As I was driving into work today, I noticed a bumper sticker on a car in front of me and one lane over. It was one of those bumper stickers that I don't think you're meant to read unless the car is parked, because it's so small you have to get dangerously close to the other car and take your eyes off the road in order to read it. Mind you, I'm not saying I did that!! Goodness, no. I just happen to know what it says because I have, um...really good eyesight. Yeah, that's it.
Anyway, the sticker said, "Some days I hate being me, then I think about you and I thank God I'm not you" or something like that. I'm not sure if that was the exact quote because after I got about 3/4 of the way through the sticker, I became disgusted with this guy's total jackassery (which if not a word, SHOULD be a word) and ran him off the road.
I mean, seriously, he doesn't even KNOW me! Of course, a couple of my co-workers, a police detective, and the driver of the car have made the preposterous suggestion that maybe the sticker wasn't aimed at me personally. At least, I think that's what the driver said. It's hard to understand somebody from inside a full body cast.
Anyway, I wanted to quickly comment on the Ft. Hood shooting before reposting my Veteran's Day post from last year (after reading it, I decided it still said everything I wished to say). Ft. Hood was a tragic, avoidable event. 13 people are dead because we have become so politically correct in this country that we force law enforcement into a state of impotence. They can't follow up on what were an overwhelming amount of indicators that this shooter - Major Nidal Malik Hasan - had been radicalized. They knew he'd been speaking out against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fine, everybody is entitled to their opinion, but here was a man who was saying that car bombings were justified. He was saying that he was Muslim first and American second. THAT poses a big problem for somebody who has sworn to fight ALL enemies of the United States both foreign and domestic. He had attempted to contact Al Qaeda (which apparently Chris Matthews of MSNBC's Hardball doesn't think is a crime). Yet, nobody stopped him because....HE WAS MUSLIM and they were scared as hell that it would be seen as discriminatory.
And now 13 are dead. Look, I expect that if somebody hears of a Christian extremist planning to go blow up abortion clinics, that that person be turned into the authorities and investigated. If a Jewish extremist was overheard discussing how he wanted to blow up Mosques, that person should be turned into the authorities and investigated. If a Buddhist..well...those Buddhists are peaceful little people, aren't they?
Anyway, this situation is worse. This man was a MAJOR in the U.S. Army and just like our political correctness puts our soldiers in harms way by restricting the rules of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, it caused the death of 13 people here at home. The insanity has to stop.
Now, in all that I wrote, did anyone see anything about condemning all Muslims? Or putting them in camps as the Democrats' hero FDR did with the Japanese during WWII? No. But we have to recognize extremism for what it is and not be like this self-righteous idiot Peter Santilli on Twitter who said that Christian drunk-drivers are a bigger threat to the nation. If you can't see that a drunk driver at NO point said, I am a Christian, therefore I'm going to drink, get in my car, and drive until I kill somebody and that drunk driving is not exclusive to any one religion, and that - therefore - religion has nothing at all to do with drunk driving fatalities, then you are, as stated, an idiot.
When all was said and done, there were red flags all over the place. 13 people are dead and shouldn't be. Political correctness needs to be put in check and fast, before more people die as a result. Now, of course, if anybody reading this agrees and is an agent or publisher, I have a novel, The Offensive about political correctness gone awry, for sale.
I'm just saying....
Anyway, as promised, here is last year's Veterans' Day post:
Thank You, Veterans
I woke up this morning and did not fear what the day would bring. - Thank you veterans.
I admired our home as I got ready for work - a home we are able to provide to our children because we can achieve anything we want in this country as long as we are willing to work hard for it. - Thank you veterans.
I kissed my children goodbye, and thought about the limitless possibilities for their futures. - Thank you veterans.
I kissed my wife goodbye and went to work, leaving her and the kids in the security and safety of our home. - Thank you veterans.
I listened to the radio on my way to work, choosing what I wished to hear. - Thank you veterans.
I breathed the sweet air of freedom that IS America and thought about the many men and women of the U.S. armed forces who have served in combat - men and women who put their lives on the line to provide the freedom we all enjoy today. I thought about them and I said, "Thank you."
In case you aren't aware, today is Veteran's Day in the U.S. Originally celebrated, and still celebrated to this day in many parts of the world, as Armistice Day - the day the armistice was signed to end WWI. Unlike Memorial Day, this is a day to honor those soldiers still living. Some would argue that these men and women, who saw first-hand the horrors of war have it harder than those that did not return - having to live each day with the memories of the things they saw and the friends they lost.
It's also important to remember our military men and women who never saw combat - the fact is, they volunteered to go should we need them, and that's just as important in my book. For those of us that never had to experience combat first hand, we can only thank God and these men and women that we have not had to.
On Veteran's Day, I also like to think of the parents and families of soldiers killed in action. To me, they are survivors as well - people who bear the scars of war. I know, as a father, I would easily give my life to protect my children. If the choice was me or them, there would be no choice. These parents gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom - their children. I know this is not necessarily the intent of the day, but I don't think any veteran would begrudge me for feeling this way.
Regardless, we should thank our veterans every day, but should it be something that slips your mind the rest of the year, make a point of thanking one today. As my friend, Ed - a US Marine, pointed out, especially make an effort to thank a veteran of WWII or Korea because time is running short on having the opportunity to do so.
War, as we all know, isn't always popular. Vietnam was heavily protested and the war in Iraq is one in which many Americans wish we had never gotten involved. Hopefully, though, we have learned something since the Vietnam era - that despite your opinions on the war - these men and women who fight for our freedom are heroes. They put their lives on the line VOLUNTARILY so that you and I may eat, breathe, sleep, work and play the way we want.
Never forget the sacrifices made on our behalf, breathe in the air of freedom that IS America, and thank a veteran today.
J.E. Braun is the author of Paranoia, a 9/11 survivor's tale. Jim survived 9/11, but his life did not. Follow one man's journey through post-traumatic stress as he attempts to rediscover what once made life worth living. 10% of profits from sales of Paranoia will be donated to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund (www.ttof.org). For more information, visit www.jebraun.com.