Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Try not to kill anyone…

The year is ending and a new one’s just around the corner.  Tennyson touched on the topic, Ring Out, Loud Bells, the passing of moments, change and hope all rolled into a cautiously cadenced hymn.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

You’ve likely seen infomercials warning folks not to drink and drive, images of police painted to blend in with their surroundings as inebriated individuals stagger down the sidewalk on the way to the parking lot without care. 

A few moments later the irresponsible individual is driving down the road, crossing the double yellow stripe into on coming traffic and weaving back at the last moment, the lights and siren bring the warning home as the driver is placed in the back of a police cruiser in handcuffs.  Don’t let this be you.

While working night shift as a police officer I had my share of DWI arrests.  The tell tale signs would present themselves; trouble holding the vehicle in one lane, poor reactions or inappropriate reactions alerted me to follow and observe a little longer. 

One fellow was driving well below the speed limit down the main lanes of Interstate 10 from downtown.  He caught my attention when he began braking for traffic lights that were on the service road.  He’d stop and wait for the light to turn green prior to continuing down the freeway as other drivers figured out how to get past without tangling fenders.   Thank goodness it was four in the morning and traffic was very thin. 

Then there was a rare ‘foot chase’ DWI; not making this up, stopped a DWI on foot.  The suspect was bouncing from one curb line to the other all the way down Kempwood in an industrial area; but headed for a residential area.   My rookie was on his 2nd week of night shift so he’d earned the opportunity to actually drive the police unit.  He wasn’t sure what to do as we followed the DWI suspect at speeds reaching between 3 to 5 miles an hour; but wouldn’t stop.

The red lights and siren hadn’t gotten his attention so I stepped out of the police car and ran along side the suspect, tapping on his window to get his attention.  The look on his face was priceless as he came to a stop; believing his vehicle had been traveling at posted speed he must have thought he’d been arrested by Superman.  He was actually relieved as his nightmare ended without anyone being killed.

Of course there are other threats on New Year’s Eve, idiots shooting guns into the air as they ring in midnight.  The laws of gravity make this type of behavior doubly dangerous as pieces of lead can be heard falling through the leaves on trees all about.

I did my best to be tied up on some unimportant incident requiring a police report, a very long police report that would last until well after midnight and most of the insanity; you don’t make it to retirement by being stupid.

We had a ‘gung-ho’ new night shift sergeant one year who wanted to impress everyone with his bravado.  Several units, myself included, were told to meet about a block or so from a major low income apartment project where several fireworks complaints had been reported.  Off in the distance we could hear shotguns going off, an occasional rifle being discharged; all this mixed in with bottle rockets and other sundry fireworks that lighted up the night sky.

We were about to get under way when some fool let go with a fully automatic 9mm machine pistol in the middle of the project followed by a few more shotgun blasts into the air.  It was about that time when our fearless leader realized how futile our presence would be; but beyond that, furnishing some tanked up idiot to use our police cars for target practice.

It was decided that we’d hold off until such time as an actual complaint from one of the citizens was lodged.  Until that time we were instructed to remain in service and to ‘be careful’.

It’s become even more serious in our present day world, a world where a certain element of our society has declared war on police officers.   

What’s to keep these degenerates from using the chaos of New Year’s Eve as an opportunity to take out an unsuspecting cop responding to a fireworks complaint?   The suspect can claim it wasn’t him, must have been a stray bullet from some other fool’s gun.  The world has gotten much more dangerous for the ‘thin blue line’.

I’ll pass the same instructions on at this time, y’all be careful out there.  Happy New Year; and oh, try not to kill anyone and make sure you get home at the end of shift.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

What drives a Latter Day Saint?

This evening my wife and I attended a Christmas Devotional Service for Temple Ordinance Workers who serve in the Houston Texas Temple.  For us it’s become something of a tradition, a means of kicking off the Christmas Season.  This year was no different as we heard talks which touched our hearts from members of the Temple Presidency and their wives, short explanations of gratitude for all who serve along with insightful messages as pertain to the workings of the Temple.

President Brad Crane addressed us near the close of the meeting with an historical perspective based on his attending the Nauvoo Temple’s dedication.   I should mention this was the 2002 dedication for a replacement Temple for one which the Saints had to abandon in 1846 when they were driven out of their homes in the middle of winter and began their 1250 mile trek which eventually brought them to the Salt Lake Valley.

President Crane wondered aloud what could provide enough motivation for a family to leave their home in the middle of winter, cross the frozen Mississippi River and plod along in the wilderness day after day and continue to rejoice in the Lord?  Thousands were starving, sick or died as they faced hardships along the way and yet they persevered and even flourished upon reaching their new ‘home’ in the desert where nothing grew. 

How could this be so?

It must have something to do with what the Saints learned in the Nauvoo Temple, a place they would only get to visit once prior to being forced to leave everything behind.  What could you learn about God and your relationship from ordinances which are performed in the Temple?

I pondered what was being offered at the Christmas Devotional as it became clear that each Saint who crossed the Great Plains under extreme conditions, many lost family and friends along the way; these Saints learned of God and His love for each them to such an extent that their testimonies were strengthened beyond their physical weaknesses and permitted them to complete the journey.

There’s an account as recorded from the Family Record of Francis Webster Written by William R. Palmer which documented the testimony of a surviving member of the ill fated Martin Handcart Company.  (please take the time to read the included link)

Many years later during a Sunday School lesson a discussion was being held on the foolishness and lack of planning that went into the Martin Handcart Company and tragic consequences that befell so many Saints.  An old man who had been sitting quietly through the discussion could take no more as he stood up and silenced the class by explaining that he had been one of the survivors.

“We suffered beyond any thing you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation; but, did you ever hear a survivor of that Company utter a word of criticism? Not one of that Company ever apostatized or left the church because every one of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities. I have pulled my hand cart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said I can go only that far and there I must give up for I cannot pull the load through it. I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the Angels of God were there.

Was I sorry that I chose to come by hand cart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Hand Cart Company." The speaker was Francis Webster, and when he sat down there was not a dry eye in the room.” 

I suppose my original question, “What drives a Latter Day Saint?”, has an answer; but even so, few outside the Church can wrap their arms around it.  The driving force behind Latter Day Saints has to do with understanding their eternal relationship with our Father in Heaven, His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  

The ordinances available in the Temple are of an eternal nature.  The blessings enumerated in these ordinances are combined with covenants with the Lord which detail our responsibilities and commitment to building up the kingdom here on Earth.  If an individual understands his/her place in the eternities along with the rewards for faithfully adhering to the covenants made in the Temple; then hardships, sickness and even death have little power over such a testimony. 

In closing I’m reminded of a particular Hymn,  Come, Come Ye Saints.  

Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
'Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell—
All is well! All is well!

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell—
All is well! All is well!

We'll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the Saints will be blessed.
We'll make the air with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we'll tell—
All is well! All is well!

And should we die before our journey's through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell—
All is well! All is well!

Text: William Clayton, 1814-1879  Music: English folk song

May this Christmas bring you closer to your Father in Heaven and the gift He gave us through His Only Begotten Son, our Savior, even Jesus Christ.  Amen.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Only Certain Lives Matter

Being Politically Correct has become a mandate, one which you had better take seriously.  Take for instance the push for Social Justice; you must be aware there is a concerted effort to establish a particular mindset intended to prosper a Black generation far removed from slavery.  We are to believe and act in a manner which presupposes Certain Blacks are exempt from personal responsibility in any way, shape or form. 

Entitlement programs which have been established and augmented over the years have been used as a spring board to bolster a prevailing minority opinion that Certain Lives have been dealt a losing hand and therefore deserve recompense from the taxpayers general fund; but also exemption from the Rule of Law which has dealt harshly and disproportionately with Certain segments of society.

The Civil Rights Movement in the 50s and 60s placed a national spotlight on some of the inequities which needed to be corrected.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. acted as a unifier of the human race as his Dream Speech touched the soul of America.  He envisioned children of all color playing and growing up peacefully together in a manner pleasing to the Lord.  King’s hope for the downtrodden came with a warning:

“But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.”

Flash forward to the present and it becomes painfully clear how the Dream has been transformed into a Nightmare.  Instead of unifying people of all races we have observed prominent leaders of the Black community driving a wedge into the heart of society. 

In only a few short years the United States of America has been transformed into the Segregated States of Promised Hope and Change; and not by accident.  President Obama has gone out of his way to lead this dividing process; having been raised under the teachings of Black theology, he sees America only for its faults.  The only Hope and Change Obama considers and fosters is for people of his own race; demeaning Whites, whose success must have been gained at the expense of poor descendents of the slavery era which ended long before any of us took our first breath.

Is it any wonder a generation of Black individuals has come to the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with taking what they haven’t earned even if it means becoming a thief, robber or even murderer?   

If ‘Whitey’ has something it must have been stolen from someone of color by virtue of ‘White Privilege’, isn’t that what is being preached?    

That translates into the social upheaval which has Certain young Black individuals walking into convenience stores to take whatever they want, rough up the owner when confronted and then get shot resisting a police officer; but that police officer should have been trained to understand the new order of society.

It’s that police officers fault; better still, it’s all of White Americas fault because Certain Lives are exempt from the Rule of Law and shouldn’t be held accountable to society as a whole; only to the cause which elevates Blacks to make up for hundreds of years of oppression.   

That sets up an interesting headline story headline story out of Northampton, Massachusetts, where Kathleen McCartney, president of Smith University has found herself apologizing because she didn’t employ Politically Correct verbiage as she counseled students and faculty following the Ferguson and New York police incidents and subsequent martyrdom of two beacons of Black society.   

“We are united in our insistence that all lives matter,”

So began her heartfelt message intended to stir a sense of… 

What the hell was she thinking?  Unified…all lives matter?  Apparently McCartney didn’t get the memo from Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton or any of the race baiters parading around the nation to stir up animosity, hatred and civil unrest.  Certain Black folks don’t want unity; they want retribution and superiority.

Having tendered her immediate apology, McCartney then added:

“I regret that I was unaware the phrase/hashtag “all lives matter” has been used by some to draw attention away from the focus on institutional violence against Black people,”

There you have it, America as dreamed about by Martin Luther King Jr., a land where children of all color and belief can live in peace and harmony; as long as Black thugs say you can because only Certain Lives Matter.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.