pulse aftermath – day 219

It’s been 219 days since the Pulse Nightclub shootings on 12 June 2016 when 49 innocent people were slain by a demented religious nut. I drove past today because, in part, it was MLK Day. There’s a community core that won’t forget. I certainly won’t. No one deserved to suffer and die the way they did.

Earlier today news reports were published that the FBI arrested Noor Salman, wife of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen. She’ll be headed back to Florida on charges of obstructing justice and aiding and abetting the attempted provision of material support to a foreign terrorist organization. I’ll wait to read all the material facts of the case; in my opinion, the FBI isn’t the best law enforcement organization, especially after Comey’s incompetent handling of the non-existent Clinton e-mail evidence right at the end of the general election.

merry christmas 2013

key west christmasI’d like to take moment and wish everyone a Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas. It’s been a long strange 2013 for me, and I’m thankful to have gotten through it all in far better shape than I thought I’d be in at this point in time. I was laid off from the MITRE Corp (due to sequestration, or so they said) back in April. I’m very thankful that I have my current job (the one that sent me to Japan in early December), and extremely thankful that my time laid off was as short as it was. I know from other’s experiences that engineers my age that are laid off will essentially never work again, or at least not in the profession that they were let go from.

I’m thankful for my marriage of nearly 30 years, and the woman who has stood by me and put up with me all that time.

I’m deeply thankful for our two daughters, those two sacred gifts of life that we helped raise, and we were blessed with the opportunity to watch as they grew from infants to young adults. It’s both blessed as well as tough to raise children in this day and time, but I wouldn’t have given up the opportunity for anything. If I have any regrets it’s that I may not have devoted enough time to the two girls. But there’s no reason to dwell on that, what’s done is done. I have plenty of lovely and loving memories, and so do they. And as they continue through life as grown adults, I still have many opportunities to share some of those coming moments with them. The adventures continue.

In spite of the Snowden revelations, I’m thankful I live in the United States. No government or society is ever perfect, especially not ours. As Thomas Jefferson once remarked, “eternal vigilance is the price we pay for liberty.” The NSA excesses are but one example of the eternal vigilance we must practice, and then act upon, to nurture liberty and democracy. And while I’m at it I give thanks for whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.

And I’m thankful for all the men and women who have given their lives in defense of my freedom, both this year and in years past. We may argue the motivations of their commanders (and believe me I certainly do), all the way up to the Congress and the President, but it’s the troops at the sharp end who execute the orders and are called upon the make the ultimate sacrifice.

Finally, I’m thankful for the democratic process in this country that allows me to not just vote but to act upon my beliefs in a lawful manner. The biggest mistake I ever made was to vote not once, but twice, forĀ Barack Hussein Obama II. If I’d known during the 2012 election season what I know now about the NSA excesses and his support of them, as well as his other foreign policies, especially the immoral drone wars, I would have done everything in my power to help vote him out of office. That knowledge came about through the exercising of our most precious Constitutional rights, a priceless gift that demands our continuous and vigilant support by whatever means necessary.