I had to step back for a few days and not write. It feels weird how everything is crumbling around me. Two of the most unsavory characters possible are now the major party nominees for president. I see no difference between them. They’re both corrupt. They’re both noxious. They’re both authoritarian lovers of tyranny. One of them will be president.
As my parents like to say, “We came to this country to escape tyranny and statism, and now it seems to have followed us here.” What the hell?
The NRA has issued its enthusiastic early endorsement to the very man who once accused the organization of being uncompromising and criticized it for refusing “even limited restrictions.”
Cultural icons of my youth are systematically being demolished in the name of diversity – really a cover for lack of originality, but who’s going to look closely at that?
Ghostbusters now features four women with not even a nod to the classic original.
There are rumblings about making James Bond into a female.
Captain America – Steve Rogers – the quintessential fighter for good, for freedom, for American principles – has been revealed by Marvel to have been a Hydra agent all along. What in the everloving, freezing, snot-dripping fuck, Marvel??? I know this is the age of shock, where entertainment enterprises compete for who can provide the most shock value to the audience in order to keep themselves “fresh” and “original,” but seriously, WHAT? This isn’t fresh and original. This is a blatant attempt to generate buzz and appear edgy, when in fact, you’re just full of FAIL!
In the past few years we’ve seen reboots of everything from Total Recall to Star Trek to Star Wars. I’ll admit I’ve enjoyed at least the Star Trek and Star Wars flicks, but I found Total Recall to be a boring, dark, humorless fail. The remake of Point Break was an unwatchable, dull mess. Godzilla wasn’t as horrible as it could have been. Casting Godzilla as a character that is actually neutral and inadvertently winds up saving humanity from Mothra is not a bad way to revive the genre.
Further proof that Hollywood has run out of creative juices shows us planned reboots and remakes of classics such as Porky’s, An American Werewolf in London, Logan’s Run, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and Stephen King’s It, which makes me want to issue a collective throat punch to every Hollywood producer involved in these unoriginal dumpster fires.
In other news that makes my soul die, 23 competitors in the 2012 London Olympic Games from five different sports and six different countries tested positive for doping, and 31 athletes (14 of whom were Russians) from the 2008 Games had also tested positive following re-examination of their samples. I get the competition is stiff, but the naive kid in me always viewed these games as a beautiful, unifying event. Way to crush my hopes and dreams, assholes!
Maybe I just need to stay the hell away from the Internet for a few weeks.
Social media is a funny thing. When I first started using Facebook, it was 2007, and I was deployed to Kosovo with my National Guard unit.
You get close with the people with whom you deploy. We had units from all over the country, including Massachusetts, Texas, and Puerto Rico. After spending close to a year and a half together, you make and cement friendships, you learn about one another, and you help one another. You become a family.
That’s why many of us got Facebook accounts – to keep in touch, to share our lives beyond deployment, and to continue nurturing those bonds we developed at Camp Bondsteel.
I did not know at the time what Facebook would become. The subsequent bonds came in spurts, so to speak. A lot of my old friends from high school joined, and we connected even though we hadn’t seen one another in more than a decade. Then, college friends found one another. Then old buddies from AFN-Europe – both military and civilian. I found old colleagues from former jobs, fellow fighters in the gun rights movement, and even some friends from my elementary school in the former USSR! That one is a joy.
When friends you have known for a long time recommend you become “friends” with someone in the virtual world, you develop a whole new set of connections. You share your experiences, expertise, and views with a whole new set of people, whom you’ve never met in real life, but into whose lives you all of a sudden have an amazing amount of insight. You become real friends, even though you have never met in real life. I often shake my head at the amount of personal details folks shoot into cyber space. I was never a fan, because so many predators exist out there, who are looking for their next victim. And yet, here I am – blogging about the very personal, very frightening, very real and traumatic experience of possibly losing my house. Here I am getting emotional and very tangible support from readers who love this blog, and who enjoy reading my sometimes jumbled thoughts. I never asked for financial support, and yet, here you are – hitting the “Donate” button – giving your earnings to a person you’ve never met, so she could get a beer or have a little peace of mind – offering words of encouragement and advice. My gratitude knows no bounds, you guys. I am so humbled by and grateful for your friendship!
The Internet makes you feel like you’re not alone. Sharing those personal details – both on Facebook, here, and on This Ain’t Hell, where the wonderful Jonn Lilyea shared my story with the community of vets and supporters there whom I have grown to know and love, and the majority of whom I’ve never met in person, made me feel like they we’re in it with me.
Two friends and partners in the gun rights battle emailed me and told me they were giving me a loan. One percent interest. Pay us back when you can. I protested, because I could not possibly know when I would be able to repay them, and because borrowing money from friends… They insisted. They love me, they said. They wanted to offer me some peace of mind, they said. When I finally do meet them in real life, I’m not sure there will be a hug big enough, strong enough, or long enough to express my gratitude for their love, friendship, and generosity! My plan is to put that money in savings and not touch it unless it really hits the fan, and I wind up homeless or the Redhead has nothing to eat. And once the fiasco with the thieving child molester and his lying, hypocritical wife is over, I will return the lump sum plus interest and more. Because I love them for the reassurance and peace of mind they have given me.
A friend of a friend, whom I’ve never met, contacted me the night before last – when I was at the height of my despair – when I was weeping every few minutes, because a twisted pair consisting of a child rapist and a lying, sociopathic shrew, David and Pamela Cooper, stole my house with the help of a judge, who is supposed to uphold justice, but instead enabled theft – made me lose hope. She asked if I would mind if she started a fundraiser for me. I balked at first. Even though the thought of losing the house I worked for, and possibly my job, was terrifying, the thought of good, kind, people giving me money so I could pay for this child raping scum to live in my house free of charge was and is morally abhorrent. But the legal bills in this fight would no doubt mount, and while I’ve heard great things about the attorney who was helping us with the filings and giving us some legal advice on this matter, I would never expect him to work for free. So we compromised. Amanda – a beautiful, intelligent, kind woman I met on Facebook through a mutual friend, and whom I have never met in real life, set up a fundraiser on GoFundMe, and specified that this money would only be used for legal expenses – and not to keep a “man” convicted of carnal knowledge of a minor and his sociopath wife living rent-free on my property.
I have to tell you, I’m overwhelmed by the response. Not only friends and acquaintances, but complete strangers, anonymous individuals, poured money into this effort! To date Amanda has raised more than $2200 – more than enough to put an attorney on retainer – in one day. In. One. Day. To some, it may not seem like a lot, but to me, it is the world, folks. I’m a writer. It’s what I do for a living. And, yet, I cannot properly express my gratitude to each and every person who contributed to this effort. Frankly, it’s the last thing I expected, because I lost faith in anything and everything that was just and good in this world. But here you are – some of you complete strangers, while others I only know from the online world of political discussions and cat memes, coming to my aid and giving me hope.
It’s hard to breathe through this much emotion!
This isn’t the first time people whose hand I’ve never had the pleasure of shaking gave me a hand up. When Mac got sick last year, friends and family came to her rescue and helped me pay for her medical care. When she died, I sent the remainder of your generous gifts to a homeless pets charity. When unexpected expenses for the best of me, beautiful individuals stepped in and handed me support. Just like that. With no strings attached and no demands. Because they could. I don’t forget that kind of friendship, and I pay it forward when I can – and sometimes when I can’t – because that’s how you are supposed to act. That’s what you’re supposed to do.
When I was terrified of spending yet another $300+ on H&R Block at tax season, my friend, former Marine, fellow veteran Dave Hardin convinced me (he’s hard to say no to – he’s about as stubborn as I am) to use his CPA firm. The Accounting Firm (simple, elegant name) and the amazing Karen Hardin did my taxes via phone in just a few minutes. Taxes were filed. Refund was due. Through some kind of strike of horrid luck or bureaucratic insanity, refund didn’t happen. Karen spent hours on true phone with the IRS, filed additional paperwork, and continues to hammer them to return my money. No one charged me a dime. I had a large print made of a photo of a dogwood flower I took. I sent it to Karen as a token of my gratitude. Dave will get booze and a dance when we finally meet in person.
But this… This is overwhelming, you guys. You didn’t just offer words of love and support. You didn’t just give me money. You didn’t just give me hope, although it’s a big thing. You have given me the will to fight this injustice! I may not ever get my house back. I may have to face foreclosure, but I’m not going down without a fight. And it’s all thanks to you.
You, the Internet, have restored hope, and that’s priceless.
Because what kind of world would it be if child molesters, liars, and thieves were allowed to win?
I know it’s been weeks since I’ve written anything. I needed a break. I haven’t really been in the mood to write. First, there was the snow, which prompted me to sit around in bed all day in my pajamas drinking hot tea and watching Law & Order reruns.
And now… I’m off on temporary duty to Miami.
I know… HARDSHIP! But you’d be surprised how crappy it feels to go from a foot of snow in DC to 85-degree heat with 10000 percent humidity down in southern Florida! So if you have a snarky comment about how you feel oh-so-sorry for me being down here, keep it to yourself, punkin, because all you’ll get from me is a one-fingered salute.
As for what I’ve been up to?
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been a regular part of the GunBlog Variety Cast along with some awesome folks, including Sean Sorrentino and Erin Palette. I’ve been doing this for a while now, but I’ve been an abject FAIL at blogging about it, because I’m lazy. So go over there and listen. Surprisingly enough, I don’t bloviate about guns on this one, but rather foreign policy. Erin talks about prepping, Sean and Adam talk about… stuff, and other incredible, talented, and intelligent folks talk about guns and tech. It’s fun. You should check it out, if you want to find out what I sound like on the air (shout out to my broadcaster background!).
And no, I don’t curse.
So what’s been going on?
Well, for one, we kicked Maduro and his band of Venezuelan thugs in the nuts with some sanctions last week. And if you hear them whining that this means the United States is about to launch into some kind of military action against them, you can laugh a little, because they’re either ignorant, or just want to raise the level of whining. Fact is that they were sanctioned under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which authorizes the President to regulate commerce after declaring a “national emergency” in response to any unusual or extraordinary foreign threat. It certainly doesn’t authorize any kind of military action.
Specifically, the E.O. targets those determined by the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Department of State, to be involved in:
- actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions;
- significant acts of violence or conduct that constitutes a serious abuse or violation of human rights, including against persons involved in antigovernment protests in Venezuela in or since February 2014;
- actions that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or peaceful assembly; or
- public corruption by senior officials within the Government of Venezuela.
The E.O. also authorizes the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Department of State, to target any person determined:
- to be a current or former leader of an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in any activity described in the E.O. or of an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked or frozen pursuant to the E.O.; or
- to be a current or former official of the Government of Venezuela;
What does this all mean? It means we don’t like corrupt thugs who steal money from their own people while undermining their basic rights using the U.S. financial system. So we cut off their access to it.
What else has been going on?
The Justice Department determined there was no basis for continued legal action against Darren Wilson, who last year shot Michael Brown in an action which was determined to be justified. Of course, Holder and the DOJ can’t leave well enough alone, so even though the shoot was good, they put out a report citing racism in the Ferguson PD writ large in an obvious attempt to mollify the screeching race hustlers. It is interesting to note that the report cites revenue generation being emphasized in the PD’s approach to law enforcement.
Patrol assignments and schedules are geared toward aggressive enforcement of Ferguson’s municipal code, with insufficient thought given to whether enforcement strategies promote public safety or unnecessarily undermine community trust and cooperation. Officer evaluations and promotions depend to an inordinate degree on “productivity,” meaning the number of citations issued. Partly as a consequence of City and FPD priorities, many officers appear to see some residents, especially those who live in Ferguson’s predominantly African-American neighborhoods, less as constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue.
This is a problem that’s not just limited to Ferguson. Nothing new and different there, and I’ve often been appalled at the outrageous fees and penalties imposed on citizens for engaging in a simple mistake or minor traffic violation. So I get it. It sucks.
But in the same breath, the DOJ’s report claims that “The harms of Ferguson’s police and court practices are borne disproportionately by African Americans, and there is evidence that this is due in part to intentional discrimination on the basis of race.”
Lemme ask ya something. If it is obvious that the city’s focus is on revenue generation, rather than public safety, and therefore, it views the PREDOMINANTLY AFRICAN-AMERICAN city as a source of revenue generation, wouldn’t it stand to reason that in a predominantly black city, the brunt of those revenue generation policies would be… um… black, and that the reason Ferguson’s law enforcement practices and policies overwhelmingly impact African-Americans is because THAT’S WHO PREDOMINANTLY LIVES IN THE FRIGGIN’ CITY?
But hey, some of us don’t go looking for racism under every bed and around every corner.
In response to said report, Ferguson’s city manager has resigned and a state judge will be in charge of all Ferguson cases. Every town needs scapegoats, I suppose. That, of course, didn’t mollify the stampeding hordes, and just this past weekend, two police officers were shot after working crowd control in Ferguson. Police charged Jeffrey Williams with the shooting. The suspect admits he fired the weapon, but claims he was aiming at someone else in the crowd.
I’m trying to wrap my head at the amount of fucking stupid it takes to make such an admission. Stupid #1) You fire your weapon into a crowd of fucking people. Stupid #2) You admit to doing so, but hey… you weren’t aiming at police, and I guess you were expecting to hit your mark dead on. In a crowd. You dimwitted, miserable FAIL of a fucktard. Stupid #2) The only two people you conveniently hit are two cops. How propitious, considering the demonstrations were all about supposed police “racism.”
And, of course, Holder has been sniveling about how much acts of violence against law enforcement are not to be tolerated. Never mind he and his DOJ are the ones fomenting said unrest!
OK, enough about that.
There was supposedly a ceasefire agreement reached in Ukraine. Well, it was reached, but if you’re thinking that it’s somehow been effective, you’d be wrong. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the ceasefire is “fragile.” I think while violence has been reduced some, he’s the master of the understatement. If you want a boots on the ground (so to speak) glimpse into what’s going on, you should follow U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt on Twitter. The Russians will tell you it’s not their fault – that it’s the separatists failing to abide by the ceasefire – that they have no control over said militants. Um… yeah… right. If you think that Moscow isn’t behind the continuous arming of separatists in the region, I have this bridge…
Yes, I know I should keep up with my blogging, but even I need a break sometimes, so if I’m not around, it’s because I’m busy having a life.
So the aftermath of Adam Smith’s little YouTube drama against Chick-Fil-A employee Rachel is a tearful Internet apology, according to the UK’s Daily Mail.
Revealing that he tried to say sorry in person to the staff member called Rachel at the Tucson drive-thru Chick-fil-A franchise, Adam Smith took the opportunity during his video to reaffirm his support of gay rights.
Of course, he did. Because you can’t possibly just say sorry to the kid. You have to stick your politics back into it. But OK, aside from that…
Rachel, I am so very sorry for the way I spoke to you on Wednesday,’ said Smith in his video which has been viewed over 300 times.
‘You handled my frustrating rant with such dignity and composure.
‘Every time I watch the video I’m blown away by, really the beauty in what you did, in your kindness and your patience with me.’
‘You should know that I never planned to say the things I said to you that day, and how I said them,’ explained Smith.
‘I planned to peacefully participate in the August 1st YouTube post where Jackson Pearce asked people to simply order a large water to show support for the gay community.
‘But when I got to your window, after seeing all the people in and outside the restaurant that came to support Chick-fil-A, I lost it.
‘I just lost it. I couldn’t believe the number of people came out to support a corporation that associates themselves with anti-gay groups, like Exodus International and the American Family Association.
‘And how did I lose it? By making you listen to my frustration and disgust. It wasn’t right, and for that I am so sorry.’
He goes on to explain that he went over to the restaurant to apologize and check on how she was doing, and that he understands why she wouldn’t speak to him. Here’s the rest of the video, so you can judge for yourself the sincerity of the apology.
I won’t say what I think of the video or whether or not I judge it to be sincere. Frankly, it’s not my place to forgive or to judge its truthfulness.
I did, however, find intriguing and interesting the portion of the video where he talks about looking at Rachel as “collateral damage” in this grand battle against Chick-Fil-A, so I thought I’d address this.
In our battle for whatever it is we’re passionate about, we tend to dehumanize our enemy. This has psychologically been true throughout history, whether in war or in civil rights battles. Dehumanizing the enemy, calling them names, forgetting their identities, makes them easier to kill. In this case, treating Rachel as part of the “problem,” instead of a live human girl merely trying to make a living, made it easier for Adam Smith to slay the “enemy” that was Chick-Fil-A – a corporation whose head donated millions to odious groups such as Exodus International, which actually tries to “cure the gay” with conversion therapy. Rachel at that moment represented all that is odious about groups such as Exodus and Focus on the Family. She wasn’t a young person trying to earn a paycheck, but part of an evil corporation that funds organizations that work to bring religious fundamentalism into the mainstream.
So he attacked her, harassed her and publicly berated her – and he felt GOOD about it, because he stood up to the evil corporation, not bullied a young girl.
It’s easy to do. I do it all the time. The original title of this blog post was “Douchebag apologizes.” I changed the title, because I realized that Douchebag had a name and an identity, and no matter how much of an asshole he was to Rachel, at least he did the grownup thing and apologized.
I don’t know if he did so, because he didn’t want to get fired, which he did anyway.
I don’t know if part of the reason was that he understood how difficult it would be for him to find another job, with his name plastered all over the Internet as the jackass who abused a kid.
I don’t know if he did it because he didn’t want his young children to look at him with derision when they were old enough to understand what he did. The Internets is forever, after all!
I don’t know why he apologized, but I’m glad he did.
When we start looking at our enemies as objects of hate instead of idiot human beings with faults, we lose a bit of our righteousness.
It’s Friday, and I don’t feel like blogging much, but I feel I need to share this.
I have found my future wife. I’m totally in love with this chick. Her name is Kira Davis She is awesome in every way. So instead of blogging why I love her, I encourage you to listen to her.
Oh… and if she’s already spoken for, I nominate her for President. I don’t care which party.