Monday, October 16, 2006

"I told ya so!"

I don’t tend this blog the way I should, and as a result, I have probably lost what little readership it had. Thanks to the advances in technology that are beyond my ken, from Blackberries to I-pods, the attention span of the plugged-in world is increasingly growing shorter. If there is some amusement or interest at UPI today, there is no guarantee that it will be there tomorrow.

That being said, I have two things to add before jumping onto my topic: I’m not dead yet, to the certain dismay of a number of people. I’m entitled to my fits of chronic depression and lassitude; I worked long and hard for them. If those fits include the urge to watch TV or sit on my deck and enjoy the blessed silence above Dooley Creek instead of jumping online to see who might be lurking in the e-mail box, then I have no excuse, pardon, or owe no one an apology. Sometimes the life of quiet contemplation is its own reward.

I read my mail, and other people’s blogs, more often than they suspect. Often, like Native Americans—“Injuns” in the un-PC vernacular—I have nothing to say that would add anything to the already-established commentary. Therefore, taking a lesson from Injun wisdom, I say nothing. There is also an old Chinese proverb: “Better to remain silent and let people think you a fool, than to speak, and remove all doubt.”

I have this space for shouting out when the urge seizes me; more often these days, the urge to holler follows my libido and social life into oblivion.

To the point: I had an interesting conversation with a preacher’s wife this morning. To make ends meet, her husband runs a trash pick-up route, and includes me among his customers. I had called to tell her the check will clear, so go ahead and cash it. (We rural types run on shoe-strings, so such procrastination is not unusual.) J--- then told me that R----- has baptized 12 out of 18 souls in the last two weeks. That got to a speculation of the increase of spirituality in the face of increased nuclear proliferation around the world.

Constant readers know that I do not profess my flavor of faith on this site. I do not hand out pamphlets on the street, or walk up to strangers to ask if they’re saved. I will, however give a stunning testimony to God’s grace and purpose if asked. When my health permits, I run a jailhouse “ministry” where I tell guys—and sometimes girls—in lockup what a mustard seed of faith will prevail against a mountain of doubt and dismissal.

Often, I get cussed and otherwise blown off. That’s okay; I can cuss back with amazing agility. If the Movie Channel™ is more important than spiritual well-being, I won’t argue. I came by my bit of faith through a life-changing event; if someone dismisses me as a kook or a fanatic, then they are not yet ready. Dollars to doughnuts says the first time an agnostic is faced with mortal peril, he/she screams “Oh God!”

Spirituality combines with the Libertarian perspective. This goes to the latter part of the cliché of “Kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out.” God will, indeed, sort us all out.

I don’t think God will find much favor with anyone insane enough to employ a nuclear device. I could be wrong. Despite sermons advising that we cannot know God’s will, or employ human standards to discern the inscrutable, I have always thought that God has a wonderful, perverse sense of humor. He gave us cancer, tooth decay, and He has given us nukes. He made a promise to Noah about no more floods, but there was nothing else “on the table”, as modern negotiators phrase it.

We have been given the means of our own destruction, not as members of a race or religion, but as members of a species. It’s called “the human race”. That means is currently in the hands of two nuts: Mr. Kim in the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea—remember the “Democrat” part when you vote for mob rule next month]—and Mr. “Ah’m-a-madman” in Iran.

Kim is a strange duck, but he can be reasoned with. Communism and Socialism, like certain forms of American “progressivism”, are flawed systems whose alleged logic will not withstand the scrutiny of time. If we give Those People—my pet name for American “progressives”—their way, we will make Neville Chamberlain—the great appeaser of pre-War II—look like George Soros, who spent time in a Nazi concentration camp, and ought to know better. We cannot negotiate with lunatics.

Communism is a secular ideological system; one that depends upon survival to prove its inherent superiority. The fact that it is philosophically and practically flawed beyond redemption doesn’t dissuade true believers like Kim, Hugo Chavez, and Castro. They believe that given enough time, they can make their ideas work. Communism and Socialism eschew God and spirituality in any form, in favor of their “social dialectic”, or whatever they call it. The important point is, they believe their system will work, if they can keep it alive. Reprehensible as they may be, these people can be negotiated with. It may be difficult; it may be impossible. Kim is an odd character, and a desperate despot. However, like other tin-pot dictators, he may be satisfied with his collection of young girls and the expensive contents of his liquor closet.

On the other hand, “Ah’m-a-madman” gets his marching orders from Allah. The former hostage-taker [see: 1978 Iranian takeover of the US embassy] is a true believer of the most dangerous sort. The only reason he doesn’t strap on an explosive belt and board an airliner is because the mullahs have allowed him to run a country. He is a treacherous fanatic who cannot be reasoned or negotiated with. He has two priorities: the destruction of Israel, and the destruction of the United States. He doesn’t care who might die to achieve these aims. They are absolutes in his twisted thinking. He does not care for the preservation of his political ideology, and whatever his personal appetites, they do not affect his actions as a dictator. Kim is pretty much a known quantity; he can be had for the right price. Ah’m-a-madman knows no such secular limitations. If I was running something, Iran would take precedence over the DPRK as a strategic target and a recognized threat to civilization. It is convenient that we have half an army next door in Iraq; I know what my next move would be, but I don’t govern anything besides my dogs in the backyard on Scorpion Hill.

My mountain retreat is a long way from any significant nuclear target. Assuming the ters don’t realize the significance of an EMP [electromagnetic pulse] over the visceral satisfaction of destroying a physical target like, say, Manhattan, the internet may continue to function, and I may be able to post the sad post-mortem of “I told ya so.” An EMP destroys most solid-state equipment like home computers, portable data devices, et cetera, so a nuclear airburst could leave much of our technology-dependant society paralyzed. Terrorists are not dummies, despite the fact they live in caves and pervert a 14th century religion. I am not relishing the influx of homeless, foodless refugees from the People’s Republic of Atlanta, any more than the Chinese are looking forward to the anticipated flood of North Koreans if Kim does something badly wrong with his new toys. At least the Chinese have enough sense to begin construction of a border fence; we are barely past voting in favor of one.

The world has moved one step closer to the coming nuclear incident. Unlike Those People, who are seemingly concerned more with preserving Willie the Zipper’s legacy and regaining their lost political power, I have an answer to the growing problem of nuclear proliferation.

In War II, we were the “first with the most”, as the great cavalry commander Bedford Forrest said. Despite our victory in World War III, we retain our nuclear deterrent, to the tune of 30,000 warheads, and the means to deliver them. Since victory over the Soviets has defaulted us into the role of the world’s policeman, we should accept this role and act accordingly. Any nation-state, no matter how great or small, should be assured of one certainty: no matter how large or small, the deployment of any nuclear device will result in instant, irrevocable, and total retaliation by the United States. Any country that detonates a nuke in an aggressive mode will be totally annihilated. It is a ruthless horror that defies imagination, and runs contrary to our best instincts and principles, but I see no other alternative besides chaos, holocaust, and jihad. It might take an hour or so to re-target our ICBMs, but no matter how many times some petty nuclear dictator might say “Sorry! Just kidding!” in the interim, it should not affect a LOW [Launch On Warning—of a nuclear event]. You use it, you lose it… “It” being your entire country, in this instance. MAD [Mutually Assured Destruction] worked fairly well during War III with the Soviets. AA [my term for Assured Annihilation] is the last card in our deck for today’s nuclear threats from nation-states of any size or potency.

As for the terrorists who might “borrow” one of these nuclear devices like you’d borrow your neighbor’s lawnmower, I’ll add this:

A would-be politician with the unlikely name of Raj Bhaktar recently splashed around in the Rio Grande River near Brazos, Texas. He was riding an elephant. He had a mariachi band serenade him as he waded ashore under the watchful eyes of US customs at the border crossing from Mexico. Not a single ICE agent bothered to walk down to the river and ask him who he was, where he came from, or what the deal was with the elephant. In the world according to the open-border advocates, a sophisticated nuclear delivery system is a moot point; a pachyderm will suffice.

(According to Mr. Bhaktar, an agent of the US Department of Agriculture showed up an hour and a half after the filming. The agent wanted to be assured that the elephant had been sprayed for ticks, in case it had actually crossed the border.)

Going full-circle to spirituality, I am at the point of not caring any longer. Ignorance, apathy, and indifference kick in: “I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t matter anyhow.” In my mid-fifties, I am closer to the end than the beginning, and my faith dictates that a merciful God may spare me for my indiscretions and lack of major sin during the short run of my life.

I have baffled and enraged everyone from Jehovah’s Witnesses to my fellow Baptists with the simple assertion that we are a kind of experiment by God. Having given us the means of our own destruction, in the form of nuclear weapons, The Creator is sitting back and chuckling as He watches to see what we will do with this knowledge. (If you prefer Robert Heinlein’s cosmic view, God travels at the speed of the light He created, and the universe is a large place. He had business elsewhere, but He’s on his way back at light speed, and He is not happy with what we’ve been doing in His absence. We have a few more minutes before He arrives, and we'd best be doing something positive. I like this theory.)

When I was a child, “they” said that growing up with the threat of “atomic warfare” would traumatize our generation. Despite the “duck-and-cover” exercises in my elementary schools, I never took nuclear warfare seriously. Even later in life, having seen mass death, the notion of thermonuclear holocaust was inconceivable. My faith in God wavered, but never the conviction that nuclear genocide is unthinkable.

My first nuclear nightmare occurred in 1979, during the Iran hostage crisis, as it’s now called. I clearly remember an F-16 fighter-bomber flying into a mushroom cloud. That image has lingered over three decades. Ironically, Ah’m-a-madman was one of the ramrods on that fiasco. (I often wonder what the ultimate outcome might’ve been had Jimmy Carter sent the B-52s to level the holy city of Qom, with a promise that Tehran would be next, and the 52 hostage lives were non-negotiable. It’s a ruthless notion, but the World Trade Center and 3000 lives might be thriving today, otherwise.)

There are times when “I told ya so” is a viscerally satisfying announcement to make to my fellow human beings. The wake of a nuclear event is not going to be one of those times. I am right with my God, as I can vaguely understand Him. I can handle whatever happens next; can you?

Friday, October 06, 2006

"Shoot me first"

“Shoot me first”.

I don’t think braver words were ever spoken. This was a child who offered her life up, so that others might live.

This has been a week of political game-playing with the sexual peccadilloes of a congressman. Memphis and half of North Carolina are on fire. Murder has been done, in a way that enrages even non-members of the closed community that has suffered. A sexual predator has walked. To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long, strange week it’s been.

I don’t mean to make light of this. College students at Columbia University showed their asses when it came to free speech, a Republican congressman took a hike when he was exposed as nothing more than a bus-station pervert, and children have been murdered. I only consider one of these stories important.

I can’t find this girl’s full name. Her name was Marian. Maybe that’s so it should be. I heard her grandpa’s name this morning. She deserves her peace. Her brave words will never be forgotten. I don’t have the guts to stand up to a crazed killer, and I know the Amish don’t reserve such places, but this bold girl deserves a place in all our memories. I can’t believe what this little girl said to a crazed madman. She was willing to forgive, and to give all. It may grate the Amish, but I will never forget. Pardon me while I remember the children.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Giving up too soon

I cannot pick a fight with Greta Van Susteren. She has a multi-national network at her disposal, and I have a limited blog. I lose, right from the jump.

I approached Ms. Van Susteren regarding my father's murder, as a last resort to attention to serial killings. What I got was a "gee whiz" and a blow-off worthy of network television. No one cares; old men who are murder statistics don't count. Blondes who can yield junkets to Aruba get priority.

I had some notion of picking at this woman until she folded and did a story about my Dad's murder. I have changed my tiny mind. This woman is a ghoul. My worst online condemnations are not sufficient to describe this woman's character. She is a vampire who feasts on the blood of others; she is a ghoul who eats the flesh of the dead, and revels on-camera in the expolitation of it. My father rests in peace. After twenty years, I should perhaps walk away and leave it, as I walked away from his grave in 1985.

Ya, that's melodramatic. Van Susteren is a lawyer. There are lots of bad lawyer jokes; need I say more?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

More true crime

Sad to admit it, but I am consumed with the hunt for my father's killer. Dad might have even said to leave it alone, but as long as I draw breath, the wicked shall not go unpunished.

There are some things in life that we let pass. Murder is not one of them. I have been outrageously self-relevatory in telling the story of my father's murder. I do not expect this to pay off, but I have nothing to lose by bearing all. I will stop at nothing to solve this crime. Someone knows something.

If I have to hunt to the end of the earth, so be it. If I reach a trigger-pulling moment, I will listen to my father's voice. My father was the kind of guy who didn't believe in vengeance. I am angry enough to take up his torch.

Forgive me, but you shall be avenged.

Dogging Van Susteren

I have never been a fan of "Greta's Scandal Sheet" but at the prompting of concerned individuals, I sent her a letter concerning my father's murder. Here is her ratings-driven reply, and my original letter:

robert - wow! what a horrible story.....i am not sure what i could do but your father sure deserves justice..greta

-----Original Message-----PMTo: Show -OnTheRecord
Subject: Cold case from Hell
30 November 2005

Dear Ms. Van Susteren,

I am 20 years late writing this letter. Saturday, 3 December 2005, will mark the 20th anniversary of my father’s murder. He was one of four victims of a Georgia serial killer known as “the .22 caliber killer” because of his choice of weapons, a .22 caliber rifle. This murderer has never been captured, although the Atlanta
Constitution published a story in 1989 alleging that the police knew the identity of this person.

When that story was published, I stormed angrily into the office of the resident GBI agent in Canton, Georgia. I went to high school with Phil P---., and his authority didn't intimidate me. He calmly said “I've been expecting you”, and proceeded to tell me a convoluted story about snitches, a burglary ring in Marietta that was stealing guns and running them to New York, and a lack of definitive evidence to indict anyone for murder. The newspaper, he said, was lying. After an hour of pounding my fist on his desk and listening to a wagonload of BS, I came away convinced that someone was lying.

In the interim, my mother has passed away. She was subjected to anonymous extortion demands from unscrupulous church people, and never saw justice done. An investigative reporter for WXIA [Ch. 11] in Atlanta was fired shortly after he interviewed me on-air concerning the case. A GBI agent in Gainesville sent word that I should “keep my mouth shut” when I tried to enlist the aid of Senator Sam Nunn and Congressman Ed Jenkins, and tied the fourth murder to the first three by insisting the state crime lab look at the ballistics again. The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department willfully allowed physical evidence from one of the other murder scenes to be destroyed. In 1992, small-caliber gunshots were fired at me as I tended my horses in the pasture of my parents’ farm. Two of them struck the brick wall of my parent’s house. In 1993, someone stood on the front porch of my home [next door to my parent’s house; separated by a driveway], and when I walked outside—after spending an evening with my Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother—they fired a shot through the window of the enclosed porch. The ambush failed because my Doberman was snarling inside my home, keeping the shooter at bay. I surprised this person when I walked out of my mother's house. The single shot hit the solid door of Ma’s house like a baseball bat. I ducked, and when I looked up, all I saw was a running shadow. I moved away from Woodstock and the Atlanta area after my mother died, but for all I know the .22 slug is still buried in the doorframe.

My conversation with GBI agent P--- led me to believe that the killer is/was a protected witness. Phil’s cryptic explanation of a burglary ring convinced me that whatever information law enforcement was receiving about running guns into New York, it superseded the lives of four men who were murdered for sport.

The producers at “Unsolved Mysteries” told me a secret; they didn't shoot story segments until local law enforcement is on the verge of an arrest. The production assistant I had a liaison with cried on the phone when she told me this. The producers of “America’s Most Wanted” told me they needed a name. John Walsh has a lot more integrity than a sensational program that chose stories about UFOs and buried treasure over four brutal murders, but I understand their need for a name or a face.

My father was 78 years old when he was gunned down. (The Atlanta
Constitution got his age wrong; they said 76.) Dad was a War II veteran of the 3d Armored Division, and worked for 28 years as a postal employee. He made four trips to the Mayo Clinic in his battle with cancer; it was a war he eventually won. In April of 1985, he and Ma received a letter from Ronald Reagan, on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary. On 12 December, nine days after he was murdered, the birthday card I had requested for him, from the president, arrived.

I tried to let this rest for two decades. I have what we might call “a checkered past”, which might explain the stunning lack of law enforcement cooperation. The attitude always seemed to be “he’s a scumbag criminal, and got what he deserved.”

I deserved what I got, paid my debt, and never looked back. My father did not deserve to be shot down like a dog in his driveway. The other three victims did not deserve to be killed the way they were.

I have little hope that you will pick up on this. I gave up in despair for 20 years. Now, even though the file remains technically open, it’s the cold case from hell. I'm now 52 years old, and have spent the last five years in a wheelchair. My mother died in 1997, and I have no siblings. I'm reliably informed that all things are revealed through the majesty of God, but I'd like to see some justice in this life, for my father. I've seen your determination and support of the Holloway family, and so I'm taking one last shot at getting some justice for my father. There’s probably little to be done after 20 years, and this case doesn't have the media appeal of missing young blonde women. I've worked in movies and TV, and understand the nature of the beast.

If you can even recommend a good cold-case detective, I would appreciate it. The facts of this case are archived at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and in the video morgues of WSB and WXIA [TV] in Atlanta. (They both ran follow-up stories some years after the fact.)

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Robert B. W---
Blairsville, Georgia

Ms. Van Susteren's response to my plea is recorded above. "Gee,whiz! What can I do?"

Ms. Van Susteren has an entire international network at her disposal. They pay expense accounts for numerous junkets to Aruba. The murder of Natalee Holloway is horrible, but the suspects are transparent and in the wind. Greta hosts a "cold case" show on FOX News, but my father's murder doesn't garner sufficient ratings.

I will nail Van Sustren every time she professes to represent "justice." Every time this ratings-hungry enitity opens her mouth, I will be here to call her bluff. The only thing sadder than a lack of justice is some false proclaimer of justice. I have spent 20 years pursuing my father's killer, and some dopey broad who claims to stand for justice is a passing distraction. Lacking serious leads in a real murder investigation, it will be a passing pleasure to expose this woman when she professes to speak for justice. I thought you might be serious for five minutes, Van Susteren. I now know better. Sue me, Ms. Lawyer. I need the publicity.

Every time this hollow woman speaks out about "justice", I promise a retort here. The line is drawn.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Shooting schools

No true-believing Muslim can be "moderate". The unenlightened, unreformed, dark ages religion does not allow it.What we might call a "moderate" would, in reality, be an apostate, one who no longer sincerely believes or practices Islam. --Posted by The Gunslinger to United Possums International at 10/02/2006 01:26:42 PM

The preceding is a reply to a long-dead post at United Possums International. Some folks still recognize the relevance of past pages to modern times. Thank you, Gunslinger. Your comment, however belated, is right on.

I was all set to comment on the aberrance of Congressman Mark Foley, and the response of personal responsibility versus the broad brush of The Usual Suspects, when the news overrode partisan politics.

My first wife did her doctrinal degree on the Amish. By default, I learned a few things. Today brings news of a schoolroom shooting. I am dumbfounded, and asking “What the hell is happening?”

There are people who go their own way, and aside from conforming to traffic regulations, are left to their own devices. This is as it should be.

Mark Foley is an aberration. He is a sick, troubled individual who should not be presumed to represent conservative ideology in any form. Nevertheless, in their lust for regaining power, liberals will plaster him as a broad political brush stroke to portray conservatives as a culture not only “of corruption”, but as a society of baby-rapers. In the last few weeks of the off-year elections, conservatism will equal sexual corruption. This is right in line with playing the “race card”; conservatives = racists, and black Americans who claim our title of conservatism are “Uncle Tom” “Oreo Cookies”. Michael Moore has his "Bowling for Columbine" in the bag; what does he have to say today?

That’s not today’s rant. I was slow on the uptake for Mr. Foley; now that he has resigned, I consider him nothing more than another bus-station pervert who needs to descend into some obscene obscurity.

This shooting at an Amish school is much more important.

There is something very twisted going on here. My assertion that people who carry side arms are better off is superfluous. To carry a firearm is to presuppose that you are psychologically prepared to take a human life.

Amish schoolteachers are not prepared for this eventuality under any circumstance. Something horrible has occurred in yet another school.

Back when my kidlet units were subject to the abuses of the public school system, a fellow classmate took his life. A victim of bullying, the lad stole a firearm from his parents, brought it to school, and shot himself. I hate to use the term “thankfully”, but there was no Columbine-type retribution against other children, including my own.

We are reaching the day when even the most benevolent of teachers will be forced to carry firearms for the sake of their students. I am grateful that my kids have graduated, and they will never live through a shooting incident at their high school beyond the suicide of a classmate.

There is no accounting for what drives these children to do such things. I can not imagine the pressures of growing up in “modern times”, but it should not include the suicide option. I have cancer, but blowing my head off is not viable yet. I hope I raised my children to a better standard. There is always “the final option”, but that is the last card in the deck, and one to be played as a last resort. If I check out, the reasons will hopefully be obvious. Children should not die, and pre-decease their parents. Under no circumstances should they aspire to take someone with them. I can not imagine a worse horror than burying one of my children. I have two healthy kidlet units, and they will hopefully bury their old man.

The person who has done this horrific crime in a modern equivalent of a one-room schoolhouse is pronounced dead at this writing. I used to be a class clown, and rejected a lot of traditional education, but we never went to the guns. There have been other horrors, like the shootings in Montreal that call into question all our values. I thought we aspired to create a better world for our children. I am disheartented.