Repost: Protected

I originally wrote this post in 2012. After the events yesterday in Florida, it’s pertinent still as it was six years ago. Another school shooting, a high school this time instead of an elementary school.

But the similarities exist. A shooter walks into a No Gun Zone and kills. Contrary to the Connecticut shooting, there was a, one, law enforcement officer on campus—on the other side of the high school campus.

Why is this important? The school contained 3,200 students, more than many of the small towns in the area, and with multiple buildings. Think on that for a moment. Over 3,000 kids, teachers, administrative staff and one, ONE!, protector.

Impossible.

The libs scream for gun control. That has never worked and they know it. But gun control is all the libs have, nothing else.

The current talking heads, including Florida’s ‘Pub governor call for more mental healthcare, and over-watch of those who have mental problems. That won’t work either. How can you know if someone, who has never drawn anyone’s attention, is homicidal? You can’t.

Then what is the solution?

One that has been proposed for years and the libs block at every instance. Arm the teachers, arm the administrators, and, hire some guards who have proven themself in critical situations—like veterans and retired or former police officers.

A single security guard for a campus larger than many small towns across American is a sure path to failure, as we have just seen.


The events in Connecticut triggered a memory. A memory from nearly 60 years ago at a time when I was in grade school.

The school I attended was rural…a country school of three classrooms with a peak enrollment around seventy students. There were three classrooms, first through third grade, fourth and fifth grades, and in the largest room, sixth through eighth grades.

There were three teachers—Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Rhodes, and Mr. Helfritch the Principal; one full-time janitor/school bus driver and two older ladies as cooks.  The school was rich. It sat in the middle of a half-section of land; property deeded to the school district after WW1. The property also contained two oil wells whose royalties made the school one of the best funded in the county.

This incident occurred early in the fall of the school year. A family rented an old dilapidated house about 300 yards from the school connected by an overgrown track reduced to a foot-path. That family had three children in our school; one boy my age, a younger sister and a younger brother.

The family could best be described as…white trash. The father and his several brothers were drunks. They worked occasionally at one of the nearby mines but only long enough to qualify for “relief.”

On this day, the older boy had done something, or perhaps, not done something to cause the ire of his father. We were at morning recess when we saw the father enter the front of the school, followed shortly by loud voices and words we weren’t suppose to know, much less speak. The father was quickly escorted out of the school by Mr. Helfritch.

I don’t remember his first name. I may not have known it. All our teachers had similar first names—Mister, Miss, or Misses. I remember Mr. Helfritch as a slight, blond-haired man of medium height with a flat-top haircut. He was a WW2 veteran and a state policeman before being recalled for the Korean war.

Lunch recess was the longest of the day; an hour at least. I suppose it gave the adults time to savor lunch, coffee and to talk a bit. On this day, Mr. Helfritch was, uncharacteristically, outside watching the kids. Some friends and I were playing marbles in an bare area we’d hacked from a small grove of man-high saplings and briers. It was “our” place. We hadn’t been there long when we saw the father returning accompanied by two of his brothers.

They walked up to Mr. Helfritch demanding the older boy. My friends and I were close enough to hear some words, enough to understand some of the conversation. When Mr. Helfritch refused, one brother took a swing. In an instant, two of the three visitors were on the ground. The remaining one had a knife in his hand and Mr. Helfritch had a .45 pointed at the knife-wielder’s nose at a distance of about two feet. He carried the pistol in a shoulder holster every day my Father later told me.

Someone called the Sheriff and Mr. Helfritch kept the three covered while Rudi, the Janitor, looped a few turns of rope around their legs. They were going nowhere quickly. A Deputy arrived some time later and hauled them off.

My Father, who was an auxiliary Sheriff’s Deputy, told that Mr. Helfritch was a reserve police officer. He had been a full-time state trooper before being recalled for the Korean War. When he came home from Korea, he decided to be a teacher instead of a state trooper, but, like many in those times, he kept his reserve police commission. It was the only way he could legally carry a concealed weapon in Illinois. It was the same reason my father was an auxiliary Deputy Sheriff.

I’d forgotten that incident for many years. Dad told me Mr. Helfritch said the school kids were under his protection. He would allow no one to threaten his students. I have no doubt, and it was proven in Connecticut last week, teacher’s today would do the same…if they had the tools to do so. Unfortunately, as was proven last week, those tools have been denied and those teachers did their best—dying defending their students.

It should not have happened. The best defense for our children is still people—armed people—armed teachers willing to do what is necessary to protect their charges.

When Veteran’s Day was Armistice Day

Contrary to current common observance, today was originally Armistice Day—celebrating the end of World War I.  The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
 
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
 

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

I can remember celebrating Armistice Day.  My earliest memory was standing along one of our town’s main streets with my family watching a parade of returning Korean War Veterans marching down main street accompanied by Tanks, bands and floats (tractor hauled wagons.) That changed by a proclamation by Dwight D. Eisenhower on October 8th, 1954 that designated November 11th as Veteran’s Day. 

All was well until 1968 when Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250) or the Uniform Holiday Bill. That bill was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.” — Department of Veteran’s Affairs.”

Under this law, Veteran’s Day was observed on October  25th causing much confusion.  President Gerald Ford moved Veteran’s Day back to November 11 by an order in 1975.

Considering all the wrangling over the holiday, one result of having Veteran’s Day on November 11th is that no one remembers that it was originally set aside to celebrate the end of the First World War.  Before the two holiday were merged, each had their own observances.  Veterans are also honored on other days such as Memorial Day, Flag Day and and even the Fourth of July. 

Personally, I think the WW1 vets have been robbed, if any are left.  My mother had a cousin who was a WW1 veteran (search the Court for Heinie Mueller.)

I would much prefer that Veterans have a holiday all our own. A day solely for us and not usurping a celebration intended for others.

Until that happens, however…Happy Veterans AND Armistice Day!

(A repost from November 11, 2015.)

Happy Birthday, Marines!

Happy Birthday, US Marines!

The Marine Corps was created on November 10, 1775, in Tun Tavern, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by a resolution of the Continental Congress. In 1834 the marines became part of the Department of the Navy.

The globe and anchor signify worldwide service and sea traditions. The spread eagle represents the nation itself. The motto, Semper Fidelis, or Always Faithful, is clenched in the beak of the bird.

To all you current, inactive and retired Marines,

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Mathew 25-21.

Pivot Points

My wife and I was at dinner recently and we were discussing some long-ago event. It occurred to me that there was a single point that changed the direction of our life. A point that created a fork in our life, a divergence from the life before us. That pivot point was an invitation to lunch.

It happened in January, 1976. I was working in an administrative job for a flour milling company. The company owned a number of flour mills across the country and one charcoal plant. My job, depending on the day of the week, was Payroll Manger (hourly employees), Data Processing Manager, Assistant Treasurer, Payroll Accounting Manger, and on Friday, Manager of the company Benefit Program—paying medical claims for the salaried employees.

A couple of weeks after New Years in January, 1976, I received an invitation to lunch by a Ham Radio friend. I had been a Ham Radio operator for four years and was interested in RTTY, Radio Teletype. So was my friend.

I had spent my Christmas Holiday building a RTTY demodulator. The device decoded two RTTY tones received over the air and converted the tones to Baudot code for the TTY printer. In transmit mode, it received Baudot code from my TTY keyboard and converted that code into two tones that would be transmitted over the air. I had designed and built the demodulator from scratch. I was very proud of it and, at the request of my Ham Radio friend, took it with me. My Ham buddy wanted to see it.

When I arrived, I found my friend sitting with another. My friend was a field maintenance engineer for a Texas-based distributed computing company. The other person sitting at lunch was his boss. The boss was based in Minneapolis and visited Kansas City monthly. That day was his January monthly visit.

The lunch went well. I presented my pride-and-joy, described the circuitry and the techniques I had used in its construction. After twenty minutes, my friend received a customer call, some equipment needed maintenance. He departed leaving me with his boss.

It was a setup.

It was a job interview. My friend had accepted a position within the company to be an instructor in the company school in San Antonio, TX. However, as part of the deal, he couldn’t leave Kansas City until he found a replacement. Me.

I impressed my interviewer. I lacked knowledge of digital computing but I did have more knowledge of basic electronics than many of the current field engineers of the company. By the end of lunch, I had a job offer, for the Kansas City area, at twice my salary of my job at the milling company.

I took it! My wife was five months pregnant and my salary of $600/mth was small compared with the cost of a growing family.

I had been coasting since leaving the Air Force. My job at the milling company was dead-end. It was a family owned business and all the higher positions were limited to family members or very close family friends. The new job had more opportunities and the potential for a much larger salary.

That pivot point changed our life. I became a field engineer. A few years later, I was second level support covering a four state territory. Not long after that, I was third level support for a seven state area and a regular visiting instructor in the company school teaching disk-drive maintenance, software design and programming and telecommunications.

I have no idea what our life would have been if I hadn’t accepted that invitation to lunch. I’ve lost touch with my Ham Radio friend. A decade later the computer company was bought by a financier who broke up company and sold the pieces.

That field engineering job eventually lead to position with Sprint that lasted until I retired as a Principle Network Design Engineer. While working at Sprint I was a programmer, manager, systems design enginer and finally a project manager. I acquired seven patents along the way.  All in all, it’s been a good life.

I wonder if I will meet Mike Rathbun again. I think I will.

Where have I been and what have I been doing?

Wow! No posts since November 11th. When I stopped posting five days a week over a year ago, I did not intend to let my blog slide off into history. I haven’t posted because I’ve been busy.

Busy? Doing what, you may ask. Writing fiction. I’ve had some small success.

It all started last June when I received an email from one of the editors of the Grantville Gazette. The Gazette buys fan-fiction based on the world of 1632 by Eric Flint. 1632 is available, free, from Baen’s Free Library. Scroll down on the 1632 website and you can download the book in your favorite e-book format.

Getting back to the event last summer…some ten to twelve years ago, I submitted a short story to the Gazette slush pile. I received some feedback, made changes, resubmitted the story to the 1632 slush, and waited…and waited…and waited until I decided it must have been so bad it wasn’t worth more attention.

The subject of the story arose again last May in the 1632 forum on Baen’s Bar, a subsection of the Baen website. I mentioned that I had submitted a story long ago on that subject and a few days later I received an email asking if I was still interested in selling the story to the Gazette.

Grantville Gazette #68 cover art

Of course, says I! I resubmitted, received some further feedback, made some changes, reviewed it to catch typos, missing punctuation and resubmitted it. The next thing I know, I received a notice, “Send me a .rtf.” The short story was accepted and appeared in the November, 2016, issue #68 of the Grantville Gazette. The title was, Greetings! I’ve included the link but it may be behind a paywall.

That sale was followed by a novelette, The Marshal comes to Suhl, that appeared in the Grantville Gazette #70 in March, 2017. A third sale of a novella, SMC, is appearing as a three-part serial starting in Gazette #71. SMC, Part 1, is up in the current edition of the Gazette. The second and third parts of SMC will appear in the July and September, 2017 issues.

So. Instead of continuing to write a political blog, I’ve been writing fiction. My ego has been kept under control by the submission of three other short stories that are still sitting in the slush-pile without a nibble.

I don’t…yes, I do mind, but they have been a good learning experience. I found that typos are insidious and no matter how many times you read and re-read your text, they will still escape your notice. I’ve learned the difference between ‘telling vs. showing,’ and to avoid the dreaded ‘white-room,’ or writing just pure dialog without any context.

I can’t post the stories here. I’ve sold the rights for five years. But, if you’re interested you can follow the links above and read them on-line. If they are behind a pay-wall, I strongly suggest you subscribe to the Gazette. You may get the writing bug, as have so many others. The Grantville Gazette pays professional rates. Who knows, maybe you too can be a published writer.

Greetings!

In case any of you have been wondering why I’ve been quiet on the ‘net these last few months, the reason is that I’ve been writing some short stories. I’ve sold two this summer to an online e-magazine, the Grantville Gazette. If any of you have read 1632 by Eric Flint, the short stories are written in his alternate history universe.

You can read my first one at this link.
https://grantvillegazette.com/wp/article/7183/

Ebook versions of this issue of the magazine will be available for sale and downloading on November 1, 2016 but you can read the online versions now. I don’t think it’s behind a paywall. I don’t see one myself.

The second story will be published in the Spring and two other are sitting in the slushpile.  I hope you like this. I wrote it twelve years ago and the editor called me last June and asked if I was interested in having it published. Things went on from there.

Posted in Me.

Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys!

I’m an Anglophile. I admit it. My father was born in the UK. My Grandfather was born in Scotland and my Grandmother was born in Ireland. I have a great fondness of the UK, Scotland, Ireland and the Celtic culture. However, I am not enthralled with the culture the UK socialists and EU elites are trying to build in Britain and elsewhere. A culture of servitude, fascism and parasitism.

I read the Brexit results this morning with a feeling that maybe—just maybe, the people of the UK has finally regained some backbone. They won the election to leave the EU. The next struggle is winning the battle to survive the economic and alien culture war that is still in progress.

The Brits should not feel that they face the future alone. Many here in the US believe that the UK will strengthen its political and economic ties with the US once Obama is out of office and is replaced with a rational President and Congress. I know, it’s a reach, but I try to be optimistic.

The EU is in a serious and precarious position. The UK is out and there are other EU members who have groups who want out, too. Britain is not alone in its desire to leave the supra-national organization, an organization that is nothing more than an overgovernment of socialist elites that has run amok. The EU has arrived at a point where they’ve run out of other people’s money and have nowhere else to turn.

The Brexit contagion: How France, Italy and the Netherlands now want their referendum too 

By

Brexit

A woman carries an umbrella and a polling station sign at a polling station for the Referendum Credit: Reuters

Voters in France, Italy and the Netherlands are demanding their own votes on European Union membership and the euro, as the continent faces a “contagion” of referendums.

EU leaders fear a string of copycat polls could tear the organisation apart, as leaders come under pressure to emulate David Cameron and hold votes.

It came as German business leaders handed a considerable boost to the Leave campaign by saying it would be “very, very foolish” to deny the UK a free trade deal after Brexit.

Markus Kerber, the head of the BDI, which represents German industry, said that 1970s-style trade barriers would result in job losses in Germany.

“Imposing trade barriers, imposing protectionist measures between our two countries – or between the two political centres, the European Union on the one hand and the UK on the other – would be a very, very foolish thing in the 21st century.”

In Italy, the anti-establishment Five Star movement on Tuesday declared it would demand a referendum on the euro. The party wants the euro to be split – one for the rich north and one for the south. 

Beppe Grillo, the party’s leader, has called for a full referendum on EU membership. He said: “The mere fact that a country like Great Britain is holding a referendum on whether to leave the EU signals the failure of the European Union.”

Five Star won 19 out of 20 mayoral elections on Sunday, including in Rome and Turin, in a major blow to Matteo Renzi, the Prime Minister.

In France, Marine Le Pen, the Front National leader, last night called for France to have its own referendum on the “decaying” EU. “I would vote for Brexit, even if I think that France has a thousand more reasons to leave than the UK,” she said.

In the Netherlands, polls show a majority of voters want a referendum on membership, and voters are evenly split over whether to stay or go.

The question for the EU now is not how they may entice the UK back into its control. The question is how can it survive the groundswell of “exits” that will come from the remaining members.

Brexit is not just an isolated movement. There is one here in the US. No, it is not an issue of the US vs. the EU, it is the American people against the elitists in Washington and in the Red States. The rise of Donald Trump, a person who I personally detest, is one symptom of that movement against elitists of all strips. The difficulty we face is that the statists are not limited to the liberals and democrats in Washington, it is also the elites in the GOP at all levels.

The hope of many is that electing Donald Trump will create an electoral sweep that will remove or wealen those elitists. I hope they are correct. I fear they are not.

A column was just published on Rasmussen’s website that asks, “Is Trump Already A Third-Party Candidate?” Perhaps, perhaps not. The established political parties on both sides have become nothing more that two faces of the the same group—elitists who have colluded as a group to maintain personal political power. If the author of that article is correct, Donald Trump is not a third-party candidate, he is a second-party candidate. A truth that is becoming more apparent every day.

Four gun control bills were submitted recently in the Senate to abolish the 2nd Amendment rights for a class of people. Those people were ones whose names appear on a secret no-fly list. No one knows who nor how the list is maintained. No one will admit how a name may appear on the list (political enemies, perhaps?) And there is no way for a person to get his name removed from the list once it is on it. That list is a violation of the 5th and 14th Amendments of the US Constitution.

Two of those four bills were sponsored by ‘GOP Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Charles Grassley of Iowa. Apparently they don’t honor nor uphold the Constitution any more than democrats.