Stephen W. Browne | Rants and Raves

Sep/15

2

Cop Haters

“Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;”

Rudyard Kipling, Tommy

(Note: This is an op-ed I wrote before the recent alarming string of police murders across the country.)

There are a lot of people out there who hate cops.

“So what else is new?” I hear you ask.

(Cops among the readership are probably just rolling their eyes.)

Of course there are people who hate cops. There are whole sectors of society that dislike and distrust cops. I’m talkng about middle and upper-class white people who hate cops.

I’m talking about respectable members of society with no criminal records, no contact with police beyond getting a traffic ticket, and no contact with the kind of people who engage in criminal enterprises and accept arrest and imprisonment as a business expense.

I am not talking about people who recognize and speak out against corruption and abuse of power by individual cops and broken agencies.

Any honest cop know there are such, though they’ll tell you they are rare. We can argue about whether they’re being too optimistic.

I’m talking about people who appear to hate cops on principle. I’m talking about people who state there are no good cops, because all cops are sworn to enforce all laws, including stupid or unjust laws.

That’s the rationalization at least. To me a whole lot of it looks like the adolescent resentment of authority that I remember from my own early years, only I grew out of it.

“You’re white and you’re not poor, of course you like cops!” I hear.

I have a confession to make. I once was enamored with the romance of outlawry, and my interactions with cops were not always positive.

And long ago in one of the Eastern European countries newly liberated from communist tyranny, I was once the recipient of a beating with honest-to-God jackboots and honest-to-God rubber truncheons.

I will further confess that I have a more than passing familiarity with criminals and ex-criminals. Respectable people are sometimes astounded when I mention that I actually know murderers, more than one in fact.

And I should mention that I’ve had extensive use-of-force training, including a fair amount of police training in the U.S. and abroad while pursuing stories.

That I think is one of the reasons these people irritate me so much. The fact that they make confident pronouncements about what cops should have done in the kind of hot situation they have zero competence dealing with themselves.

I’ve heard a professor of philosophy ask the old question, “Couldn’t they just shoot them in the leg?” (To her credit, when it was explained to her why this is uttely unrealistic she understood and changed her mind.)

I’ve heard others Monday-morning quarterback about police shootings where a cop shot someone making a sudden move who turned out not to be armed.

“Why can’t they wait until they see a gun? They’re out of control!”

I’ve heard police shootings condemned because a mentally disturbed person “only had a knife.”

(There is something called the “21 foot rule.” A lot of evidence shows knife beats gun within 21 feet. And mentally disturbed people too often have hysterical strength and sky-high pain tolerance.)

And I know of anti-cop sites which post article after article about “police brutality” with precisely one source – the accused!

“It’s people like you that justify police states!” you say.

Listen, I’ve lived in police states. And you know what – police states have lousy police. And I don’t mean brutal and repressive, I mean undertrained, incompetent and indifferent police. So-called police states are sympathetic to criminals and regard their citizens as the enemy. I have never once seen the level of courteous professionalism among cops there that I’ve seen here and in Great Britain.

Yes, sometimes you run into bad cops, sometimes you run into a cop who’s having a bad day, and sometimes you run into cops with problems they can’t leave at home.

But could it be that you’re more likely to run into a cop who deals with the scum of the earth on a regular basis and doesn’t know you from Adam? Who deals with people who’d cap your middle-class ass without a second thought because you dissed them, because you had something they wanted, or just because?

One last question. If enough people keep harping on this “there are no good cops” things, how long will it be before a lot of cops decide there’s no point in trying to be one?

P.S. I have been trying to point out to a number of people and organizations:

1) They need to demand the same journalistic standards they’d expect if they were being covered. Sites such as CounterPunch and Cop Block often publish stories of “police brutality” with precisely ONE source – the arresttee.

2) They need to learn something about use-of-force issues before sounding off about something outside their area of expertise. Rory Miller’s “Force Decisions” is a great place to start.

3) If they wish to be effective spokespersons against police misconduct they have to do their homework and stop posting every piece of dreck that supports their prejudices.

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Aug/15

29

Along Old 66

M1

M2

M5

While working on some personal writing projects from home I tend to get a little stir-crazy. Yes, yes, now that school has started I have all the peace and quiet I need to work on the mighty literary works I’ve planned.

And sometimes I hate it. I miss deadlines, and I miss getting in my car and going somewhere!

So I made an arrangement with the online publication Red Dirt Report. When the peace and quiet gets to much for me I head out on the road and find something to write about. A decade of rural journalism has shown me the boonies are just full of interesting people doing interesting stuff.

Case in point, a private museum in Warwick, Oklahoma a town of about 250 people on old Route 66. Two guys who like motorcycles bought a brick building getting near a century old now, and made a private museum. I dropped by and interviewed the co-founders and wrote it up here.

I visited on a Thursday morning, somewhat concerned about whether there would be any visitors to interview – and met people from France and China!

I am fascinated by the phenomenon of the local museum in this country. I lived in Europe for 13 years, and I don’t believe there is anything like this there, or at least not on the scale there is in the U.S. Small towns and counties in rural America support museums, and sometimes guys like these with a hobby put one together.

Jerry Ries one of the co-founders told me they get anywhere from 20 to 500 visitors a day. Now consider that’s on a two-lane highway long bypassed by the Interstate system.

Build it and they will come!

Note: The bikes are a 1909 Triumph and two motorcycles used in the movie “Captain America: The First Avenger.”

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Flag

The picture here is from Tunisia. A man is stepping on an Israeli flag. A young lady in Tunisia posted it on a Facebook page called PMWB “People who Want to Make the World Better.” Somebody recently made me an administrator on the page. I have no idea who it was or why they did.

The young lady said it was in solidarity with the Palestinians after an attack on a Palestinian home by suspected Jewish radicals resulted in a toddler burned to death.

(Note the co-authors MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH and TIA GOLDENBERG, Associated Press. Good for AP!)

I asked the lady, “So are you going to post a pic of stepping on a Palestinian flag the next time one of them blows up an Israeli school bus?”

She replied with a terse, “No,” and I set out to write this article.

Then after a few minutes she posted, “I was kidding, of course I will do it! It’s all about humanity,” and the article took another turn.

Kidding? I don’t think so. I think what happened was anger answered first, then reason gained the upper hand. And I give full credit to the lady for forcing reason to control passion.

What I did was to post two of my articles on the Itamar massacre in 2011 here and here.

We’ll see how folks there react. I have a certain jaundiced cynicism about people who proclaim they are out to “make the world a better place.” Bless them, if we didn’t have some of them around perhaps nothing would ever improve, but experience seems to show they generally see things in black and white with sharp outlines and little appreciation for moral ambiguity.

Heavy sigh. Every culture has certain blind spots that place limits on their thinking that can only be overcome with great courage and heroic effort. I believe a big blind spot in American culture is the notion that all problems have solutions and all situations can be improved. We believe this so implicitly that we never even consider whether it is true or not, we simply assume it is.

One consequence of this is our belief that everybody can share a world in peace with enough good will and sweet reason.

There is not a shred of evidence to support this.

This conflict is not going away anytime soon, and like it or not we’re going to be involved in it.

Some of my questions, observations and opinions are:

*I don’t buy a prior claim of European Jews to the land of their ancestors. As I said in Reflections on Itamar, “By those lights all of us of Goidelic Celtic descent could demand the right to settle in Spain, the jumping off point for the colonization of Ireland and Scotland. Hell, we could make a case for the reconquista of most of Western Europe.”

*Nevertheless Palestinians resident in Israel are freer, richer, and materially better off than those living under the thugocracy of the Palestinian Authority, or citizens of any majority-Muslim country. This appears to matter to them not at all.

*Yes, there are atrocities committed by Israelis against Palestinians. All such cases are illegal and condemned by the majority of Jewish Israelis. The perpetrators are prosecuted when caught.
Atrocities against innocents committed by Palestinians have the covert support of the PA and are celebrated by Palestinians in the street like a carnival. The perpetrators are feted like heroes.

*Yes, when the conflict breaks out in violence Palestinian casualties exceed Israeli casualties.
The Palestinians boast they can take a casualty ratio of 15 to 1 and still win.
An Israeli girl once remarked that their Palestinian neighbors shoot from their neighborhood through the picture windows of their Jewish neighbors. “So excuse us for our superior fire power.”

*Israel is our ally, the only sincere one we have in the region. Our other Middle Eastern allies are fence-sitters who at times support terrorists at war with us. Israel’s motivation may be self-interest, but it’s pure self-interest. They stand or fall with the U.S.

*Israel is our civilizational kin, they share the heritage that binds Western Civilization. Indeed, the twin roots of Western Civilization are in ancient Greece and Israel. What will be the fate of our civilization if we abandon our kin?

*One way to illustrate the stark difference between Western and Islamic civilization: The Israeli High Court released accused war criminal John Demjanjuk because the evidence that he was one particular concentration camp guard did not rise to the bar of proof demanded by law. Compare this with the custom of “honor killings,” the strong social pressure on the family of a woman who is raped, or just gets uppity, to murder her.
Does anyone think in the long run we can share a world in peace with people who hold these values? Can we even ignore them indefinitely?

*Does anyone seriously doubt the contention that if the Arab states and resident Palestinians stopped attacking Israel there would be peace, but if Israel laid down their arms there would be about 6 million fewer Jews in short order? Is you deny this, why do you think so?

*Has anyone noticed the schizophrenic nature of the anti-Israel rantings from places like Iran? They deny the Holocaust, then boast they’ll do it right next time. They decry the plight of the Palestinians under Israeli rule, then boast how they’ll annihilate Israel with nuclear fire in due time. Do they think Palestinians are immune to nukes?

*Does anyone doubt the problems of the Palestinians in Israel are largely self-inflicted? If not, why?

*Where does your self-interest lie in this?
Where is a cure for cancer more likely to come from, six million Jewish Israels or 600 million Arabs? How about a cheap renewable energy source? New agro-tech to feed the world? Great literature?

*If the situation of the Israelis looks long-term untenable, should we invite them all to evacuate the country and move to America?

“I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish, the Holocaust will be upon us.” – Eric Hoffer, 1968

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Aug/15

6

Virtual mobs

Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer wanted to realize a lifelong dream but his dream turned into a nightmare. Instead of shooting a lion named Scar or something like that, he shot a lion named Cecil.

Actually in the interests of journalism accuracy I really ought to ask Palmer if it was a lifelong dream. I’m assuming it was because a big game hunt in Africa takes a lot of bucks (sorry, couldn’t resist) so it’s not the kind of thing you do on a whim.

Unfortunately I can’t ask him because he’s in hiding. He’s shut his business down and – again assuming, but it’s a good bet his employees are looking for other work. Not just because of the shut down, but perhaps because they might consider it unwise to stand to close to him when he does resurface, given the number of threats he’s received.

Apparently Cecil was something of an international celebrity, the subject of studies and star of documentaries.

It is alleged Palmer’s African guides lured Cecil from his home on the nature park so Palmer could shoot him with a crossbow. Then he was tracked for some time before being finished off with a rifle. It is unclear at present if his guides broke any game laws or if Palmer was aware of any violations.
(And how exactly does one lure a lion? I’ve heard of staking an animal out to attract predators to a specific location, but how do you get them to follow you for some distance without actually catching you?)

Palmer went from obscurity to infamy in a matter of days.

Of course we know Internet threats are just people blowing off steam. Until they’re not.

Back in 2013, Justine Sacco a PR agent for the media firm IAC got on a flight to Africa. Being a bit of a twit, before she boarded she tweeted to some friends, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just Kidding. I’m White!

When she arrived she found she’d been fired before the plane even landed after the tweet went viral.

Well maybe she should have been. Not because the tweet was stupid and offensive, but because she’s supposed to be a public relations expert for heaven’s sake!

What’s disturbing is a photo was taken of her apparently in the act of hearing her nice little world had just fallen apart. That’s how long it took someone to find out who she was, why people were upset with her, and get in a position to take the shot.

Would everybody please pause for a moment and try to recall stupid things they’ve said they really wouldn’t like to have broadcast to the four corners of the earth?

Would you like to consider how many of the outraged might be seriously disturbed individuals?

Now if that thought wasn’t disturbing enough, consider the phenomenon of flash mobs.

Flash mobs are large groups of people who assemble in response to text messages. Sometimes for fun, but sometimes to get 30-40 people together to loot a store and vanish before the police can arrive.

Flash mobs are the realtime version of virtual mobs. What they have in common is they are apparently random. Their rage can be triggered by any number of things and directed at anybody.

Yes, there are inciters who look for opportunities to direct public ire at public figures whose opinions they don’t like. But public figures are ready for that in this day and age and have prepared defenses. Ironically sometimes by employing PR people like Sacco.

Virtual mobs form to satisfy the basest instincts of mankind, the desire to bully and intimidate with perfect immunity. To wield the power of numbers without responsibility for the consequences. To pick random strangers and make them scape goats for their pathetic lives.

There have always been mobs. But mobs plus instant mass communication has produced something very ugly.

And I do not think we have seen the last, nor the worst of this phenomenon yet.

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Aug/15

5

Robert Conquest R.I.P.

He is gone where savage indignation can no longer lacerate his heart. Go traveler, imitate him if you can. He served liberty.
(Rather free translation from Latin of Jonathan Swift’s epitaph.)

George Robert Acworth Conquest, CMG, OBE, FBA, FAAAS, FRSL, FBIS (15 July 1917 – 3 August 2015) has gone, and with him much savage indignation. He was 98.

I urge you to read his Wikipedia entry. Conquest was in his youth a communist, back when it was still excusable. He changed his mind after seeing communism close up and dedicated his professional career to exposing the greatest crimes of the 20th century.

He wrote about Stalin’s Great Purge; estimated murders as high as 20 million. He wrote about the planned famine in Ukraine, the holodomor; deaths somewhere between 2.4 to 7.5 million. He poured well-deserved scorn on Western intellectuals who denied, excused, or actively justified a world-wide holocaust that murdered as many as 100 million people.

By rights the crimes of communism should have had at least as much attention paid to them as the crimes of Nazism. And yet, how many people really know what happened in that “Ravaged Century” Conquest wrote about in such detail?

We live in a world in which any academic who denied or excused the Nazi holocaust would quite rightly have his career destroyed. Yet it is acceptable to deny or excuse the communist holocaust which was at least 10 times greater.

Why? For God’s sake why?

“The dead remember our silence.”

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Aug/15

2

The strange appeal of Donald Trump

I have a confession to make. I don’t much like Donald Trump, never have, and yet I’m feeling the buzz too.

I don’t dislike Trump because he’s a gazillionaire. Not even that he inherited a fortune and the connections to grow it. That he took a large sum of money and made it into a huge sum is an accomplishment not to be despised.

He could have taken the goods and become just another Trust Fund Idiot famous for parties and scandals and diving head first into an early grave. Instead he studied and made himself master of a specific highly-specialized field of business, real estate.

I don’t like Trump because I find his manner abrasive and because way back when he was still married to his first wife Ivana he dissed her publicly in an interview.

Now that I think of it, the specific question was about her statement that Trump would run for president when he was good and ready.

I don’t like Trump because he tried to use a city’s power of eminent domain to run little a old lady off her property so he could build a casino. I don’t respect him because he lost.

I don’t like Trump because he’s switched sides on issues like abortion, universal health care, gun control, and whether Hillary Clinton is competent or not. I don’t respect him because he was their “friend” and a large donor to the Clinton Foundation.

I don’t like the Clinton’s either, and think their Foundation is an ongoing criminal enterprise. But I don’t like people who turn on their friends; not for principle but for expediency.
Trump has been a registered Democrat, once sought the Reform Party nomination, and is now seeking the Republican nomination.

Somehow I don’t think this is a sign of evolving political thought.

I actually started to warm to Trump when he got into show business.
While other people were mocking him, I thought maybe he’s really found his niche. Somebody with an outsized ego, tremendous vanity, bombastic personality – he’s a natural!

I thought maybe this is the kind of thing that would really make him happy and fulfilled. An accomplishment that would stand alone outside the shadow of his father.

After all, they say politics is show business for ugly people.

And now much against my will I find myself drawn to The Donald, knowing full well he’d be a terrible president, and worse a spoiler in the race to prevent Hillary from becoming president.

Why?

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

No, it’s not that I don’t think it’s an offensive overgeneralization.

It’s because he’s not backing down!

How many times have we seen someone make an off-the-cuff remark in the heat of the moment, or maybe only something meant as a joke, who was then forced to abase themselves publicly in the most humiliating way you can imagine, then likely lost their job anyway.

Americans are furious about illegal – stress ILLEGAL immigration. Neither party is taking them seriously. The Democrats see a sea of potential life-long Democratic voters who will insure them a permanent majority.

Republicans are dominated by elites who see a permanent source of cheap tractable labor.

Neither gives a damn about the possible effects of the importation of a huge number of people with little understanding of democratic processes who are less and less willing to assimilate.

Trump said what a lot of people wanted to hear, then stuck to his guns when he got crucified in the media for it and lost a lot of business.

Of course, if Trump never did another deal in his life he could still buy himself a small country to retire in.

Still, that’s why Trump is overtaking the establishment pols in the polls. Oh we’ll get over it by convention time, never fear.

Some of us just wish we could see someone with a real chance display that kind of guts.

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Aug/15

1

Reflections on Chattanooga

I was on the road again this past two weeks and not paying much attention to the news. Nevertheless I couldn’t avoid hearing that four Marines and a sailor were killed in a spree shooting at a recruitment center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

I must confess it was not altogether a surprised to find the name of the (late) shooter was Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez.

As it happens, what I was doing that weekend was participating in a get together of violence professionals. Including : law enforcement, security personnel, medical professionals with experience in traumatic wounds, scholars. In general a gathering of seriously well-educated, seriously tough people.

The underlying theme of these events is the safety of yourself and your loved ones in a dangerous world.

The event included not only training in specific techniques of personal combat, but lectures on awareness, avoidance, and de-escalation.

Naturally I’m going to draw a parallel between the events of that terrible day and the gathering the following weekend.

The obvious issues were brought up right away.

We have a military in which trained men and women are not allowed to carry personal arms on base or at duty stations such as the recruitment center.

We could go back and forth on that one, and I’m sure we will over the next few weeks. I understand some governors in their capacity of commanders-in-chief of the state National Guards are taking matters into their own hands.

Then there is the observation that when that evil young man murdered nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston last month, the media immediately, and I believe correctly, assumed it was a racist hate crime. But in this case an awful lot of people seem to be looking for a motive while ignoring the quite obvious conclusion he was a jihadist who regarded himself to be at war with the United States.

What’s I’d like to contribute to the discussion is this.

There is something any professional or trained non-professional in the field of personal security would say you have to, have to do in a dangerous situation to have any chance of survival.

Don’t pretend it’s not happening!

We share the world with a culture and a religion which produces a certain critical number of individuals who hate us enough to die for the chance to kill some of us.

Yes they’re a minority within their own culture. Yes the number of casualties they inflict are miniscule in comparison to auto accidents every year.

We should not however lose sight of the fact they enjoy widespread passive support among Muslims world-wide, and that the auto industry is not working feverishly to produce more automobile casualties.

We can disagree on whether Muslim rage is caused by our foreign policy. We can argue whether we should pursue a conciliatory or aggressive policy towards Islamic countries or some combination of the two. We can argue all day about the likelihood of Islamic jihadists acquiring a nuclear bomb or bioweapons.

What we should agree on is: the jihadists regard themselves as at war with us, many live among us, they will seek to do us harm at unpredictable intervals, and they are looking for ways to maximize the harm they do.

Can we at least acknowledge this? Or will we continue to deny the simple reality until they force us to acknowledge it?

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Jul/15

29

Minnesota windmills

Windmills

I’ve been on the road for two weeks, starting from Oklahoma to Colorado, to Wyoming, to North Dakota, Minnesota and back to Oklahoma. I visited with friends each stop of the way, took some training and gave some training in martial arts. All in all a very productive trip.

I’ve always liked road trips and I like camping as well. Campgrounds are a cheap alternative to motels, and if setting up and breaking camp is a hassle KOA has cabins for about half the price of a decent motel. You have to bring your own bedding though. Big deal, it’s like a room with a bathroom down the hall except it’s across the lawn.

It’s like my old dad used to say, “The definition of a good traveling companion is one who doesn’t mind a bathroom down the hall.”

KOA cabins even have wifi, TV and air conditioning. However I found a campground outside Casper, Wyoming with cabins that had neither, but were only $25.

After a lifetime of moving around restlessly, I think I am beginning to master the art of travel.

When I was younger I was intoxicated by the idea of covering ground in a short time. Now I like to turn off the road and investigate whatever catches my fancy. The picture above was taken in Jasper, Minnesota a town of 633 residents located at the intersection of Minnesota State Highways 23 and 269.

There is evidently a windmill business in Jasper. These are the little decorative ones. What I missed about a mile and a half north of town was a 10-acre yard where Terry Rodman has a collection of larger working windmills.

Next time!

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Jul/15

10

Hidden Agendas

Well same-sex marriage is now by judicial fiat the law of the land, and our president couldn’t be happier.

“Our nation was founded on a bedrock principle: that we are all created equal,” Obama said. “Sometimes there are days like this, when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.”

Whatever your opinion on the issue is, there are two things I wish we were talking about.

One is that you can support the idea of same-sex marriage and still disapprove of the way it was achieved.

Proponents of utopian plans to set the world to rights have an attitude of, “Don’t care how it gets done, just so it gets done.”

The more cautious among us, those who study history, think that how something gets done in a republic is as important as what gets done. A constitutional system has to follow a consistent procedure or the system falls apart.

Yes it’s messy, expensive and time-consuming to go through the drill in 50 state legislatures.

That’s how it was designed. If you look at history you find examples of nations which fell into tyranny almost literally overnight. In the United States we’ve flirted with it from time to time without ever quite falling over the edge. At least not yet.

The other thing is Obama and Hillary Clinton were on record not all that long ago as firmly dedicated to the principle that marriage is between one man and one woman.

Now it’s no sin to change your mind. In fact I’d be bothered if a politician said he’d never changed his mind on a single issue no matter what.

But, it’s evident Obama did not change his mind. He’s been in favor of same-sex marriage all along and had just trimmed his sails until the political winds shifted.

We know that because his former adviser David Axelrod wrote in his memoir, “Believer: My Forty Years in Politics,” he’d advised Obama not to be honest about his real views for reasons of political expediency.

In other words, Obama had a hidden agenda all along. As did Hillary and a lot of others.

I could get loudly indignant about this. I don’t like people with hidden agendas. Not in my life and not in public life.

But I can think of three men with hidden agendas I can’t condemn.

After the Battle of Marathon, the Athenian politician Themistocles invented an imaginary threat from an island to the west of Greece to convince the Athenians to build a fleet. The fleet that destroyed the Persian fleet at Salamis and saved Greece for another generation.

Abraham Lincoln claimed for years he only wanted to restrict slavery to the states in which it already existed. Southerners didn’t believe him and seceded when he was elected. Lincoln’s early writing shows the South was right. He detested slavery and wanted to move against it when the time was right.

Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Again and again I tell you, your sons will not be sent to fight in any foreign wars.”

Again, history shows that to put it bluntly, he was lying through his teeth. He always intended to get the U.S. into the war. By doing so he saved Western Civilization for a few more generations at least.

There is a difference between a hidden agenda and putting an issue on the back burner.

Many conservatives such as the late William F. Buckley favored abolishing drug prohibition, but didn’t push the issue because it was divisive and the time was not right. By and large they didn’t lie about it (though I know personally of one exception) they just didn’t harp on it. Only now is the idea becoming respectable enough to bring up.

Themistocles and FDR saved their civilizations. Lincoln freed an entire people. But our civilization would not fall if we’d failed to legalize same-sex marriage.

It is an insult to free men to lie to them.

Yes, sometimes the people can be wrong and must be led by far-sighted leaders who cannot always be candid. Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures.

But how often? And for what ends?

Can we talk about that?

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Jun/15

28

Invasion of the giant beetle!

OK3

This Sunday morning I got up and went out in search of a plate of eggs benedict and an old Oklahoma landmark. Found them both!

On US 77 about nine miles south of Noble, Oklahoma is the VW bug. A sculpture made of a VW beetle body mounted on steel legs. It’s commonly called the Spider, but I’m going to be pedantic and point out that spiders have eight legs, so this is obviously and appropriately a beetle.

It’s been there every since I remember, but Sunday I determined to go and find out something about it. So I dropped by the Lexington Family Worship Center and asked Pastor Louis Bennett who acquired the property a few years back.

“I was going to cut it up,” Bennett said. “But it’s a landmark and I promised the town I’d leave it there. We get about 50 visitors a month.”

According to Bennett it was the project of one Leroy Wilson who put it up on June 3, 1979.

I hope to find out more about the now-deceased Mr. Bennett and his giant beetle.

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