A couple of potential nightmares for the United States

The other day, I had a very sobering thought come to mind that totally scared the crap out of me. Maybe I have been watching too much news on the recent events in Ferguson and the Middle East, but my thoughts could very well be shared by many folks in this country. Whenever a certain news event happens, I usually look at the future ramifications of that event. Suppose for instance that there is a terrorist attack at a mall in some city in the United States. Will this be the beginning of a serious of attacks on Americans? Or perhaps let say that a law gets passed which legalizes a certain controversial drug. Will this lead to other controversial drugs now becoming legal? Maybe it is the just the business guy inside of me, always looking to the future, but I can see where a couple of recent news events regarding the Ferguson protests and the sudden emergence of the terror group ISIS could potentially create some of the worst nightmares ever in the history of this country.

The Ferguson story has been at the forefront of the news for the last few weeks with all of the daily protests on the streets of Ferguson. Slowly, this story is starting to lose some steam, however, when the trial of the cop involved in the shooting of the unarmed starts, you better believe this story and trial will be one of the most publicized trials ever in this country; maybe even greater than the O.J. Simpson trial. Now take a look in the future and suppose the police officer gets acquitted of all charges; the thought of that extremely real possibly makes me a little nervous! The protests that have been going on for the past few weeks will look nothing like the protests that might develop with an acquittal. There could huge protests in many cities all around this country along with a ton of violence. I totally hope and pray this will never happen but it could very well come about. This type of event will further polarize an already divided nation much like what took place in the 60’s and early 70’s. Believe me, not everyone has been or will be on the side of protestors and this could develop into a very ugly situation with much violence in many cities. The fact that social media is so big these days will only fuel the outrage and division. Who wants to experience something like that in this country?

Many people were totally shocked at the recent news and video of an American journalist being beheading by the terror group ISIS. You might say this was their big coming out party. That event really got our attention and maybe the folks in the White House will wake up and take this group seriously! As I wrote in my blog post last week, this terrorist group might be the most ruthless group ever in the history of terrorism. Their agenda is very simple; they want to take over the world and force their radical views on everyone. They are definitely not some JV team that our president likes to call them; they are a serious threat to this country. What really got my attention this week was the sheer diversity of this group. This group of thugs is just not a bunch of radical Middle Eastern grown terrorists. Some come from Britain and what really alarmed me was a report that some have American passports, yes that means that some of their members may be living here in the United States! At this current moment, they could be planning another 9/11 attack. That should be more than enough to get our homeland securities attention. They are out to get us and I strongly believe an attack on American soil by this group is only a matter of time. The big question is to what degree are we going to go to stop this from happening. Our national security is becoming more and more of an issue everyday. No single American is safe from this very evil terrorist group. The fact that another 9/11 is being planned should send shivers up the spine of any American.

Having a divided country will certainly not help us in trying to ward off any attack. These terrorists are probably beaming with joy at seeing our country being ripped apart by these divisions. The ultimate nightmare would be for a number of people from this country to suddenly turn their allegiance to ISIS and vow to help them in totally changing this country. It would be naïve to think that there are not a select few who feel this way. Who is to say that ISIS could promote a little PR thing on the internet promising a much better America for all people? It would certainly appeal to some citizens who are very anti-Christian. Despite all thoughts, I still believe our country will overcome these threats and divisions. Much like in business, we need to see these potential problems before they totally destroy us.

Satan’s army in Iraq

About 70 years ago, a group was formed under the guidance of Adolf Hitler which might of arguably been the most evil group in the history of the world. The Nazis wanted to totally wipe out all Jews and form their own little world in which they were in control. Thousands of innocent men, women and children were slaughtered at the hands of that evil group. It was one of the worst forms of genocide ever in the history of the world. Many have stated that a genocide of this proportion will never again happen in this world. Well, welcome to the new group of modern-day Nazis, the ISIS group in Iraq.

As a Christian, I take it very personally when a certain group tries to attack me or my fellow believers. Thousand of Christians in Iraq are being forced to convert to Islam or face death. Many have been murdered or should I say, slaughtered for simply being a person of Christian faith. Images of children being beheaded, women being raped and kidnapped or men being crucified is enough to really make my blood boil. It should make any person whether they of the Christian faith or not, mad and disgusted! This ISIS group defends their actions by saying their doctrine teaches them that Christian are evil people and must be destroyed. Their goal is to wipe out Christians everywhere, not only in Iraq, but all over the world. In their own utopian view of the world, everyone would follow the same radical Islamic views as they do. Their excuse for killing children is to prevent them from fully getting indoctrinated into Christianity so they can go to heaven. They view the killings as doing the children a favor.

I consider ISIS to be another evil terrorist group who uses religion as justification for their actions. They claim these killings are justified by their God or Allah. The God that I worship is totally different from the God they worship. In fact, I wonder if their God is actually Satan! The God I worship does not advocate killing of innocent children, women and men. The God I worship calls out for peace, loving one another and considers purposely killing an innocent person a grave sin (see the ten commandments). I challenge anyone to pursued me to follow their warped religious views. It is just pure and evil, plain and simple!! They are simply making a mockery of what God is really like.

I find it very sad that so many brave men and women in this country fought so hard and sacrificed so much to bring hope and peace to the people of Iraq only to have some terrorist group taking over city of city. It is hard for me to believe that people in the White House did not see this coming. Our president decided to go against the advice of generals over there by pulling all of the troops and not leaving some behind, a huge mistake in my opinion. If Iraq becomes totally controlled by these thugs, it could have huge implications for the Middle East, the world and the United States. ISIS is like a cancer that will only grow. They are a very dangerous and well-organized terrorist group that will only grown. It would be totally naïve to think that they do not already have people here in this country. We are definitely their main target. They must be stopped NOW before they expand and try to do harm to other nations.

There has been talk about containing this group by using airstrikes. Contain this group? Let’s do more than contain this group, let’s wipe them out for good before it is too late! I shutter to think what the world would be like if this radical group ruled the entire world. Wiping out Christianity will just create a pure evil world that nobody will want to live in. Even if you’re not a person of faith or a Christian, nobody should be forced to adhere to some radical form of religion. Imagine if this group controlled the United States? Our freedoms would go totally out the door. No matter what politic views you may have, we have to agree that ISIS is a threat to this country and the world. They must be stopped right now before it is too late. Adolph Hitler would be proud of these radical thugs.

Thoughts on the troubling situation in Ferguson

The shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson Missouri has certainly created a great deal of buzz in the news during the past week. Regardless of what your opinion may be about the case and to what degree the police are at fault here, let’s remember that a young life was lost. A young man who may have had a promising future lost his life in a split second. His family is now grieving and the added publicity of the case will not make things any easier for them. First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers have to go out to Michael Brown’s family. Losing someone that young in your family is very tragic indeed.

In the days since the shooting last Saturday, I find it very troubling and disturbing to see so many people jump to conclusions about what actually took place on that fateful day. Words of execution and assassination are being used to describe what happened to Brown. If you listen to some of those protestors on the street, you would get the sense that Brown did absolutely no wrong and the police officer hunted him down and shot him for no apparent reason. Yeah like he just decided it was time to murder some black kid. I find that type of reasoning to be extremely troubling. First of all, all the facts in this story are not in yet. Forming an opinion without getting all of the facts is just irrational reasoning. There seems to be a number of folks in Ferguson and around the country, including many media types who are rushing to judgement in this case. Does the fact that Brown robbed a store just a few minutes before he got shot concern you? What about the reports that the officer got shoved into his car and Brown attempted to take his weapon? There are so many unknowns and questions that I have about what went on. I highly doubt that some police officer would shoot some person without first being provoked to do so. Something tells me that Brown instigated the whole situation. The big question in my mind is did the officer go too far in what he did. On the surface, it appears that he did, but let’s get more information about what led up to the shooting. I think it is totally foolish for people to rush to conclusions without knowing exactly what happened.

Unfortunately and quite predictable, there have been numerous acts of violence during the past week in Ferguson. Hooligans are going around looting and burning buildings. There has been some criticism that the use of military techniques by the police is only adding fuel to an already tense situation. I tend to disagree with those people. This situation could explode in something bigger at any moments notice. Suppose a bunch of people from out of state came to Missouri and joined the protestors. Imagine that nightmare scenario? I think many people underestimate how serious the situation could eventually be. There is absolutely no guarantee that the police could handle a full-blown riot.

It is very sad to see some folks expressing their feelings with use of violence. One of my fears about this situation is that it will spill over into other cities. That is one of the last things that we need in this country. Suppose the officer involved in the shooting gets acquitted. The is a very strong possibility that could lead to many demonstrations and riots on streets all around this nation. Those who feel the need to act like a bunch of animals while protesting need to understand that the average person becomes very turned off by their actions and this can not be good for getting people to feel sympathetic to their side of the issue. I also find it very disturbing to see many members of the media and some black leaders trying to incite more trouble with their comments and statements. I heard a leader this week talk about how the police are really out to get “his people” and something needs to be done about this. I wonder what evidence he has to support his statement. Nothing could be further from the truth. A police officer who targets only a certain group of people will not last long in the force. They do us far more good including “his people” far more good than harm.

This story will not go away anytime soon and the trial of the police officer will be very interesting. I need to know far more facts before I form any opinion. In no way am I declaring any innocence for the police officer. If he is found guilty, he deserves a very harsh penalty for using his authority to unlawfully kill a person. He deserves a very fair trial and may the evidence either convict or acquit him. That is the American way of doing justice. Condemning a guy without any clear-cut evidence and trying him through the media is not the American way of doing justice!

Lesson learned from the life and death of Robin Williams

Since last Monday when news broke of the death of perhaps one of the funniest people on this planet, Robin Williams, there has been a great deal of reflection on his life by many people. I was never a huge Robin Williams fan, but I can join millions in saying how much he used to tickle my funny bone. A few years ago during one cold winter night, I tuned to the comedy central channel and watched him give a little performance. I was a little down that night and wanted something to pick me up. He certainly took care of that and more!! My mood turned dramatically after many laughs. It just seems so strange that a man with so much humor and the ability to make people laugh had problems with depression. He seemed to be well liked by many and probably had many friends, yet he had a disease which ultimately made him take his life. A very tragic story indeed.

Quite often when we reflect on someone’s life after they die, there is always something that we can learn and apply to our own life. In Williams case, there are 2 very important issues that we can learn from based on his life and his death. First all, many people have commented in recent days on how Williams brought many moments of joy and laughter into their lives. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had more funny people in this world like Williams? Everybody seems so uptight in today’s world. People seemed to be so stressed out. You turn on the news and there is nothing but doom and gloom. That is why I like to turn to the comedy channel or watch a funny movie. I start to feel a sense of joy and happiness. If you watch enough television, you are bound to get down by all of the negative stuff that is on. It is so refreshing to have people like Robin Williams and other funny people to keep our sanity. The same principle applies to our personal lives. Many of us have stress in our jobs and that funny, obnoxious co-worker is just what we need to make it through the day. People are drawn to funny people and we should all learn to be clowns like Williams. The value of humor in one’s personality should never be underestimated.

The other valuable lesson we can learn from his life is the fact that depression is a serious mental problem in this country. There are millions of people around the world who suffer from depression. Perhaps his death can start some discussion on how serious this disease is. Let’s face it, depression is something that people do not feel comfortable talking about and is often shoved under the rug. Suppose one of your friends sat down with you over coffee and mentioned that they are being treated for depression. How would you react? If someone like Williams who had so much fame, money and friends suffered from depression, imagine the trials that a common everyday Jane or Joe have to go through? It is unfortunate that sometimes it take a tragic loss from someone so famous to bring this serious issue to light. There is not a single person who is exempt from depression. Maybe this event will kick-start some meaningful discussion on this topic.

We all are going to miss Robin. He was certainly an icon in this country and around the world. Just maybe something positive can come out of his death. Perhaps a greater awareness of this disease, depression, could help save lives in the future. I will always remember Williams, not for his death, but for making me laugh on that cold winter night a few years ago. We need more people in this world like Williams who can make people laugh and put joy into their lives. RIP Robin, your legacy of laughter is really what the world need now.

The toughest sport that I have ever played

Throughout my life, I have played a wide variety of sports ranging from individual sports such as wrestling, tennis and track and field to team sports such as basketball, baseball, softball, flag football and volleyball. Surprisingly, none of these sports compares to the toughest sport that I have ever played and that would be golf, yes golf!! You would think that some sport which involves just hitting some little white ball around some well manicured piece of property would not be that difficult, but it has given me fits ever since I started to play.

Sure there are other sports that are far more demanding on the body and involve a great deal more athletic ability. However, I have not played a sport which combines a greater combination of skill level and mental toughness than golf. Many top-notch athletes from other sports get easily humbled when they first step onto a golf course. Playing good golf involves more just hitting the ball a country mile. There are shots from all kinds of lengths that you have to master. A lot of golfers can hit long straight drives only to hit their short approach well off-line. And of course, you have putting which is a whole different skill in itself. About 2/3 of all shots in golf come from within 100 yards of the pin. Hitting shots from those distances requires a very unique set of skills that very few sports require.

I think what really separates golf from other sports that I play or have played is the mental aspect of the sport. It is by far, the most nerve-racking sport that I have ever been involved with. A few weeks ago, I decided to play in a golf tournament and see how I could do against other players from my club. To my surprise, I played much better than expected and found myself near the top of the leaderboard. “Hey, I can win this tournament” was my thought going into the last round. That is when the pressure really started to mount. I knew that one bad shot could cost me the tournament. My heart was racing on every shot. Unfortunately, I came up a few shots short from winning but it was an experience that I will never forget. Never have I experienced that type of pressure in a sporting event. I have played in many basketball games and not felt that type of pressure. All sports involve some degree of pressure in competition, but I will put golf up against any sport.

In some ways, playing golf has helped me succeed in other sports as well as life in general. One of the greatest things about golf is that it teaches you how to deal with adversity. If I happen to make a mistake at work, I look at it like I would if I were on the golf course. I just bogeyed a hole and need to forget about it and move on. When I play other sports, golf has taught me how to concentrate, especially under pressure.

If anyone out there wants to try a challenging new hobby and sport, golf might be the sport for you. Believe me, you will be challenged. Several years ago, I decided to give this sport a try thinking that it would be a breeze. It was a very humbling experience at first. Old senior citizens were kicking my butt!! But I was determined to get better and soon after I became hooked on golf. Funny how a sport that seems so simple can be so difficult. Of all the sports that I have played in my life, golf required the least athletic ability, yet for me was the toughest to master, go figure!!

A new appreciation for police officers

About a week ago, a veteran police officer of the suburb which I live made what seemed to be a routine traffic stop. It was around the noon hour and the officer apparently saw some violation, perhaps speeding, so he pulled the vehicle over. Little did the officer know that the occupant of the vehicle was a guy with a long criminal record who a had warrant out for his arrest. Shortly after getting pulled over, the driver pulled down his window, shot the approaching officer 3 times, then sped away leaving the police officer laying dead in the street; a horrific crime which has shocked this community. The officer left behind a wife and 2 teenage daughters. In a split second, his life was over.

I have to admit that my fondness for law enforcement officers has never been really great. About 5 years ago, I got pulled over one night for going a whopping 7 mph over the speed limit in an out of town residential area. I assumed the speed limit in that area was the same as my neighborhood. The cop who pulled me over treated me like I was the worst criminal in the world! He had this attitude that really left a sour taste in my mouth. Fortunately, I was given a warning after pleading my case. Many of us have had the same run-ins with officers. Some cops seem to think that just because they wear a badge, they rule the earth. There are certainly many bad cops out there who abuse their power.

Last week’s incident gave me a dramatically view of what police officers actually go through. In the process, it has greatly changed my attitude towards all law enforcement personal. How many of you would like to go to a job where you run the risk of being shot? Being a police officer has to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. They are in constant danger wherever they go. Last week’s tragedy happened in an area where you would least expect something like that to happen. Every time an officer leaves for work and kisses his wife or husband goodbye, it might be the last time they ever see each other. So many of these police officers have loving families back home and the fact that they are doing a job with that type of danger is very commendable. These police and law enforcement officers are putting their lives in danger to PROTECT US!! They are not our enemies at all. A police officer who has the courage to go and apprehend some criminal is making our society, cities and towns a better place to live. We should respect them for what that. Imagine a society without any law enforcement personal? Bad guys would rule the earth and us innocent, law-abiding citizens would suffer.

The punk criminal who killed the police officer was later apprehended that night. It was a tip from a citizen which led to his capture. Law enforcement need our help in their work. We can be very valuable assistants to them with crucial info. So many crimes get solved through tips from everyday people like you and I. Whenever, I hear about a crime being committed, I consider it to be a direct hit against the type of society that I want to live in. If we believe in living in a peaceful society, we will all band together and help take the bad guys off the streets.

Sure cops can be a nuisance at times. Nobody likes to get a ticket for speeding and get lectured to, but we all need to realize that police officers are out to protect us, not harm us. If we break the law for speeding, it is our own fault. Our speeding may seem like a harmless thing, but we might be putting the lives of innocent people at risk. Someday, you might thank a cop for lecturing on speeding. He might have indirectly saved your life. If we all look at the big picture of why we have police officers, our attitudes might change dramatically like mine. Our country is a better place because of the bravery of many thousands of men and women who daily put their lives on the line to make this country a safer place to live. We owe them much gratitude. In the meantime, my condolences go out to the family of slain officer Scott Patrick. He certainly helped make my community a safer and more enjoyable place to live.