Let ’em do their job!

That truck driver cell phone law still sticks in my craw. It also applies to click-to-talk radios, too. They can’t really think that picking up your radio is dangerous, but now they require you to pull off the road to call your dispatcher. To me, that’s a hell of a lot more dangerous than reaching down to pick up my radio. I didn’t think they’d apply the law to C.B.’s since they can be used to warn other drivers of impending road hazards, but I guess I was wrong. It’s another regulation in an occupation drowning in regulations—another attempt to collect revenue from people who are being targeted so often and by so many that they approach every day as though preparing  to run a gauntlet. In my Novel, Death’s Door, the hero, Jesse Yates and Phil Bolden, who turns out to be a hijacker, are in a honky-tonk commiserating about truck driving, when Bolden tells Yates about a driver who was caught without his seat belt on by a cop on an overpass with binoculars, who then radioed ahead. I hate to say it, but that really happened. What really gets me is that these kinds of things represent the Washington elite treating the rest of us like children, fining us (severely) for doing things that they do with impunity. Of course it’s all just a money grab, since it’s now impossible to collect enough taxes to pay for all their vote-grabbing social programs. Traffic fatalities are down 24% from 2005, but what’s also down? Revenue. You gotta get it somewhere.The law is full of verbiage about drivers...

Marijuana seems to ease PTSD symptoms

I’m no expert on marijuana, but my gut tells me there’s something to it. I won’t try to tell you I have no experience with the evil weed, but I will say that it hasn’t been a big part of my life. I guess there are three main reasons. I’m a booze guy, initiated as a young Hoosier in Ohio border towns where 18-year-olds could legally drink 3.2 beer. Man, those bars were like Old West saloons. It’s a good thing we didn’t carry six-shooters. The prospect of being hassled by the law was a definite turn-off. Pot didn’t seem to do much for me. Well, there was this one time when I had a layover in Saigon and met up with my best friend from home… Back to topic: I don’t think anybody escapes the horrors of war unharmed. Chemical and genetic makeup probably help some people deal with it better than others, but I believe that a feeling of isolation compounds all the thoughts and images of battle that plague combat veterans. Deep down, they can feel permanently isolated from civilian society because they think nobody really knows them anymore and never will. They only feel truly normal among other veterans, but when they get home their chances of coming in contact with someone who has shared their experience is mighty slim. Support groups can be a big help if you have access to one. A couple of veterans in Olympia, Washington, have started a group that focuses on using marijuana to help reduce the incidence of suicide among combat veterans. One of these guys says he...

Kerry built his career on the backs of U.S. troops

The Obama administration can really pick a Secretary of State. First it was Hillary, whose incompetence and lack of concern got an ambassador and three other good men killed, and then you get John Kerry who built his political career on the backs of his brothers in arms. I can’t think of anything worse than coming back home and lying to your countrymen about the guys you went to war with. Kerry testified before congress in 1971 and talked about all the atrocities we committed in Vietnam, and he knew damn well that the vast majority  of U.S. troops (and probably every one he ever laid eyes on) were doing in Vietnam what always done–fighting with honor and courage while doing their best to help and defend the civilian population. Anyway, how would he know about all these atrocities? He was only there for four months. He put himself in for three Purple Hearts and got the hell out. In his testimony he claims to have met with 100 veterans in Detroit who admitted murdering, raping and mutilating civilians in Vietnam, sometimes just shooting people for the fun of it. If his pals were telling the truth, they should be in Leavenworth. I don’t know the exact truth about his wounds, but, since none of them caused him to miss any duty time, they couldn’t have been significant. No doubt most guys who spent a year or more over there got their share of cuts, scrapes and minor injuries during combat activity without getting a Purple Heart. I know a lot of guys who, if they had somehow managed...

The strange ‘Madmen’ view of the Vietnam War

I couldn’t help being amused by the Madmen view of Vietnam. As early as 1965 in the show, all the young guys in the agency seemed threatened by the idea of being seized by the military and sent to their death in Southeast Asia. Later, when the son of one of Don’s lovers faced certain death at the hands of his local draft board, Don became obsessed with saving his life, while the kid made plans to hightail it to Canada. And then there’s the weird scene where the goofy little kid who used to be a neighbor of the Drapers mans up and joins the Army with every intention of going to Vietnam. Sally freaks out, spewing leftist garbage like “Why, so you can kill kids your own age?” She couldn’t have been more than 13–an age when politics, if it has somehow managed to raise its ugly head, is no match for hormones. And yet we’re to believe that she has already been indoctrinated with Bill Ayers-type dogma. Here’s the reality: It actually took quite a while for the self-righteous U.S. media and the likes of Jane Fonda and John Kerry to have their way with America. In the early years of the war–I suppose the Madmen writers had no way of knowing this–people pulled for our troops, wished them the best and then went to the mall, much the way things have been going for our warriors today. The seeds of rioting in America were scattered around the globe by masters of Soviet disinformation. They even had a whole department of Dezinformatsiya. Later, they cooked up the...

Guy walks into a bar wearing a rebel flag…

I hate that so many government entities have fallen all over each other in their haste to pretend that the Confederate battle flag  never existed. It’s one thing when segments of the general population have a thoroughly negative reaction to the symbol. After another horribly disturbed young mass murderer poses with the flag, what can you expect? Knee jerk reaction on the basis of emotion and with little regard to rational thought is not something we should value in our government officials, though. And yet now, in the heat of the moment, we have state and local politicians in the South scouring every logo, seal and symbol in a desperate effort to find and eradicate the slightest trace of stars and bars. I don’t like it. Hundreds of thousands of decent young men with no stake at all in the slavery issue followed that banner out of loyalty and devotion to their homeland–deep rooted American traits that, in years to come, the country depended on for it’s very survival, and still does.  As an aside, I think it would be interesting to find out what percentage of our military ranks are filled with people from former Confederate states. The topic is complicated far beyond that fact, though–too complicated for a simple blog post–but I will say that the sorry state of education in this country has a lot to do with it. Too many people react to historical events as though they were subject to today’s legal standards, cultural conditions, moral sensibilities, Tweets and Facebook posts. Let’s face it, the Stars and Bars has been demonized for quite a while...