Thomas Sullivan, Squire “Skip” Wells, David Wyatt, Carson Holmquist, Randall Smith

Read those names again, please. Those are the names you probably don’t know. We’ve certainly heard enough about Mohammad Abdulazeez to know his name by heart now, but few of us know the names of the soldiers we lost in the Chattanooga terrorist attack. Those are the names that should live on in our memories, in our thoughts, and that should be blasted across the media. Sadly, few of us will remember them tomorrow or next week. We aren’t likely to forget the name of the 24 year old that killed them though. If this is you, as it was me, you should feel ashamed. Write them down and remember them. They deserve it.

Now, move on. It’s important that we do move on. It’s important for us as people and it’s important for us as a country.

It’s important because we are becoming a country full of victims, a fact that is both due to our own increasingly volatile nature as well as the nature of our headline-hungry media.

I’m going to share a few things with you and I hope you’ll take a moment to let them sink in. Maybe they’ll change our collective perspective and maybe not, but I have to try.

I’ve spent significant time in Islamic countries. While not having lived or worked in all of them, I’ve been through a few and spent a little over two and a half years immersed in the culture while I worked in Libya. We lived in a Muslim country, shopped at Muslim stores, trained Muslim engineers, had dinner in Muslim homes… made Muslim friends. I have a perspective gained independent from the media, a perspective gained through experience. Maybe that little bit of perspective is what makes me sickened by what I see and hear in the responses of Americans since the attack in Tennessee.

Let’s be clear about a few things:

  1. The killer was a sick and twisted individual.

That’s it. That’s the only fact we know aside from the crime scene information and I won’t bother to rehash that here. That’s usually all we know for sure.

I’ve read the news these last few days, unable to avoid the headlines when they pop up, seeing the hate and the vitriol that we spout about Muslims and Islam. It makes me ashamed to know some of you come from the same country as I do. Because in fact, you really don’t. You come from this place of hate and supremacy that isn’t what America was ever about. We’ve never been that. We are Americans. We are the best in the world. At least we should be. That standard is inclusive of our moral compass, our compassion for others, and our desire to go out and do good in the world, not just to have the best fighter jets and the most badass military on the face of God’s earth. It means more than that and people today are forgetting that. Newsflash folks: You’re letting the bad guys win!

Why people would rather blame an entire country or an entire religion for the acts of a single psychotic individual is beyond me. We sit here at home, within our own borders, and can’t understand why other countries don’t like us, and say things like “Death to America” or “Kill the Infidels” and then when one man goes off his rails, we do the same thing? It’s shameful.

Islam didn’t kill those five service members. Muslims didn’t kill them either. One psycho terrorist did it.

I’ve heard and been part of the back-yard discussions on terrorism, anti-Muslim sentiment, and the like, just like a majority of us probably have when we’re sitting at home backyard-quarterbacking US global politics.

“Kill the Americans” makes us angry and want to lash out and then one day later we’re chomping at the bit to deport all Muslims, kill everyone holding a Quran, and then we wonder why they are coming to hate us – as a culture.

Muslim countries have no equivalent of Hollywood. They really don’t. Their television and radio are thirty years behind our own. They DO, however, have access to American television and especially American news outlets. Whether ISIS will, in the end, have been found to have anything to do with this or not, this isn’t the fault of ISIS. It’s not there fault anymore than it is when we blame Christianity when one individual proclaiming to be Christian stands up with a rebel flag, a white sheet, and says “America is for the Whites. Kill all the n——! Bring back White power. This is a White man’s country!” That’s not Christianity’s fault and it’s not the fault of the confederate battle flag. It’s the fault of a sick and twisted individual, yet we seem so Hell-bent on blaming entire countries, entire races of people, for the sins of individuals.

Can you not sit back and see how crazy that sounds when you actually think about it? For some reason we find it hard to believe that ONE person might be simply crazy and messed up. In the same breath we can find it completely believable to think that millions of people that look like that person are actually out to kill us all?

Back to being victims. Ok, so I said earlier we are becoming a country of victims. It’s true. We are. Certainly, somewhere in the world right now, a couple of psycho Islamic terrorists are raising a glass and singing the praises of this killer. What do you expect? They’re sick and twisted people. Likewise here in our own country, there’s probably a newsletter published amongst the KKK whenever a white man kills a black man. They raise a drink and probably say “One more N—– down, a few more million to go.” Those people are sick, and they have an agenda, and the crap we’re doing at home right now just furthers it.

You want to take away the power of ISIS and other groups to hurt Americans? Fine. Don’t become a victim. Don’t let them make us a scared people. That’s all they want anyway.

You’re not scared? Bullshit. You’re just angry? No, you’re NOT angry. You’re scared. You’re scared because you can’t see it coming, because you can’t defend against crazy and you want to lash out at SOMEONE to make a statement to show how strong you are/we are. That’s scared. That’s what mean dogs do. That’s what bullies do. It’s actually an apt analogy now that I think about it. We really are becoming a nation scared pack-animals that feel shoved into a corner, ready to bite anything and everything that comes at us. THAT is what terrorists want. That is EXACTLY what they want. They want to strike fear into the hearts of Americans.

Does that mean we shouldn’t go out, pick up a gun (and then learn how to use it) and carry one to protect ourselves? Not at all. Do it. Be responsible for increasing your own personal safety. Does that mean we don’t question people about their motives when things look askew? Not at all. If you see something dodgy, call the cops. Be vigilant. But don’t be a scared victim crying in the corner of your mental closet, holding a loaded proverbial gun, ready to shoot whatever opens the door. Don’t be a victim.

Be an American!

Being an American is hard. It’s supposed to be! If being the symbol of what the rest of the world should aspire to be was easy, everyone would already be there and America wouldn’t be the country everyone was flocking to and turning to when they need aid. Being an American means holding your head up high. It means we mourn our dead.

We should mourn them in a way that honors their memory and in a way that increases the light we shine into the world, not a way that diminishes it. If we want to combat terrorism at home, we need to throw a parade. Every state in America should have a memorial parade. Five US Service members were killed. That is a tragedy beyond measure, for those families, for those that knew them, and for the rest of us that won’t ever get the chance to.

Our response should be fanfare, not fear. Our response should be to stand up a statue in the center of town, with a plaque dedicated to each name that died that day. And then we stand in lines hundreds and thousands deep. We should stand there with our kids, our wives, our elderly parents. We should salute every service member we see, hug them, thank them for their service, and we should mean every word of it. And then we should blast THAT image across the world media.

“America stands strong after latest attack.”

“America comes together in the face of tragedy.”

“City streets clogged and businesses shut down because of the ever-growing mass of supporters appearing to lay flags at the new memorial of recently deceased US Soldiers.”

We should do this for two reasons:

First, we should do it because that’s who we are, damnit. We WERE that America, and if we ever want to be worthy of wearing that mantle again, of retaining our greatness to the world, it’s in the hands of our people, not our politics to do it. Politics is a discussion for another day. It’s not a discussion for today. Today is a day for celebration; celebration for accomplishments in the lives of those five service members, and celebration in the coming together of Americans for the simple sake of saying “We’re here for each other.”

Secondly, we should do it because NOTHING flies is the face of terrorism like courage. Nothing would absolutely and completely piss off every terrorist on the planet than to see three hundred-thousand Americans singing “America the Beautiful” over and over in a small town square until our voices were hoarse.

Then…..

When it is done….

Every man and woman that attends should take their little flags, those little eight inch flags we purchase on little sticks… we should wipe our tears on them. We should kiss the flag and hold it to our hearts. Then we take those flags, and as we file out to return to our lives, we should deposit them in a box held by a United States military pilot. We should, every one of us, pat him on the shoulder as we walk past. We should every single one salute him as we file out to return to our lives, drive back to our states, go back to our homes.

And then…

The United States should spend a few hundred thousand dollars in fuel…. and we should pack those flags into the bellies of US Military Aircraft. We should fly that aircraft with as much military fighter support as it takes to do it safely, I don’t care if it takes every fighter jet on deck of the nearest gulf carrier… and we should fly over those places where the REAL terrorists are. We should fly right over the worst of them, open the belly of that plane and send millions of tiny little United States Flags falling to the earth over the heads of our enemies. Someone will pick them up. When they do, the tear stains of some lady from Tennessee will be there. The lipstick of a grandmother that kissed her flag before depositing it in that box will be there, stained onto the fabric of our National symbol of Unity. The cotton-candy stickiness of the hands of the eight year old little boy that held that flag will still cling to the handle of some of them – a boy that waved it because his mom and dad told him to – because that’s what Americans do. That boys flag will be there. My flag will be there. They won’t be visible but it will be forever stained with my own tears.

Hell, I  can’t see through my own tears now to write this…

We should spread those flags across the places on the earth where evil hides.

And then they will know – the glory that is the American spirit. They will know it can never be quenched, never be put out, never be tamped down. It can only ever be made hotter, be made stronger – forged in the fires of our determination to be the shining symbol we used to be.  And more importantly… they will know…

They will know we are coming.

They will know we see them running from their hovels in the third world. They will know we know where they are and that we are slowly but inexorably coming. They will wonder at every sighting in the sky of aircraft if that will be the day – the day we come for them.

THIS… this is how we should answer every terrorist attack ever made on America…

 

We are Americans. If we want to fight, we fight. If we want to win, we don’t talk about it, we do it. If our elected officials won’t pick up the ball and do it for us, we have a very simple response, a very simple way to instill fear in them too – after all, if they don’t fight for us, then they fight against us and they need to be replaced with those that will; immediately and forthwith.  If our leadership does nothing, then one by one, car by car, we fill the streets of DC.

We say nothing. No words will be necessary. Don’t speak. Don’t resist.

Simply find a comfortable spot. Bring a chair. Bring a picnic lunch. Bring a flag. Skip school for a day. Let your kids miss history class for a day. Their attendance at an event of this proportions will be in the history books one day and they will have been part of it.

Stand there at the gates of our Capitol. Stand there hundreds of thousands strong. Say nothing. Do nothing. Salute every service member you see. Help every old lady you see on the street. Hold your flag and do nothing.

When someone comes out, whomever they are, stand and salute with your right hand and hold your flag with your left.

When they say “Why are you here?”

You sing…. O beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain….

Hold your flag.

You can think what you want from home, but know this. No force on earth would dare defy two or three million Americans standing together, holding the United States Flag, singing the National Anthem.

The message would get through.

If we do this, if even ONE town, ONE city, ONE state would start something like this in response to terrorism, the terrorist agenda would be crushed in less than one month.

If it starts, ever…. I will go. I will join you. My family will join you. My friends will join you. We can be the strongest nation in the world, and it’s easy. Show the world what we mean. Show our leaders we mean business and that We The People have spoken…. and we’d never have to say a word to accomplish it.

That’s not exactly true.. we’d have to sing a little… we’d cry a little… but we’d be the America that no politician, no foreign government, no terrorist could ever face without the full knowledge that we will not be trifled with.

That, dear readers, wherever you are, is how we remember Thomas Sullivan, Squire “Skip” Wells, David Wyatt, Carson Holmquist, and Randall Smith


3 thoughts on “Thomas Sullivan, Squire “Skip” Wells, David Wyatt, Carson Holmquist, Randall Smith

  1. Beautiful write up. And you’re right–spot on, 100%. That is EXACTLY how America should respond. We’ve lost our spines in favor of playing the victim card. And it’s only getting worse.

    America needs to learn NOT to be ashamed of being American.

    If a rally is planned, I will be there. My wife will be there. My six year old daughter will be there. I may not can sing worth a DAMN, but SOMEONE has to be off key, yeah?

  2. Well written! A couple questions:

    If this is about “a sick and twisted individual.”, why are you making the post about Islam, Patriotism, and the American Military? That seems a cognitive disconnect between cause and effect.

    Sticking with that one fact, with which I concur, and recalling other similar cases, we know that
    sick and twisted individuals commit mass murders in this country on a scale unparalleled in other countries. We know a sick and twisted individual (not a confederate flag) walked into a church with a gun obtained illegally by his father, through an error of the FBI, and killed 9 people. We know another sick and twisted individual walked into a school in Sandy Hook and killed 27 people after he shot his mother, who purchased the gun for this sick and twisted person (who she knew unequivocally was sick and twisted).

    Though your point about Islam is well made, and your point about not being scared is also well made, neither do anything to stem the pile of real victims stacking up in this country at the hands of sick and twisted people.

    So, I wonder, given your own insightful musings on what not to be distracted by (Islamophobia, fear, etc.) it strikes me as odd that you end up in a place of distraction – that is…not solving the problem you begin by discussing : “Sick and twisted people”. Do you have thoughts on how to address the root cause problem?

    It seems that a connection to the root cause, and a focus on the root cause, and discussions about the root cause, between all these common cause incidents, will do far more to levee the incoming tide of Red Herring explanations and emotions than jumping on to a red white and blue boat and floating amongst them.

  3. You bring up a good point, John. I didn’t intend to write a post on America or Patriotism. The post just went there. And after it was already there, I considered breaking it apart into another post, but that seemed as if it would cause even more cognitive dissonance, so I left it as is.

    In the end, there IS no solution for sick and twisted people. They can’t be legislated. They’re sick and twisted. They can’t be genetically screened for. They can’t be screened for on an on-going basis without sacrificing the rights of the rest of humanity. There is no fix for sick people.

    As to how the two points come together, maybe there is a better way to write it, but I’ve not thought of it yet.

    Last month, a psycho killed nine people. They happened to be black. Because that one guy hated blacks, we are in a reignited race discussion on a national level, which we shouldn’t be.

    The agencies that exist to feed off that kind of hatred thrive during times like this; the NAACP, ACLU, and the like, as do organizations like the KKK that once again find themselves back in the news.

    What that kid did was terrorism. No doubt about it. He was a terrorist that murdered nine people.

    What the OTHER man did (I won’t even do him the service of mentioning his name further) was sick and twisted too. He killed five US Military personnel – an act of cowardice and sickness that I can’t even fathom.

    However, regardless of what the roots of problems like these are, the goverment and the media will never let that discussion be had. I mean, really… the President is never going to have the stones to come on National Television and simply talk about it.. it won’t happen with this President.

    Instead we have a nation that is getting riled up more by the day, and let’s face it: terrorism is the conversation of the day here in America. It has been for the last fourteen years; a fact that has shaped us into what we are today.

    Can you imagine the next generation that’s come behind us? For us adults, it’s news and we discuss it from a retrospective standpoint, able to see past the media crap for the most part. For our kids.. anyone born since about 1999 or so- they have grown up in the age where all they hear is America is under attack from Terrorism. We hide in our homes, buy more guns, hate all Muslims, fear Islam, riot in the streets and beat people because of their religion. That’s the America they are growing up in. They have no concept of what the REAL America is like. Hell, very few of US even do any more, too many of us having chosen to forget the ideals we stand for and instead joining the hate-speech.

    So I don’t believe there is a cure for the sick and twisted people out there. Just kill them as they are found and try to move on. That’s all that can be done. When a dog is rabid and attacks for no reason, you put it down. It’s the same with the sick,twisted people of the world. You feel sorry for them, put them down, and you move on. You don’t change your culture to try to make them all integrate better with the rest of us.

    Anyway, as to where the second line of thinking came from – it came from the first. That’s where my mind went. It’s where my heart went. We are a nation that complains we can’t do anything. We scream for change, but we never Do anything about it. I simply proposed a very simple, non-violent way to DO something – to SHOW solidarity, to SHOW our government we mean what we say and demand that they fight for our collective will. I proposed a way to show the world the same thing.

    Terrorism does exist and things like this recent massacre aren’t the first and they most surely will NOT be the last. How do we react next time?

    When someone kills Americans and then it turns out he’s Muslim, the ISIS an AQ of the world – they celebrate. They claim victory. When they see the headlines of rioting in our streets, our nations politicians name calling, flags coming down, Anti-Muslim sentiment rising, it simply fuels their fires.

    I just propose that we stop being victim of ANY kind of terrorism, remove the power of terrorism from our country and STAND instead of cowering like we’ve done these last few years.

    If the politicians won’t listen, then WE stand instead. We demand. We do it silently, with reverence for those that have died needlessly, and when confronted we wave our flags, sing our anthems, and simply stand there… until SOMEONE does something.

    There really would be absolutely no choice. A couple thousand people standing around Washington means a new story on the third page, probably not even picked up overseas. A couple hundred-thousand…. ok that gets the front page in a few places. Occupy wallstreet was a decent idea screwed up from it’s beginning, but it’s actions spoke loudly. One million, two million, three million Americans standing in the Nations Capitol, clogging highways, ceasing all traffic in and out until the nation’s leaders are forced to open the window and look out for themselves, seeing nothing but miles of red, white, and blue… can you imagne the impact?

    No need to poll, Mr. President. No need to form a committee Mr. Speaker. There are a few million Americans out there waving old glory and singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic and they don’t seem to be dispersing….

    News? That’s not news. That’s CHANGE.

    We talk about fighting the war on terror and how we’d like to end it, bring our troops home, stop fighting useless wars for other people. Fight one for ourselves. If all you had to do to save America was stand and hold a flag and add your voice to the thrumming multitude of millions, the ring of patriotism for the USA would shatter anything that stood in its path.

    Politician/Policeman “You have to disperse. You have to go home!”

    We The People: “Oh beautiful, for spacious skies…

    Politician: “This isn’t how we do things. You’re not helping…”

    We The People: “… for amber waves of grain…

    Politician: “We can’t have this in our streets!”

    We The People” ….for purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plains!”

    The news anchor on television: “The crowds here aren’t seeming to go anywhere.. we can’t seem to.. it’s too loud.. we can’t.. back to you in the studio..”

    We The People” AMERICA! AMERICA! GOD SHED HIS GRACE ON THEE! AND CROWN THY GOOD WITH BROTHERHOOD FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA!!”

    John,
    It could be done…
    And if it WAS done.. it WOULD work.
    America herself, her people, of all ages, colors, races, religions would instantly shatter the hold the politicians and media have placed on our collective opinions. They would report… not make up the facts. They would have no choice. There would be no denying it.

    We could end ALL of these discussions… race war, religious war, entitlement… all we have to do is stand there. Wave our flags. Sing.

    Can you imagine the story that would be written in the history books of that day? That week?

    I can see the news now…. “Racial hatred is strong in the…” lost… lost in hundreds of millions of tweets, facebook posts, instagram pictures of American’s standing there, black beside white, Muslim beside Christian beside Athiest.. because we all had something more important to say. “We are America and we are NOT scared. We are NOT intimidated. We are NOT cowed.”

    If we could do that… we could show OURSELVES, that we have the power affect our OWN change.. our OWN betterment of humanity..and we don’t need generations to do it. We don’t need lobbyists to do it. We don’t need politicians to do it…

    We. The. People.
    Could do it…

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