Sunday, May 26, 2013
God bless those who continue to honor a tradition of bravery and sacrifice in their service to the people of our nation in its armed forces. Today we honor you and especially those alongside you and those who came before you who offered the ultimate sacrifice for the causes of liberty and freedom: ideas authored by Almighty God himself.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." -- John 15:13
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." -- John 15:13
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
It now seems clear that the Department of Homeland Security’s stockpiling of ammunition and other warfare supplies can no longer be dismissed as “conspiracy theory,” but is a very real development in the actions of an overreaching federal government.
Many have suggested and assumed that the ammo and gun shortage experienced across the country is the result of private citizens’ unprecedented purchases, in recent years, in preparation for impending gun control measures. While this is true in part, it is only half of the logical explanation that can be assessed based upon available facts.
This phenomenon has been described as creating a perfect storm for private gun owners when paired with the reality that the DHS and other federal agencies are buying up once-available guns and ammunition like never before. Mainstream news sources such as Rawstory and Media Matters have attacked Fox News’ Lou Dobbs and others for their statements affirming that the government has indeed purchased at least 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition (especially including hollow points), 7000 fully automatic assault rifles, and 2700 new light armored vehicles, as well as riot gear including body armor. DHS has also invested $2 million with a contractor that recently apologized for its production of shooting targets depicting elderly gun owners and even pregnant women and children in residential settings, after photos and publicity of the targets recently gained widespread exposure.
As it turned out, these claims have proven to be very accurate, as even Media Matters admitted that DHS officials made the 1.6 billion rounds purchase as they were also busy denying it. The organization also insisted that “the order for 2717 new light armored vehicles [came] from the United States Marine Corps – not the Department of Homeland Security.” This claim seems baseless, as all photos have clearly shown the DHS emblem emblazoned on the tanks in question.
All these dismissive reports against the supposedly “misleading” claim of the DHS stockpiling effort can be traced back to a February 14 Associated Press report, lacking any investigative basis, that simply repeated the statement from DHS official Peggy Dixon, who claimed the bulk ammo purchases to have been made in order to save money, and that the bullets were solely intended for military and federal law enforcement training purposes. This claim becomes weaker upon consideration that hollow-point ammunition is significantly more expensive than standard rounds, and military spokesmen and ammunition experts contend that such bullets are unsuitable for training purposes and have never been used for such a purpose.
Seemingly, at the very least, even if the government isn’t preparing to make war against its own people, they are preparing for civil unrest, which is suspect enough for the warranted concern of the American people. The government may well be, however, deliberately attempting to restrict the supply of ammunition, thus the functionality of firearms, from the American people. It has never been a well-kept secret that the Obama administration is no big fan of the Second Amendment. The longstanding fears of many have begun to be shared by several of our elected officials who are increasingly becoming more vocal in their concerns about the government’s attempt to strip citizens of their right to keep and bear arms. Recently, as a guest on Aaron Klein’s radio show, Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inholfe accused the Obama administration of buying up unprecedented levels of ammunition as a means to intentionally bypass the Second Amendment until law-abiding citizens “can’t even buy ammunition because government is purchasing so much.” Inholfe cited last month’s testimony from DHS Chief Procurement Officer Nick Nayak who said DHS has the right to buy up as much ammunition as it deems necessary. He mentioned that the ammo grab is an ongoing concern, as even still “they’re planning to buy 750 million rounds. Well, that is more than three times the amount that our soldiers are using for training to defend our nation. So, it’s just another effort to restrict gun activity and ownership.” The senator is in the process of introducing the Ammunition Management for More Obtainability (AMMO) bill that will limit “non-defense, armed federal agencies to pre-Obama levels of ammunition.”
There now seems to be ample evidence that our federal government, namely the Obama administration, is up to no good when it comes to the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding American citizens. Historically speaking, this is a very alarming cause for concern. Hopefully, this concern then will continue to be shared by more elected officials in our local, state, and federal governments, as well as among our military and law enforcement communities. Lou Dobbs likely said it best with the following statement: “It’s like I tell anyone who brushes off what I try to tell them as simple ‘conspiracy theory.’ At some point it stops being a theory, and is in fact a conspiracy. I also remind them that we’re not talking about science fiction or aliens here. We’re talking about the very REAL potential of government misconduct towards its own people; something that has happened time and time again in history.”
Photo: Standard Compliant
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Recently, upon some last minute plans to take in the food and culture of West, Texas in celebration of my wife’s birthday, what we found there was astonishing, even given our knowledge of the disaster there.
I guess I expected to see people who could not and have not returned to any normalcy in their daily lives. I assume I expected to find a community whose citizens were holed up in their houses (those still fortunate enough to have one) who wouldn’t dare to grace a smile upon their faces, much less crack a joke. For the most part, I found just the opposite to be true.
As we looked around town for an establishment that served authentic Czech cuisine, we waited in a line of vehicles of locals going about their daily routine who had also stopped for a passing train. I saw some men standing and conversing beside their motorcycles as they waited to continue on their weekend ride. I spotted a bumper sticker with an encouraging line dedicated to West in a song by a nearby local band. Inside that authentic establishment, we finally found, was delicious food, friendly service, light-hearted humor, and a downhome atmosphere. The spirit of this community was astonishing!
The information I had learned from available news sources, though, also didn’t prepare me for the devastation I saw. As we drove around town, I saw some relief stations set up here and there, with very few people gathered around them. I began to see more and more boarded up windows along the way, but there was eventually no doubt when we had finally arrived at the most affected part of town. There weren’t just a few damaged homes, as I was led to believe, but several entire city blocks, an apartment building, and an elementary school that were, for all practical purposes, totally destroyed. For a historical record, my wife snapped pictures of some of the devastation we saw along the way.
I saw large receptacles of potable water placed at the curb in front of each of these homes. Messages could also be seen, spray-painted on the fronts of these homes (not caused by vandalism, but placed there to convey words of sympathy and encouragement.) One home, obviously that of a fallen firefighter, donned the crest of the local fire department, with the name of the fallen hero and the letters “R.I.P.” One home especially evoked emotion for us as we read its message: “God Bless West.” My wife snapped a photo of this home (above); and when we took a glimpse of the photo after returning home, we were filled with emotion once again to see that the captured image was of a home with its damage completely obscured by the radiant light of a setting sun that completely enveloped it. My wife and I don’t often go out of our way to look for supernatural signs beyond what can be observed daily in our natural surroundings; but we both took this as a blatant sign that God had never left the side of this community, and that he does indeed remain there to bless them once again. This community is resilient; but we should offer our prayers for them daily, as well as our continued assistance in any way possible.
Biblically speaking, we live in a cursed world as the result of mankind’s original decision to accept sin and disobey our maker. In such a world, disasters can and will happen. If we follow His will for our individual lives and for our communities, however, He will bless us (even in the face of such tragedy) in such a way that our lives will serve as examples to those who need His presence. West is just such a community. They serve as just such an example. To quote The Chris Lowe Band’s song previously referenced to: “Our town might be shaken, but our faith is not stirred.”
Photo credit: Shawn Paul
Saturday, May 4, 2013
It's hard to put into words what I found as I drove around West, Texas. If you think there is just some damage to a few houses, that's wrong. Entire city blocks, an apartment building, a nursing home, and an intermediate school are completely destroyed. But I also saw messages of encouragement and sympathy spray-painted on the fronts of these homes and displayed on bumper stickers in their historic downtown. God has obviously been there with our neighbors, and we should stand with them as well. Please keep the people of West in your prayers and continue to help them in any way you can.