Category Archives: Terrorism

Sen. Rand Paul Remembers America’s Freedom

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) eloquently spoke before the Senate as they debated the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the amendment that would disallow indeterminate detention of American citizens suspected of terrorism without the legal benefit of habeas corpus. As Senate bill 1867 stands now, not only could suspects be incarcerated indefinitely, they can be taken from American soil and placed in the prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. No trial. No verdict. No sentence. Only suspicion of terrorist threat.

One might ask whether I support terrorism because I am not willing to kill freedom to protect safety. Of course, I do not support terrorism in any form. I firmly believe that anyone suspected of terrorist affiliation should be shoved into a police station, and subsequently a courtroom as soon as possible to have the suspicion investigated thoroughly so that Americans can remain safe. Our safety, however, cannot force the sacrifice of our civil liberties or national freedom. As we do to one citizen, we do to all citizens. If we allow one American to be housed in a foreign prison without due process, every single American citizen is in jeopardy of losing his or freedom in the same manner.

In a glimmer of hope for balance, reason, and constitutional validation, Mark Udall (D-CO) proposed Amendment #1126 to NDAA, that clearly defined that those suspected of terrorism could not be treated as antagonists from foreign countries would be. They are American citizens who should have all the same rights as every other American. This proposed amendment went down to defeat with bipartisan “nay” votes. Senators on both sides of the aisle have apparently lost their minds.

The following video is 13 minutes, 41 seconds of pure reason and exhibits Senator Paul’s understanding of American history and the horrific potential to move toward Third World status, thrusting our country into the abyss with other sovereignties where citizens disappear mysteriously, possibly never being heard from again. Please watch this video in its entirety. It is a powerful warning that, if unheard or disbelieved, may lead to a militaristic government heretofore unimaginable in our country.

Is It a Pepper Spray World?

When did we decide that events such as a peaceful sit-in on a university campus, or a Black Friday shopping frenzy require pepper spraying the participants?  Have we reached such a level of anarchy that our citizens require routine dousing with a concoction of chiles, propellant, and ethanol (booze)?

With the reintroduction of peaceful and not-so-peaceful demonstrations around the world, we have an opportunity to see what has been absent for many years, the people taking action to affect change.  Those in power are nervous, of course, because across the globe, governments are tumbling under the vibration of the protesters’ voices.  The United States of America appears a bit nervous, so contrary to the promise of the First Amendment to our Constitution, she has chosen to try to quell these voices with what was described on Bill O’Reilly’s program, “a food product,” which by the way, if one were to eat a chile relleno and a glass of wine, would be about right.

I suppose I understand, if not agree, why places like UC Davis pull out cans of gaseous condiments to sour the protesters’ day.  They are afraid that change is coming, and it is arriving without the consent of the powers-that-be.  Scary, yes?  Ask King George III of Britain during the American Revolution;  King George VI of England during the uprising in India in the 1940s, which led to its independence from Britain; the segregationists of the 1950s, including state leaders when the Civil Rights Movement really took hold;  President Richard Nixon during the demonstrations against the war; President Zine El Abidine ben Ali of Tunisia,  and no fewer than 16 other countries’ leaders who saw uprisings in the Arab-North African Region during the Arab Spring; and all the other leaders who saw change come at the hands of a nation’s people.

The people, when they are focused, can be a powerful force.  Those in leadership, instead of actually listening, attempt to quell these vibrant voices.  The problem is that with each event like the one at UC Davis, they lose credibility, and appear desperate to maintain control.

On the other hand, we have events like the pepper spraying by a woman of those around her at Wal-Mart on Black Friday 2011.  I have to say this out loud or my head will explode:  Perhaps the shoppers deserved it.  I know.  I know.  Those readers who have clothing tags strewn all over their beds, and brand new televisions for $125 dollars will rail at what I have just written.

“Why shouldn’t we be allowed to be ungracious and wild-eyed in our attempts to get great deals before everyone else?!?  Why shouldn’t we exercise our American freedom to jeopardize others’ safety to satisfy our greed?”

Well, the First Amendment grants many freedoms, but none of them includes injuring others to get a great deal; or perhaps I just don’t understand our Constitution fully.  The woman who pepper sprayed other patrons of the store was clearly in the wrong, as are the people who shot other purchasers with firearms; however, because I believe that everything is for a reason, perhaps this is a wake-up call to all of us who experience this type of  compulsive purchasing mania.  If one wants to compete with others, take up a sport, play backgammon, or try out for American Idol, for goodness sake!

Pepper spray has its place.  A group of hoodlums beat an innocent citizen, then discovered by the police, and the officers whip out their chile dust to protect the gentle person.  That makes complete sense.  Looters begin attacking privately owned shops after a horrific loss by their football team, and again, the police reach into their holsters for their canisters of irritant.  This, too, is utterly reasonable to me.

Ultimately, we must look at our intentions as a people.  What will we say is the appropriate use of control agents such as pepper spray, rubber bullets, and water cannons against our populace?  It seems proper to use these methods to bring people back to their senses when they have clearly lost their minds in shopping or lamenting a sports loss.  It appears wholly inexcusable and counter to everything we know as a nation to silence the voices of our citizens when they are speaking peacefully, but in large numbers, to our governmental leaders.


I haven’t much to say about 9/11, because like important events in my life that brought me great sadness, the difficulty with which I write about these topics is enormous.  I cannot let the day pass without a few words, though, about the events of September 11, 2001.

That morning, at about 5:50 AM, I awoke with a start, as though I’d heard an alarm.  I never awoke that early because I work in the theater, and I routinely sleep in after working late the night before.  That morning, however, I grabbed my remote and turned on the television with a  focus rarely felt that early in the day.  I turned on the news to see flames roiling from the side of World Trade Center Tower 1.   Moments later, I saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center Tower 2.  I sat in bed, riveted to the images on my television as I watched in horror as the two towers tumbled to the ground, killing 3,000 people.  I saw the attack on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. as my confusion and grief grew even more.  I called my future husband at his house and he was utterly distracted by watching these same events, so I hung up and watched alone until I had to get up to go into my classroom that Tuesday morning.

When I addressed the issue with the middle school and high school students in my vocal music classes, I don’t even know what I told them.  I was in shock. I had just watched thousands of people die.  I tried to keep these young people calm.  We didn’t sing much that day.  I know I couldn’t.

A few days later, the Sacramento International Airport contacted our school, a performing and fine arts academy, to ask if we would sing at the memorial.  We, of course, agreed.  My advanced singing group, Gateway Singers, assembled with somber countenance in the parking lot in front of the terminal.  I cannot recall the songs we chose.  The truth is, it is all a blur.  It is a blur because I could not reason through these events.  They made no sense to me and I was left with an emptiness in my heart for people whom I didn’t know,except for the fact that they were Americans.  Soon, however, I would hear from people who knew individuals who died in the attack.

We sang together, we wept together, and we held each other as we realized how many families were affected.  Those of us who performed at that memorial wore the 9/11 pins that we received from the airport.  My heart was full for the small and adult children that were lost on that tragic day.  As I put my arms around our weeping students, I couldn’t help but realize that parents, spouses, and children from all over the world, who had prayed in churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples, were gone from our planet.

I will never truly understand why the people who perpetrated this monstrous series of attacks did what they did.  How they got to that point in their lives that they believed this was appropriate action to take will allude me the rest of my life. On a larger scale, I know that I do not understand violent war at all. I suppose I was born without that part of my functional mindset.  I do not see a reason to destroy lives out of anger, fear, or retribution.

So, today, as we commemorate the events of 9/11, I will sit quietly, contemplating our loss, remembering the day in all its fuzziness, the quality that my brain has probably ascribed to the events to make them tolerable to carry for the rest of my life.  I will gaze upon the pin I received for leading our young people ten years ago in lamentation, knowing nothing will make our ache better.  Like all loss, we will bear these events as scars on our hearts, hoping we will never see the like of them again.

The one aspect that gives me hope in all of this is the fact that heroism appeared time and again during this process.  People on the ground in New York City, the passengers on Flight 93 that sacrificed their lives to thwart the attack on Washington, D.C., and that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and many others who helped the the rescue efforts from around the country, showed their mettle that day.  I hang onto that as my memory so that I can move forward.  I never forget, and will likely always remember the grievous events of 9/11, but I choose hope for tomorrow to honor those who can no longer hope.