Monday, July 22, 2019

The Second amendment ... why isn't it the FIRST Amendment?

Like many of you who read this spiel, I consider the Second Amendment (the right to "Keep and Bear Arms") to be one of the most important freedoms which are recognized by out Constitution.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
(You have no idea how awkward it was to find the actual text of the 2nd Amendment!)

Like many of you, I find it ... "awkward" ... to rely on a Constitutional Amendment to define our right to defend ourselves against armed predators.  

And more important, it seems that the right is so obvious, it doesn't seem necessary to include it in our Constitution.  

But sadly, there are so many people who think that the whole "GUNS ARE BAD" thingie should predominate American thought, we who depend upon our own willingness not to be predated upon (rather than expect "police" to protect us) ... we find ourselves in the minority.

As it happens, the First Amendment (freedom of speach, etc.) is PROTECTED by the Second Amendment ... the right to keep and bear arms.  

If we can speak our mind, and if some violent persons disagree with us ... we cam only counter violence with superior violence.  Witness the American Revolution, when England was our master and we revolted against a country which was stronger and as well-armed.  

Americans prevailed because they were armed, and willing to use those arms to support their cause of independence.

Today, America is the most powerful nation n the world, and we continue to support our independence through force of arms.  We don't have to fight our enemies, because the know that (A) our force of arms dominate the power of any other nation, and (B) our armed citizenry is well known for being feisty and aggressive against would-be aggressors.  

(And they can't afford a war against the richest nation.)

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Damned if you do ...
The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed a resolution Tuesday evening condemning President Trump's "racist" remarks this weekend -- although the moment was largely overshadowed by a dramatic floor fight earlier in the day that ended with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ruled out of order for a breach of decorum.

As far as it's obvious, the "Racist Remarks: were:

Trump had tweeted on Sunday that unnamed "Democrat Congresswomen" should go back and fix the "corrupt" and "crime infested places" from which they came and then "come back and show us how it's done." He later all but affirmed he was referring to Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley -- all of whom, except Omar, were born in the United States.
Personally, I'm confused when I try to find the elements of "Racism" in this reference/.

The instigator of the boondogle seems to have been a female senator from California. (Democratic, of course), and it's difficult to find a state which is more mired in political boondoglery ... if we ignore New York (which I do daily).

The female representatives are connected with eastern states, which are often prone to Liberal interpretation of laws and regulations .. much like California.

Well, nobody is perfect.

My understanding is that the Trump comment referred to the states which the individual career politicians represented, rather than the nations and cultures of their ancestral origin. 
That sort-of shunts the emphasis from "we're offended because you denigrate our ancestry" to "we're offended because you represent the "OTHER" Political Party".

But that's too simple, and unlikely to provide fodder for the bottom-feeders of Ameica's most sensitive political party.

Trophy Hunting

Bambi Lives!

I once shot a chipmunk with a .22 pistol.
Not because I had felt threatened or because I was hungry, or because it was a "varmint" raiding a farmer's Alfalfa crop, but because I was young and bored and couldn't find any jackrabbits.

That statement is "full disclosure";  I've shot things I didn't need to shoot, and I regret it.

A recent Rant against "Trophy Hunting" included this:
 A couple photographed kissing next to a lion they have just killed while on safari has caused outrage.
But the pictures were widely condemned after being placed on the website of Legelela Safaris – a tour company which specialises in organising big game hunts.
... and :
Australian TV host Danny Clayton said: “More idiots that get their rocks off by pointing a boomstick at a beautiful animal."

(spelling irregularities in original copy)


Heat Wave

Be careful in the sun:  Seek shade, drink lots of water, and remember that perspiration is God's way of telling you that you're going to Hell!

In Viet Nam, (1969-1970)  ... three months into my tour.

We were assigned to "Firebase Security", my platoon and another, and we were assigned to a "cloverleaf patrol" outside Firebase "November 2" ..

"We" was Charley Company, 1/18th, First Infantry Division.  One hundred Infantrymen commanded by Captain Cagill and we were Third Platoon ("Third Herd") commanded by Lieutenant Smith ... known as "The Rutgers Ranger" ... he was a graduate of the ROTC program at Rutgers University.

Lieutenant Smith (all names are invented here) commanded First and Second platoons, I was senior NCO (E6/Staff Sergeant) of Third Platoon.   Fourth platoon did not exist .. manpower was short.  We had to use everyone we had, regardless of the risks.

I led the 30-man platoon, which we had split into two 2-squad elements; our company mission was to perform a day-light "cloverleaf" patrol around the four corners of the firebase to search for daylight infiltrators or any enemy positions.  Mostly, we were just showing the flag so Charley knew he couldn't sneak observers into the area of the firebase without being discovered.

In truth, it was a bullshit mission because the CO didn't want us to just sit behind the wire and get soft.

It was a delicate minuet we danced: Chi-Com Charley vs GI Joe.  We all  knew that November 2 guarded Hiway 15 (AKA "Thunder Road" as it was the most direct access to Saigon from the North .. where Charley ruled the High Ground and we guarded the road ... the easiest and fasted route to Saigon in the country.

Running a daylight patrol in the 130 degree tropical sun is not a softening exercise.  It had its own threats, including that Charley might have set up a few trip-wires to break up a (REALLY important) Night-time patrol.  It was one of Charley's favorite games.  He set up a daytime booby-trap  which would have attracted defensive fire at night in a quadrant which was NOT the planned access for a late-night    We HAD to patrol, every day, regardless of the high probability that some of our men would be unable to withstand the terrible heat and high humidity.

But Charley left a few routes "not mined".  If we could find where the traps were, we could figure out the routes which Charley was un likely to pour troups at us during the hours of darkenss; a pre-dawn raid was their favorite tacktic.

So .. yes!  Taking a patrol out in the heat of the day was risky because of the chance that American troups would be decimated by heat-stroke.  It was stupid to send troups on patrol in the heat of the day.

That's why we did it, and that's why we assumed the risk of the deadly noon-day sun.

And Charley's simple little trap worked, at least as far as it went.

All of our attention was on providing First Aid to a "wounded comrade", and our patrol never completed its assigned mission because of the need to (a) get our man the best medical attention immediately, and (b) get the rest of our men under cover.

(For what it's worth, we never found any mines, booby-traps, or other conditions which might have hazarded a night-time patrol .. so we patrolled the outside perimeter that night, too.)

What is heatstroke?

Heatstroke is a serious condition that occurs when our body’s temperature rises over 103 degrees Fahrenheit. It is usually the result of overexerting yourself in extreme heat and is an emergency. “With heat stroke, the body tries to lower its internal temperature by systematically shutting down organs to protect the heart and brain,” explains cardiologist Paula Montana De La Cadena, MD.
In a word .. "Heatstroke Will Kill You!" almost as fast as a bullet.  (Okay, more than one word.)

We all carried three to five canteens of water 

 I also carried a 5-gallon backpack of water, because when you're on a long patrol, the three or four or five canteens won't last anyone if the patrol is extended.  The weight was grueling at first, but we always took it slow and easy for the first day of the patrol.  When we stopped for the night, I refilled canteens from my back-pack.  It still wasn't as much as we wanted, but every man "hydrated" every time we stopped. Sometimes, more often.   My backpack was necessary because we typically didn't meet a "resupply" convoy more often than every 3 days (unless we were in contact .. when we sometimes needed ammunition resupply anyway);  and we always needed more food ... humping through the bush required a lot of calories, and the one thing that the Army was good at was supply!

It wasn't my choice to carry extra water because I was "noble"; I didn't walk as far as everyone else in the unit, but I always encouraged them to "hydrate" (drink water) at every stop ... even if it was only a sip from a canteen.  You are not your best judge of your need for water in a combat patrol; that's MY job, as Platoon Sergeant ... to look after your men.   I would send them out on short patrols to investigate the flanks of our line of match, and they would come back later having travelled two or three times as much ground as I had travelled.  They were our "Flankers", and our first line of defense.

These men were our most important members of any patrol.  I was nothing more than the guy who sent them off on dangerous missions ... and I was their Water Bearer.  They did the hard work; I sent them out as well-supplied as possible.  I knew I might not see them back for hours .. or alive.

After all these years, I have lost contact with the men I commanded, and also with their families (with whom I maintained an email relationship until they ceased to respond.

I am very proud of the men who allowed me to work with them in the most dangerous part of their lives.  Most of them came home again, and I talked with them.  Those who didn't come back "whole" left me with family contacts, and for a while .... but then it became more uncomfortable for them to talk to me, and i did not force myself and my memories upon them.

But I hope they know that I have not forgotten the brave men who fought with me.  A couple of whom I watched die, some of whom went elsewhere .. and the most of them just don't want to talk about Viet Nam any more.

I hope that this is the last time I'll talk about those awful days .... my brother-in-law accuses me of having "Loved It", but he avoided the draft (I wish I could have done so .. for m soul's sake) and i can't guarantee that I won't have more "War Stories" to get off my chest in the future.

The truth is, it's helpful for me to talk about The Bad Old Days.

Fighting in an undeclared war against an enemy who had never constituted a direct threat ....
against me, my country or my family, is not my "Bravest Moment". ... I wish I had never been involved.  Why couldn't they just let me be?  But NO .. they drafted me and (GOD help me) I did my best to be the most fierce warrior possible.

It's late nights such as this one, when I wonder if I should have just renounced my American citizenship and moved to Canada.

But that would have been an act of cowardice, I think, and I should always wonder whether I had renounced my American Citizenship out of moral outrage, or fear of death in war..

In the end, I did not have the moral courage to refuse the draft. 
What would my children think of me then?

No, I did what I thought was the lesser of evils .. I "served my country" to the best of my ability, and for a cause that I did not espouse .... because it IS My Country.

No Mission Too Difficult;
No Sacrifice Too Great!
Duty First!

That's the motto of the First Infantry Division.