Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The real tragedy in the Seattle shooting

(updates below)

Another stupid and senseless killing occurred in Seattle Saturday morning, when a gunman killed several seven young people at an 'after-rave' party. Heartless Libertarian is on top of the predictable-but-stupid attitude of the lefty news and commentary being blathered about here on the radio and in the papers.

I think that the real tragedy here is being completely ignored by the media attention, though. First off, the whole concept of the 'rave party' escapes me. The partiers were dressed as zombies, and the theme was "Better off Undead". I can't even start to understand these kids.

Worse yet, two of the victims were under 18.

Suzanne Thorne, 15, gunshot to head. Attended the party with her 18-year-old boyfriend. Her mother, Nancie, told The Seattle Times she did not approve of her daughter going to raves.

Melissa Lynn Moore, 14, shot in the chest and head. Her father said she loved to dance and meet people. He trusted the older friends with whom she attended raves.

I am very sad for all of the parents, but I cannot understand the parents of these two children. I don't care how much you "trust" the people involved - a 14-15 year old does Not need to attend this kind of event. And 'not approving' of the raves? I'm sorry - that means you put your foot down and say "No". My parents didn't have any trouble telling me No when it was the best thing for me, I can tell you that!

I think the tragedy here is that these girls were in a place they clearly should not have been, and it makes me sad that the media thinks the biggest tragedy is that the gunman owned guns.

I have no children, so it is obviously easy for me to have these opinions. I'd like to hear from all of you who have kids - of any age. What do you think about all of this?

** UPDATE **

The Analog Kid makes some good points about Chief Kerlikowske and the potential for a drug angle on this story, and warns that we gun owners should prep for rough times ahead.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Well said, sir!

It appears that UW debate over a memorial to honor "Pappy" Boyington at the University of Washington (see my initial post here) raised the hackles of a retired General...

Subject: FW: Gen. Dula's letter to the University of Washington Student Senate Leader.

Jill Edwards is one of the students at the University of Washington who did not want to honor Medal of Honor winner USMC Colonel Greg Boyington because she does not think those who serve in the U.S. Armed services are good role models. I think that this response is an excellent and thought provoking response.

General Dula is a Retired Air Force Lt Gen (3 Star Gen).

Gen. Dula's letter to the University of Washington student senate leader:

To: Edwards, Jill (student, UW)
Subject: Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs

Miss Edwards,
I read of your 'student activity' regarding the proposed memorial to Col Greg Boyington, USMC and a Medal of Honor winner. I suspect you will receive a bellyful of angry e-mails from conservative folks like me. You may be too young to appreciate fully the sacrifices of generations of servicemen and servicewomen on whose shoulders you and your fellow students stand. I forgive you for the untutored ways of youth and your naïveté. It may be that you are, simply, a sheep. There's no dishonor in being a sheep - - as long as you know and accept what you are.

Please take a couple of minutes to read the following. And be grateful for the thousands - - millions - - of American sheepdogs who permit you the freedom to express even bad ideas.

Brett Dula
Sheepdog, retired

Well said, sir! And thank you, Max, for sharing.

The 'following' that Dula refers to is "On Sheep, Sheepdogs, and Wolves", written by LtCol (ret) Dave Grossman. You can read the whole thing in the Blackfive archives. Here's an excerpt ...

On Sheep, Sheepdogs, and Wolves
By Dave Grossman

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: "Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident." This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another.

Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.

Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

If you haven't already, read the whole thing.

By the way - the second resolution on this issue, which was written to honor all of the CMOH recipients from the University, has passed out of the General committee, and is now in the 'second reading' phase. The democratic process is still working.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Florida follow up

Families give us perspective on our lives, as I was reminded this past weekend. I flew to Florida last week to join my sister and other relatives for a happy/sad farewell.

My Mom and Dad passed away several years ago, and then last year my Mom's older brother and his wife both passed on. At the time that my Mom died, the two couples had lived in the two sides of a duplex, and had always been very close. We decided to take the ashes of all four of them, and send them off in the ocean near Ft. Lauderdale. So the gang - all 14 of us (including my cousin's grand-daughter), spanning 4 generations - gathered for the weekend.

We rode out Saturday afternoon on the Lady Chateau (see Escape from the Ordinary below). It was a joyful occasion, and after the send off, we enjoyed a short cruise. The rest of the weekend was spent simply enjoying one another's company. Since we are scattered all over the country, this is a rare event - and could very well be the last one for a long time.

The other special event was a micro-meet with Keith of My Army Life. I had emailed him and set up a quick get together for Sunday -- Much, much too short, but great fun! Thanks for dinner, Keith - Love the hat!

I've updated the sidebar ... I love adding bloggers to the list of folks I've been able to meet!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Returning home

Well, I am home from my jaunt to Florida. The weather was nice there, too bad I couldn't bring some of it home to Seattle. It was a good weekend - fun as always to gather with the family.

America's Son is home from Iraq, finally. He survived the "I'm not crazy" class, the flights and delays and lay-over at Camp Pendleton, and now has to decompress and remember how to deal with crowds and stop scanning the roadside.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Escape from the Ordinary

That's the tagline of Seanote Cruises, on whose lovely yacht I'll be sailing away from Ft. Lauderdale this Saturday. Here is the Lady Chateau, on which my family and I will cruise to a point 3 or more miles off shore, to say a final goodbye to our departed parents.

Lady Chateau

Hope you all have a good weekend.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Flutterby in need

Our sweet Flutterby, aka Desultory Butterfly, has joined the Army - and her twin sister needs a boost to travel to Fort Leonard Wood to attend Desult's graduation from Basic.

ALa of Blonde Sagacity has the details, and would like to hear from anyone who can help! I am pledging my United Frequent Flier miles to this effort - if you can help out in some way, Please visit ALa and let her know.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


No, I haven't disappeared from the planet - just busy.

I'm thinking that a guest blogger might help me out. What do you think??

Blogger bunny?

The following probably isn't work safe, so I'll make you click the link, for Ry's sake ...

Thanks to Appalachian GunTrash for providing the link to CuteOverload.

Friday, March 03, 2006

One Soldier answers the "Why" question

A recent poll asked servicemembers in Iraq about their reasons for being there, and the results (at RadioBlogger.com) have been discussed at Castle Argghhh (check the comments) and Villainous Company, among other fine places. FOr some reason, it all reminds me of Mark Twain and "there are lies, damned lies and statistics".

That poll and discussion, however, was on my mind as I read the essay "Why am I here?" by Lieutenant K of Wordsmith at War. It is admittedly the viewpoint and feelings of one soldier, no more and no less. But it is the essay chosen by Trevor, of the Will to Exist blog, as the best entrant in his "Why am I here" contest.

I’m in Iraq because I believe the attack on September 11th, 2001, ushered in a new era for terrorism. I agreed that it was best to “go global” right then and establish lines of demarcation across our humble little planet, clearly exposing those who stand against terrorism and those who would harbor and aid terrorist groups.

Most importantly, I’m in Iraq because of my children, and all the children of the world. It’s ironic that I would agree to leave my children for 18 months and fight in a land that has no more substance to their innocent little minds than a fairy tale. But one day they will read about what we’ve done in their history books, hopefully find themselves in a society relatively free of terrorism (there will always be some violence), and understand the importance of what we’re doing here. This fight is physically in Iraq and Afghanistan, but symbolically and historically it stands for much more. We’re fighting in the present, but for the future. We’re fighting in Iraq, but for our own country as well. We’re fighting adults, on behalf of children.

You really need to go read the whole thing.

Then go read some of the other fine posts from Lieutenant K at his blog. Like Leadership and Parenthood, or A Letter to the Republic for Which We Stand (II), or just start at the top, and work your way down.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I've been here

This is an image of the waterfront in Carlsbad, California. I used to live just a few miles from here, and roller-bladed on the seawall that you see starting at the street level many times.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

The image is from the California Coastal Records Project. From that starting point, you can move up and down the coastline in increments large and small, or use the overview map to quickly hop in larger jumps. Or try searching for a name (like "Scripps" or "Pebble Beach") to locate a key point along the coast.

Tip: Once you locate an interesting shot - click on it to zoom to a larger image.

How kewl is that?! H/T to Appalachian GunTrash.