of the toughest, and yet most critical jobs that a military drill instructor
has when training new recruits is to teach them to kill. It goes
against all the religious and social training a person has ever had
in their young lives. They’re a civilian one day, a kid just out
of high school who has been taught from birth that killing is a criminal
offense that can get you life in prison or even the death penalty.
The next day they’re wearing a uniform and they’re expected to kill
on command, have little or no remorse for what they’ve done, and then
kill again and again.
on firing ranges used to be simple bulls-eyes, but because many WWII
recruits couldn’t bring themselves to fire on the enemy in combat, those
targets have morphed into human forms. It’s a major part of the
effort to train young men to do what every military force on earth trains
to do. We may not like to acknowledge it, but killing is the central
role of every combat soldier.
To some that may sound like
a harsh assessment, but this quote sums it up neatly. "The
object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard
die for his." - General George S. Patton, American General in World
War I and II (1885-1945)
The flip side to my opening
paragraph is that once that same young man is discharged from the military,
takes off his uniform and dons his usual civilian clothes, he now must
put all the kill training behind him. He is expected to just step
back into society again as if nothing has happened. As the families
of returning veterans and the veterans themselves can attest, this is
in no way an easy transition.
Charles Whittington is a
veteran of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and after discharge he enrolled
in classes at a community college. His war experiences were of
course ever-present, and his English professor encouraged him to write
an essay about them. He did, received an A for it, and it was
published in the school newspaper.
His essay was disturbing
in many ways, because he wrote about killing very graphically and described
war as an addiction. It was called War is a Drug, and
I’m going to include some excerpts here.
"I got used to killing
and after a while it became something I really had to do. Killing
becomes a drug, and it is really addictive."
"I still feel the addictions
running through my blood and throughout my body. When I stick
my blade through his stomach or his ribs or slice his throat it’s a
feeling that I cannot explain, but feels so good to me."
There was a lot more to
it, of course, but I’m trying to condense a 4 page article in the Baltimore
Sun and another on CNN.com
into something that fits the RGQ format. The full article created
quite a stir, however, and he wound up being suspended from school until
he had a psychological evaluation.
Hope Davis, a college spokeswoman,
said, "When you look in the era of post-Virginia Tech and the content
and the nature that he wrote about in the article, it caused us concerns.
We had to take some action against Mr. Whittington to ensure the safety
of the college."
He’s in the process of getting
that evaluation, and barring a negative result he should be readmitted.
The story raised some issues that are ripe for debate, though, and there’s
no place better than here to air them.
This is a young man who,
had he not written his essay, would likely have been hailed as a hero.
Virtually all combat veterans have killed at least once, and many have
killed repeatedly, yet we don’t like to think of it. As civilians,
we’d rather have our parades, wave our flags, and pretend they haven’t
done what they did, but that’s a luxury they don’t have. He spoke
out frankly, and spooked the hell out of the system.
What do you think?
Was the school right in suspending him? They knew he was an Iraq
combat veteran when he enrolled, and if they didn’t understand what
that meant then they were the stupid ones. Was his essay just
too hot, too frank, or were those who admitted him knowing his military
service at fault for being naive enough to believe that either a) he
never killed anyone, or b) that he should be able to just forget about
it and move on?
And what about the bigger
picture, that goes way beyond the single instance of Charles Whittington.
How can anyone expect a normal person to go through those experiences
and just pretend that they didn’t happen? There are hundreds of
thousands of vets returning. Is society as a whole too naive?
Should every combat veteran be forced to undergo the same type of evaluation
before admission? And what should be done if he were to fail that
psychological exam? What about before being employed anywhere?
Do the same concerns apply? Should we fear all veterans, just
the ones who write about what it’s like, or none of them? What
can we offer them when they come home to help them re-integrate?
on this article
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“We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly
disguised as insoluble problems.” - John W. Gardner
“Conceit is God’s gift to little men” - Bruce Barton, American author,
advertising executive, and politician, (1886-1967)
A property manager
of single family residence was showing a unit to prospective tenants
and asking the usual questions.
“Professionally employed?” he asked.
“We’re a military family,” the wife answered.
“Oh, yes! Ages nine and twelve,” she answered proudly.
“Oh, no,” she said earnestly. “They’re very well behaved.”
“A faithful friend is a strong defense; And he that hath found him hath
found a treasure.”
“Conceit spoils the finest genius. There is not much danger that real
talent or goodness will be overlooked long; even if it is, the consciousness
of possessing and using it well should satisfy one, and the great charm
of all power is modesty.”
“Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and
pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing
it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets,
and life will become a beautiful success.” - All by American novelist
Louisa May Alcott born on this day in 1832
Speak right up!
I often sit in my sunroom gazing off into the distance. This time
of year I see more distance than when the foliage is in full leaf.
As such, lights from nearby homes and vehicles are more easily seen.
As I’ve mentioned, a major highway artery runs right behind my house.
Passing vehicle head lights and tail lights reflect from windows and
objects across the way. At the moment, the road narrows on the
northbound side directly behind us. Drivers trying to get to the
merge ahead of the guy beside them cause brake lights and headlights
to flicker in disapproval. I’m sure, if there were lights on the
end of fingers, there would be one more light shining brightly in the
Those are the obvious lights seen from our perspective, in addition
to the store signs and parking lot lighting nearby, but subtle lighting
from security lights is ever present. Neighbors leave outside
lights on all night, as do nearby businesses. Of course there
are street lights that are on when it gets dark. even on the darkest
night, there is usually enough light to see something move in the yard.
With the constant presence of some form of light, one’s vision will
catch a glimmer of light from something. Usually, it out of the
corner of the eye when a four-legged intruder is using the low light
to conceal themselves as they search for food. A glimpse of movement
or an outline of something in the shadows catches our attention.
As with a foraging skunk once, spotting that dark shape in the shadows
may come just a moment too late.
But light plays with our vision in many ways. After an ice storm,
the trees shimmer in the sunlight as if electrified somehow. A
similar thing occurs with sunlight on a dewy summer morning. However,
the sun does not need to be up for these effects to be seen. Add
in a bit of a breeze and the icy tree limbs and the drops of dew on
the grass will collect and focus the lights in a flickering dance from
Our sunroom is nothing more than three walls of glass & screens
attached to the exterior of our house. As we all know, glass is
very reflective. One morning as I sat in the pre-dawn darkness,
I was looking out and saw a light where I didn’t expect to see one.
It moved. I thought someone was in our yard. I quickly reacted
only to learn it was a neighbor across the street leaving for work.
Their car’s interior light was reflected by my next door neighbor’s
window, which must have focused it a bit, refracted through a side window
of my sunroom to reflect from a sliding glass door, then reflected once
again off the far window of the sunroom. It was that everything
was at the perfect angle and position to make this happen. I was
at ease once I spent the few minutes identifying the unfamiliar light.
Here’s your quiz:
What are some sources of light that play around your home?
Do you have a prism hanging from your rear-view mirror of your car,
or on some decorative feature in your house?
What was the strangest light you ever saw?
Light - A Different Play
Cliff (the High-Tech Redneck who doesn’t rate a fancy ’signature pic’)
on this article
Kirsten isn’t feeling well, here’s an article from last year.
"Don’t let your dreams go up in smoke - practice fire safety."
~ Unknown ~
On Sunday evening I saw sparks of light coming out of the electricity
box, and that freaked me out a little. Don’t get me wrong - I don’t
have anything against sparks of light per se. Sparks of light are
highly appropriate at, say, fireworks displays, or on sparklers placed
on birthday cakes. But all things being equal, I prefer not to see
sparks of light coming out of the electricity box. Especially when
they’re accompanied by that "pffft" sound that is a precursor
to something burning out. Double especially when said "pffft"
sound and the spark of light are followed by a low constant "bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"
My husband removed the face plate from the electricity box and examined
all of the wires. There was no damage that we could see, and no bad
burny smell that we could detect. All we had was the memory of the
spark of light and the ongoing "bzzzzzzzzzzzzz" sound. So
we decided to try a simple task. What we would do was turn the breakers
off one by one. If the sound stopped, we’d know it was the breaker
that had just been turned off. Then we’d simply leave it off and deal
with it in the morning.
Except that the sound didn’t stop, even with all of the breakers turned
off. We turned them all on again and waited to see what would happen
next. What happened next was no big surprise - the sound continued.
So we turned the mains off and then on, and only then did the sound
So now we had good news and bad news. The good news was that the ominous
your-house-is-about-to-burn-down sound had stopped. The bad news was
that we had no clue as to what had caused it. Meaning that at any
point while we were all sleeping, the house could indeed burn down
at any minute. Somewhat sheepishly, we called 911 and asked for the
fire department. We explained to them that we were extremely embarrassed
to be calling them for what might be nothing, but they assured us
that we had done the right thing. They promised to be right over.
Five minutes later, four firemen and a policeman came trooping into
the house. They shone a flashlight on the electricity box. Their flashlight
was a lot more powerful than ours - not surprising, since they had
a fireman grade spotlight, and we only had one of the toy flashlights
the kids had left lying around - but they couldn’t see any more than
we had. One of the firemen went back out to the truck, and came back
with this thermal imaging gizmo. He aimed it in the direction of the
electricity box, and immediately, we could see where the problem was.
In the device’s viewfinder, we could clearly see a big red blotch
behind one of the breakers, representing a hotspot.
So good. Now we knew that there was a problem, where the problem was,
and that we hadn’t called out the nice firemen for nothing. We turned
the breaker off, I had my picture taken with the firemen, and we sent
them on their way with our thanks.
So my house is intact, and we still don’t know what the breaker controls.
I guess the electrician will figure it out. And now, I am going out
to have dinner in honour of someone’s birthday.
On This Article
A couple of years ago, my brother, the Duke Of Granger, generously bought
me a small computer which survived for eighteen months. (See Acer "C"
Meets Diet Cokezilla) I treated myself to a larger unit, thinking it
would have more power than its predecessor. It does, but I forgot that
computers now come equipped with a very evil operating system called
I wouldn’t totally pan Bill Gates latest attempt to torture computer
users . I’m sure It has some excellent features, but I’ve never had
my computer long enough to find them.
"XP", had its quirks, but it got me to the desk top with ease.
Windows 7, may not be rocket science, but the Space Station crew could
probably figure it out a lot faster than I did. So far, it is Lucille="0":
Obnoxious Operating System="5".
My travail began last July, when Acer C and 32 ounces of Diet Coke had
their death throws. . I tried to revive the little guy with words that,
if not comforting, were certainly colorful. Alas, they accomplished
nothing but rousing barks from every dog in a three block radius.
Since using my office computer would intrude on my laziness, I went
to the local Best Buy store to purchase my cute little lap top. . I
trundled it home, and contentedly plugged it in. I installed my screen
reader, and after a few more assaults on the queen’s English, not to
mention the air space above our house, Windows 7 began to make sense
to me. Now, I could sit in my artist’s garret, a/k/a my recliner and
surf the net, which are 2 things I like almost as much as taking a nap.
In XP the start menu is, as you probably remember unless you’ve been
in the jungle for the last 10 years merely a matter of pressing "Control"
and "Escape" at the same time. Then everything you have on
your hard drive is just a click away.
Window 7’s version of that command brings you to an "edit box",
into which you must type your destination. Your other option is to scroll
through the menus to find what you want. System stuff like Internet
Explorer requires a fair amount of typing, but the program eventually
gets you there. Try "c:\documents and settings/bootherobnoxiousdoghabits/filea/mydocuments/cockadoodledoo/bugerflingandother
viledogbehaviors/tj/byhimself/withmollyanddaisy/jpg/" and press
the enter key, and, and, NOTHING. You’re one letter off, and you have
to START OVER! This could be vexing as — heck –, and a gull darn pain
in the nether region. But, Windows 7 does have its good features, and
as soon as they occur to me, I’ll share them with you.
On This Article
Grass stains - Corn Syrup
Good thing Thanksgiving is over, these opening lines sucked!
Next opening line…
There once was a fellow named Jerry…
Here’s a great new rhyming/composition tool. http://www.writerhymes.com/
There’s also a great rhyming dictionary at http://www.rhymezone.com/
Limerick rules. http://freespace.virgin.net/merrick.sheldon/limerickrules.htm
cranberry sauce we did open
mom sat down after copin
she looked tired
but her table has us inspired
as the turkey and dressings we are gropin
cranberry sauce we did open
In anticipation, we sure were hopin’
That the turkey was ready
But then we found Uncle Freddy
In the kitchen–the cook he was gropin’ - Bonnie
cranberry sauce we did open,
this long held tradition-unbroken.
Our plates we hold ready!
The aroma is heady!
Our thanks for this meal have been spoken! - June
Re: Roy and Clara
In regards to your story
about Roy and Clara, the elderly couple where Roy was mentally fit
and Clara had dementia. The city where I work as a cop had a similar
incident years ago, as most probably do. They were about the same
age and had the same situation, except that they still lived at home.
He had taken care of her for two decades since she was diagnosed with
dementia, and it was catching up to him. So one night he picked up
his .22 revolver and put it to her head as she slept. He shot her,
then layed down next to the love of his life and took his own life.
was that it was a .22, and those guns aren’t terribly effective. It
DID kill him. But it didn’t penetrate her skull. When she woke up,
she called 911 and complained that she was bleeding and didn’t know
There’s got to be a better way. Obviously these people love each other,
and it’s just as obvious that they can’t stand to see the other loosing
their identity and their mind. That has got to be a horrible nightmare.
I just don’t know what the answer is. But locking an 88 year old man
up for murder isn’t it. Even charging him with the crime sounds wrong
to me. - Chris in Utah
I am certain
this man wished he had taken his own life. The torment of living with
his deed and without his wife will be more punishment than any court
can give him. - BJ in Oklahoma
Patti, you asked:
"I wonder if he wishes he had fired the gun twice."
I wonder. Maybe so; they were together forever, and I’m sure he misses
her desperately (never mind the fact that he is now jailed on murder
charges). Then again, she’d been failing for so long, he was missing
her LONG before her death.
Either way, as far as he may be concerned (I’d be feeling like this,
so I’m extrapolating; his true mileage may vary), his life, AND hers,
was over a long time before he finally took matters into his own hands.
Dementia is so cruel. I’ve never had to deal with it, as both my parents
died from other things, and long before they should have. My grandma
lived to be 86, tho, and even tho she was failing badly at the end,
at least she still knew who we were. How devastating to not be recognized
by your own parent or spouse! Sometimes, IMHO, homicide IS justifiable.
PS - Hope everyone here in the USA had a wonderful Thanksgiving. While
you are reading this, I am at JC Penney, waiting on Black Friday crazies,
I mean, customers, who think shopping in the middle of the night,
with a gazillion other crazies, is a great idea. Lunatics. That said,
we do have a lot of really great bargains! LOL
the only one who can give life. Therefore i believe He is the only
one that should take same life.
Yes they may seem a burden to themselves but can you go down into
that soul and tell what is really going on.- dEE
suppose that if "only God" can give or take life, we should
stop doing CPR on everyone at the very least. People stop breathing
or their heart stops. God is calling them home and mankind is saying,
"No wait, God, we don’t want this to happen." And many times,
we can prevent someone from dying – even though it appears to
be God’s will – at least for a time.
We have medications that prolong life. I’m sure Mrs. Laird had been
on something to slow her Alzheimer’s. It prolongs life and in the
early stages actually makes the life a better deal that what God or
Fate would have predicted. We delay God’s will. Any person who has
ever taken anything to stop the ravages of Mother Nature, aspirin
or even willow bark, has tried to step in and negate "God’s will."
So unless we are going to forego all medicine, all medical science,
all herbal remedies, all the things we do to make our lives more enjoyable
and grant us a longer time on this Earth, I don’t see the validity
of this argument.- Patti
wrong, it would be interesting to learn about Mr. Englund’s fate.
- Carol T"
The story was an archives story from 2007, and after I saw your comment
I looked into it. Here’s a link to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. http://www.startribune.com/local/11586566.html?elr=KArksUUUoDEy3LGDiO7aiU
In a nutshell, the felony assault charge against Englund was reduced
to two misdemeanors — pointing a gun at another person and disorderly
conduct. Englund will fight the reduced charges. His attorney said
Englund brandished his shotgun but did not point it at anybody. "Even
if he did, that’s reasonable force. He’s with a guy who he thought
was a drug-crazed meth-head."
Meanwhile, the gasoline thief, Christian Harris Smith, plead guilty
to stealing gas and a car radiator at a farm near Englund’s, and was
sentenced to 90 days in jail.
Interestingly, Smith also said that he would like to do "whatever
I can" to help Englund. He said, "I don’t think he should
be held responsible for, you know, anything involving any of these
issues. I committed a crime and, you know, he did what he probably
thought was right to … resolve the situation."
Another article in the Isanti County News http://isanticountynews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=330&Itemid=1
stated that the charges against Englund were ultimately dismissed.
Re: Teachers Day
LOL I got the date
wrong. Teachers Day is today! 24th. I only knew because of all the
offers in my in box. I can fly anywhere I want in turkey today for
1Turkish lire or 67 cents! Pity we have to be in school. lol
Best Regards - Sue
Disclaimer- All quotes printed in this publication are believed to be
accurately attributed, but no guarantees are made that some incorrectly
attributed, or even outright false quotes won’t get in here from time
to time. I assure readers that I will do my best to weed out incorrect
quotes, and will print a retraction as soon as I become aware of any errors.
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