out for something to be done. At least for a day or two.

We offer our thoughts and prayers.

We put memes and pictures on social media reading “I stand with [whatever area was attacked today]” and think that’s all going to help. Because it makes us feel better.

It certainly doesn’t make the victims and their families feel better. Because they lost people that can never be replaced, no matter how many prayers we say. And it doesn’t do anything to stop this ever-growing plague of gun violence that is sweeping our nation.

But then there are others whose answer is…., you guessed it. More guns. Arm the teachers. Armed security in our churches. More armed guards in shopping areas, concerts and the like. Metal detectors in schools, which actually should have been done years ago. Are guns the answers to guns?

And of course, there are calls for more people to buy guns and get concealed carry permits so they’ll be ready for anything. Does it make me feel safer thinking that a person beside me may have a concealed weapon? No. It makes me nervous because I don’t know how an untrained individual with a gun would react in a situation with a mass shooter, particularly if that shooter had an assault rifle. And I don’t know whether that person will think something is about to happen, pull out the gun, and shoot when there’s no reason.

I hear very few politicians on the right calling for gun control. “Oh, we can’t do that,” they say. “The Constitution says we have the right to our guns. We can’t change that.” [Translation: We WON’T change that.

That’s not exactly true. They don’t WANT to change anything. They like the political contributions from all the pro-gun groups.

Actually, we can change our laws without outlawing gun ownership. We can outlaw certain types of guns, like assault weapons. We can write stronger laws regarding gun purchases and gun ownership, training in weapons handling. We can impose special excise taxes on firearm sales. We can license gun owners, and make those licenses renewable after a few years upon passing a test, like we do with vehicles. We can actually enforce the laws we now have, and make it harder for someone who has behavioral health issues to own a firearm. Or harder for someone to buy a firearm for someone else who isn’t legally able to do so.

We need to stop these senseless acts of violence by cowardly individuals who think the only answer to their problems is to destroy other peoples’ lives and families. They don’t care what suffering they cause; they probably don’t even think or care about it. Yes, these shooters havr at least diminish e emotional and mental issues, and that needs to be addressed as well.

But we also need to rethink our country’s love of guns. I’m not against hunting, but you don’t need an assault weapon to hunt for wildlife. 

I don’t have all the answers, but we need to start looking for answers in a serious way. There have to be things that can be done to stop these senseless tragedies. Hiding our heads in the sand doesn’t cut it. Praying for the victims doesn’t ease their tragedy. Donations made in the victims’ name doesn’t erase what happened or make it better.

Please, let’s contact our elected officials and demand legislation that can help to end or at least diminish these tragic acts of violence.

 Before your family or mine is another victim.

Parents, Hold Your Children Close

Because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

Too many parents have dropped their children off to school one morning, told them to have a good day, and said, “I’ll see you later.”

And they didn’t. Many even forgot to kiss them or tell them they loved them when they said their last goodbye.

Too many parents have gotten in an argument with their kids before they sent them off to school, and actually were relieved they didn’t have to deal with them until later that day.

But later that day they didn’t have the chance to deal with them…and never would again.

Sometimes we take the most precious things in our life for granted. And we don’t realize it.

Until it’s too late.

Today I’m thinking about all the parents whose children were victims of mass shootings. Parents who every day have to face a loss that’s beyond the scope of anything most of us have ever had to deal with.

They surely look back on the times they argued with their kids, yelled at them, and at times probably wish they’d never had them. Which of course they didn’t mean. And regret those thoughts and words for the rest of their lives.

But times change; circumstances change. And when the unimaginable happens, parents’ lives are changed forever, and not for good. They can’t take back things they wished they’d not said. They can’t apologize.

They can only live in the land of regret for the rest of their lives.

No parents are perfect. No children are perfect. But despite the problems and frustrations involved in raising children, they all love each other no matter what.

Families deserve the chance to love each other and grow together. Parents have the right to raise their children into adulthood.

And children have the right to a happy childhood and the right to grow from a child into an adult.

They don’t have the right to have that opportunity stolen from them by someone filled with hate and carrying a gun. Someone whose only motive is to destroy others with no regard for anything else.

Parents, hold your children close. Tell them you love them. Because they are a precious gift like no other you’ll ever have. 

Parents, and grandparents, make your voices heard. It’s time to stop the senseless violence against our children that we’re seeing far too often. It’s time to speak up and demand change.

I do not want to hear about another senseless mass shooting, especially in a school where our children should be safe and not fearful. But unfortunately I probably will.

What is all of this doing to our children? They see the news reports, and worry about the “what if’s”. They shouldn’t have to. Growing up is hard enough without worrying about someone coming in to your school with a gun and trying to shoot you.

Parents, hold your children close and love them for all they’re worth. 

Because their worth is immeasurable.

Enough is enough

I’ve had it. I’m done. Monday’s actions put me over the edge.

So far this year there have been 129 mass shootings. There have only been 86 days in the year.

I’m over hearing about school shootings. There’s no excuse for this to continue.

How many more parents’ lives will be devastated? How many more families will be destroyed?

How many more young lives will be senselessly lost until we decide to act and DO SOMETHING?!

How many more families will send their children, the most precious beings in the world, to school to learn and be with their friends,  and then a few hours later get that call no parent should ever get? The call that basically ends their world?

As a parent and now a grandparent to three of the most precious human beings in the world, my heart breaks, and aches, and cries out for justice and an end, once and for all,  to this madness.

Our schools are not safe. Doors are left unlocked, and unguarded. Entrances are not guarded or monitored. Guards are not employed. Safety measures are not being taken. Metal detectors are non-existent. Searches of backpacks don’t happen. 

Why? Budgets possibly. Or not wanting to “offend” someone. Not wanting to check out a warning that was given because it wasn’t thought to be credible, and no one wanted to take a chance they’d be wrong.

I’m done with this. I’m appalled. I’m angry. I’m livid. And I’m tired of no one wanting to take the action that’s needed to prevent more of this senseless violence.

The lawmakers don’t want to ban assault weapons because the Constitution gives us the right to have firearms. But it doesn’t say we can’t make laws that make sense.

But they also don’t want to offend the NRA, because they get campaign money from them so they can continue to win elections.

The gun laws we have need to be enforced, and we need to ban assault weapons. Laws do not need to be overlooked because someone might get upset. Or someone might lose their campaign monies.

People….It’s time to make a stand.  It’s time to actually DO SOMETHING to stop this craziness! Our children’s  very lives are at stake. And if you don’t believe me, that’s your problem. Look at the news. Look at what’s happening. Put yourself in other people’s places.

Our children are not only the most precious people in our world, they are the future of our country.

And they deserve to have their chance at that future.

I pray there will be no more incidents. But I’m also a realist. Until something is done, there most likely will be.

For those of you who say we can’t ban these weapons, or tighten gun laws, imagine how you’d feel if one of those children that was murdered were your child or grandchild.

Then tell me how you’d feel. 

I’m thankful my grandchildren are safe right now, and I continue to pray daily for their safety. But we need real action, and laws enacted that will help to prevent future such acts. And enforcement of those laws. It’s up to each of us to make our voices heard. And to speak for those who no longer can, because they’re still crying out and asking “why?”

And I have no answers for them.

Except that the ones that could actually do something did nothing.

Kids Will Be Kids…Except When They’re Not

Except when they take a gun to school and end up shooting their teacher. And it appears to be a deliberate act.

In this particular case, the child IS a child…age wise, at least. He’s 6 years old. A first grader.

I remember being in the first grade 65+ years ago. And I can tell you with certainty me or any of my classmates would have never thought about doing such a thing. My mother was a kindergarten teacher for some 25 years, and I doubt seriously any of her students would have thought of it either.

For those of you who haven’t heard about this, let me tell you about it. 

January 6, 2023 started out as a regular school morning at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia. The day ended tragically early when a 26 year old first grade teacher had a gun pointed at her by one of her students. That student pulled the trigger of the 9 millimeter handgun and shot her, the bullet going through her hand and into her chest.

Her entire class witnessed this. How do you think they felt? Scared to death? Afraid they’d be next? Never wanting to go to school again?

The teacher was in critical condition for several days, and finally released 13 days later, still but faces a long stretch of physical therapy as well as psychological counseling. The bullet is still in her body, which may result in more surgery.

And the shooter? Because he’s so young, we don’t know much. What we do know is that he is said to have a severe disability (which can’t be named because of his age) and because of the IEP (individual educational plan) he is under, he is supposed to be accompanied daily to school with either his mother or father. 

This particular week neither of his parents went with him.

His mother purchased the gun legally and has stated it was kept on a high shelf in the closet with a trigger lock. Maybe I’m a skeptical person, but I just can’t imagine how a 6 year old could’ve gotten a gun that was stored on a high shelf in a closet and then taken off the trigger lock. By himself. But then again, I guess anything is possible.

But things don’t add up for me. There has to be more to the story.

Then there’s the reaction of the school administration. Which is unconscionable.

In a news conference on Wednesday  January 25 the teacher’s attorney stated that on that day the teacher told an administrator the child had “threatened to beat up another child.” Administration didn’t remove the child from class or call security. They ignored it.

An hour later another teacher told the administrator she believed the student had put a gun in his pocket and taken it out to recess. The administrator downplayed the possibility, saying the boy had “little pockets.” Again the threat was ignored.

Shortly thereafter another teacher told administrators another child described as “crying and fearful” had informed the teacher this 6 year old showed him the gun at recess and threatened to shoot him if he told anybody. Nothing was done.

The teacher also texted a loved one before the shooting that the boy in her class was armed and that school officials were failing to act.

Another employee asked administration for permission to search the boy and his backpack, but permission was denied. He was told to wait the situation out, because the school day was almost over.

Well, it was almost over.

Because an hour later the student pointed his gun and shot his teacher. Police have described the shooting as intentional. The teacher somehow was able to evacuate her classroom while another teacher restrained the 6 year old shooter. She and the other teacher are the heroes of this story. 

The student is currently still in a local hospital undergoing treatment.

This is without a doubt one of the most tragic shooting events I’ve heard about. I cannot begin to even imagine how these events unfolded. How the school administration time and again failed not only the teacher who was almost killed, but the other students, as well as a student who clearly was in need of help. Our teachers do not get paid enough as it is, and certainly not enough to have to deal with situations such as this.

This is an example not only of total lack of common sense, as well as lack of concern for others, but a huge failure on the part of this school system to take precautions to ensure the safety not only of their students, but their teachers as well. I’ve heard that metal detectors have now been ordered for the schools in this district. It’s like the old saying of “closing the barn door after the horses escape.”

Why does it take such a tragedy in order to do what should have been done before? Are our schools more concerned about budgets and grades than they are about keeping their students safe? Are they more concerned about upsetting one student and their parents that the remainder of their students are put at risk?

Public outcry in this situation is resulting in change. Administrators are being terminated or resigning, hopefully to be replaced by others who will make better decisions in the future.

But this is not enough. It’s a start, but we need to learn from it and do things differently. I am a huge supporter of metal detectors in our schools, as well as armed security guards. It’s sad that it’s come to this, but we cannot ever afford to put a price tag on the value of our children and grandchildren. It’s time to make our voices heard over and over again until we get results.

Parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens, please speak up for what is right. For protection of our young ones who are the future of this country. They deserve the right to learn without fear, and the right to be in a classroom where they don’t have to worry about someone harming them, whether it be another student, or heaven forbid, someone from the outside.

This could happen in any school, in any district, and in any state.

Let’s all do what we can to stop this senseless violence against our most precious and defenseless population, our children. We must leave them a world that’s better than we’re seeing now. And we’re the only ones who can do it.

** Note: The details in this post were taken from news sources readily available online from WAVY-TV, CNN, CBS, and NBC. Please feel free to read the stories for yourself.

39 is Far Too Many

The first thing I read in the news the other morning was about ANOTHER mass shooting. Another in California. California’s THIRD in as many days.

But this isn’t about California. It isn’t about all the recent mass shootings at Walmart. 

It isn’t about school shootings.

It’s about our country’s refusal to realize that something has to be done to stop this madness. 

And that doesn’t mean we need to license more people for concealed or open carry.

It doesn’t mean we need to arm our teachers in their classrooms. They’re there to teach, not stop a gunman from shooting their students. Or a student shooting other students.

We need to make changes in our gun laws. And we need to change our attitudes about guns, as well as our attitudes about mental health.

Yes. Mental health. Because these people who are committing these horrendous acts of cowardly terrorism are most definitely in need of intervention. 

In the aftermath of these horrific incidents it’s very often discovered that a majority of the perpetrators have exhibited signs of serious and disturbing emotional and psychological problems. Which unfortunately are very often being largely ignored by friends, family, or coworkers.

Could some of these massacres have been prevented if people had spoken up instead of turning away and ignoring what they saw? Possibly. But we’ll never know, will we? Because so many people just don’t want to get involved.

But maybe at least some more massacres could be prevented if people took more careful note of others around them doing or saying things, posting things, that possibly could be an indication of a problem, and letting someone know. But then again, too many people like to ignore such things, afraid of retaliation or retribution from others. So they stay silent, and when something happens, that’s when they speak up. 

After it’s too late.

But this does not negate the need for stricter gun laws. AND the need to enforce those laws rather than oftentimes look the other way when someone wants to purchase a firearm who doesn’t meet the criteria under the law.

And by all means, we need to pass a ban on assault weapons. No one needs them for hunting. They are weapons for war, for quick kills. Why does Joe Public need one? And don’t tell me it’s to defend his family, because there are other ways. Yes, the Constitution allows us to keep and bear arms, but laws are designed to regulate how that is done.

And yes, I understand that there will always be an element of society that will find ways to acquire weapons no matter what. And in that case, when they’re caught, we need the laws to be strictly enforced, with no plea bargains. And all rights to gun ownership resulting in a lifetime ban on future gun ownership or possession with harsher penalties for violation. 

And what about educating gun owners on the proper and safe methods of securing their firearms? Perhaps even requiring those who legally own a firearm being required to take a safety course every so often in order to keep that license to own a gun? Don’t we have to have our drivers licenses renewed on a regular basis? What’s the difference?

By now I’m sure many of you will have tuned out and think I’m crazy to suggest any such limitations in gun ownership. After all, it’s their right!

Well let me close by asking this question? How would you feel if your loved one was killed or hurt in a mass shooting? What if there were a shooting at your child’s school? Would you still think there’s no need for stronger gun control laws? Picture yourself getting that phone call or seeing it on the news.

My friends, it’s time to make our voices heard and come up with a solution to these problems. Before there are more mass murders. 

Even one more is too many. 

Overcoming the Victim Mentality

He did this to me.”

“She said that about me.”

“I was being bullied because someone said something that I don’t agree with and I didn’t like it. They’re making me feel like they hate me.”

“He told me I’m fat and ugly and don’t deserve to have anything nice.”

“Everyone picks on me. No one understands what I’m going through. They don’t get it. I’m always being picked on.”

“He/she deserted me for someone else and now nothing’s going right. It’s not fair.”

“Whatever I do or say, someone always tells me I don’t know what I’m talking about and makes me feel bad about myself. They’re always picking on me.”

Do these statements sound familiar? 

Does someone you know say such things all the time? Or do you find yourself saying them?

What do these statements all have in common?

They’re what you use to make yourself the victim in everything that goes wrong in your life. Because it’s easier to blame someone else for everything than looking at yourself and asking why all this seems to be happening.

Maybe you’re the type of person who just can’t be happy unless there’s something to complain about.

Maybe it’s easier to explain away all your unhappiness because it’s someone else’s fault. 

But when you keep repeating the same reasons over and over in every unhappy situation there’s a problem.

It’s your victim mentality. Because it’s easier to blame someone else rather than look inside yourself and try to figure out why this same situation happens time after time.

Maybe you don’t know any other way to be. And maybe keeping that victim mentality in its strange way makes you happy. Because it’s easier to keep complaining than move out of your comfort zone. 

There’s always an excuse. But what you don’t realize is, you’re the excuse, because you’re always playing the victim.

And if you don’t stop, you’ll never be the conqueror.

And isn’t it time for you to be a conqueror rather than a victim?

Remembering The Price of Freedom 2022

This post was originally published six years ago today, and updated last year as well. But it’s still very relevant today. So once again I’ve updated it to reflect Veterans Day, 2022.

The price of freedom cannot be measured monetarily. It is measured by the sacrifice of the lives of the men and women who defend it.

Today is Veterans Day. The day we thank all of those who have served and are currently serving in our military. Their bravery and dedication to duty is not appreciated nearly enough. They have a unique understanding of the ways of the world that we who have not served cannot begin to understand. And so do their families, who go for long stretches of time without seeing their loved ones.

To all of those who have served or are still serving, we owe you a huge THANK YOU for the time and sacrifice you, and your families, have given, and are still giving, to this great nation. You leave home and family behind far too often to serve your country because that’s your duty and your chosen profession. You and your families are invaluable to this country, although sometimes we do not show it enough.

Those of us who only read about our service men and women who are in-country, with “boots on the ground” honestly do not comprehend what these brave men and women face on a daily basis. We cannot begin to understand with they go through, how they feel, how lonesome it can be for them being away from everything that is “home” for them. We cannot understand what it is like for the wives, husbands, children, and other family member who are apart from them so long, only being able to share events through email, text messaging, and hopefully FaceTime or Zoom calls.

My father served in the Army during World War II, however, because of a bad knee that he had originally injured playing football in college, he was sent home with an honorable discharge and a knee brace.

My uncle also served, however, he did not get home until the war ended. He was quite fortunate. Although I do not know his entire story, I will relate what I know of it, because in my eyes, he was one of the heroes.

My uncle also served in the Army as a young man barely 18 years old. He was trained as a crewman on the fighter planes, and consequently sent to Germany, where he flew in several successful missions with his crew.WW2 Plane

The morning of the day he flew his final mission was most likely just another day. Clear skies; light wind; a perfect day for flying. I can imagine the crew loading the plane, going through their pre-flight checklist, making sure their parachutes were ready, and most likely cracking jokes and talking about what they’d do when they came back from their mission.

Flying over enemy territory was never safe. Most of us have probably seen movies of the allied war planes heading out for missions over Germany. What the movies don’t adequately show is the danger our men faced during each of these missions.

They didn’t have all of the sophisticated equipment in 1945 that our armed forces have now. There were no computers, no GPS; only a navigator with paper maps showing where they were supposed to be flying. There were gunners who fired their weapons without fancy electronics to assist them. They had to judge where to aim, and when to pull the trigger, based on what knowledge the officers and ground troops had been able to discern. It was much different than today. But they had courage, and a sense of duty. They had volunteered to serve, and knew the risks involved.

I’m not sure exactly what happened, but my uncle’s plane took a hit from a German warplane. Fortunately they were all able to parachute out, and landed in a wooded area somewhere behind enemy lines. They had only a few supplies, and had no idea where they were. And no idea whether anyone else had any idea where they were, or even if they were alive.

Shortly afterwards they were captured by German soldiers and marched to one of the POW concentration camps. Capture was certainly better than being shot, which I’m sure they were all afraid, would happen. As brave as these men were, just remember, they were all in their early 20’s, the beginning of their lives. They all wondered if they’d ever see home and family again. Over 93,000 men were held as prisoners in the German POW camps in World War II. They were held in drafty wooden buildings, with uncomfortable cots, and only a thin blanket for warmth. They were fed one or two meals a day, usually some type of thin soup and stale bread. Their only utensils were a tin spoon, and a tin cup for water. One day they were given a treat…candy bars which they quickly bit into. And then saw the worms inside.

My Uncle Fowler and his crew spent six months in that camp, guarded by armed soldiers and German shepherds. They never knew when or if the guards would come for some of them to question them, torture them, or kill them.

There are some experiences that are just too terrible to discuss because they bring back too many nightmares. My uncle would never discuss any of what happened, other than what I have written here; not with his parents, his wife, or his two sons. After his return, and until the day he died, he was scared of German shepherds because he had seen them tear hands and arms off of prisoners who were trying to escape.

Conditions were bad back then. Conditions in foreign countries today can be bad as well. Our servicemen and women go on patrol, not knowing if there are IED’s, car bombs, or snipers waiting to take them out. Seemingly safe and quiet areas can suddenly become battlegrounds and killing fields. Many of these brave men and women come back seriously wounded, disfigured, or with severe cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which can require years of therapy to overcome. And there are still too many times when these brave men and women come back home in a flag-draped casket that arrives at Dover Air Force Base.

Recently a football player compared his being away from his family for games that were out of town, away from their home stadium. The comment drew many, many cries of outrage, and rightly so, and he later had to apologize. He spoke without thinking. Because he has no clue about what our military families go through, or what their loved ones go through who are away from them in foreign lands. And that’s a sad commentary on our thought processes today.

So today, let’s stop and thank a veteran for all of our freedoms that we hold so dear (or that we don’t even stop and think about at all because they’ve always been there). They give up a lot on a daily basis, and so do their families. Without them, our lives would not be what they are today.

To all veterans and to those who are still serving, and their families, Happy Veteran’s Day. Thank you for your service. May God bless you all, and keep you safe.veterans_day_thank_you-1940983

Why Vote?

Today is Election Day. Mid term elections as they’re called, since the presidency isn’t at stake this time.

What is at stake, however is the future of how this nation will look in the years to come.

We are voting for each and every member of the House of Representatives. And there are 34 Senate seats to be decided; that’s 1/3 of that side of Congress.

Why should we vote? And why should we care?

Because if we don’t make our voices heard, others will. And those others can decide how the next two or more years of our nation will be run. You think it isn’t important?

It is, because our freedoms are at stake more than any time in recent years. There are people running who are promising to try and dismantle some of those freedoms because they don’t agree with them. But if you disagree with those running and don’t make your voice heard, or those who are already in office and trying to get re-elected, then don’t complain about how things happen.

Because if you don’t make your voice heard, your apathy doesn’t give you the right to complain. Yes, it’s only one vote, but if thousands thought like that and decided their vote didn’t count, think about the difference that makes. Apathy elects candidates as well.

Elections have consequences, and it’s more important than ever to go out and vote today and make your voice heard. I may not vote for the same candidate you do, but you have just as much right to vote for your candidate of choice as I do. And you need to do that.

You wouldn’t want to let someone else decide where you’re going to live, or where you’re going to work, or where you’re allowed to go?

Then why would you let someone else decide how your country is run, and who makes the laws that affect your everyday life and the lives of your children and grandchildren?

Our forefathers fought and gave their lives to give us the right to exercise our rights to have a say in our government by voting. In many other countries there is no such right, or if there is, it’s a sham, controlled by the government so that the people have no choice of candidates. Some countries have even killed those who had the nerve to go vote.

I remember the first time I voted, and how excited I was to finally be able to actually have a say in our nation’s government. And I have missed very few elections in those 50+ years. I believe it’s a right and a privilege too important to miss.

So please, sometime today, go cast your vote. No matter what the election deniers would have you believe, your vote does count. It’s valuable. And it’s important.

I’m voting. Are you?