How Did We Get Here?

I was reading an article last night about home and personal protection and, after reading it, wondered how we have come to where we are now.

The Constitution never gave the Government the responsibility for your personal protection. It did, in the Preamble, determine to, “…establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty…”  We can use the phrase “promote general welfare” to justify a local police force but here again that does not necessarily include your personal protection and/or protection of your home and family; it promote the “general” welfare which I take to mean civil order.  It does make reference in Section 4 to offer protection against domestic violence, but the term “domestic violence” is open to interpretation.

Some see domestic violence, used in this context, as a total breakdown of civil order (which we see quite often these days) and others see this as the implementation and given authority of the local police force. I could write volumes on Section 4 alone but won’t, I know many would just stop reading because they don’t care and therein rests our most looming problem; resting comfortably I might add.

OK, I’m sure most are already bored with reading and I congratulate you for coming this far, so let’s get on with the premise here.

At what point did we relegate our right to protect our home, our families and ourselves to the police force? I submit that is not their responsibility; it is ours.  Home invasions are on the rise and you may think yourself immune from this atrocity; until you’re not.  In many of our cities home invasions are common place and I think it pertinent to say cities where home invasions and muggings are common place are also the cities with the strictest gun laws thereby disallowing the fundamental right of personal protection.

We have been lead to believe that the police force is our first line of defense, but they are not and our Law Enforcement Officers will agree with that assessment. If someone breaks into your home, or if someone pulls a gun and starts shooting in a public place the first line of defense is you.  As our world falls apart because of growing civil unrest, because of a growing disrespect for the common good, because of slanted local governments who pick and choose who to protect on any given day, because of an “entitlement mentality” and mainly because of a growing majority who feel it is the government’s responsibility to manage everything (to include their very lives) it has become even more important to cling to your right of personal protection.

1st line of defense

You are your own first line of defense.

 

The Police will be there to help you, but they will not be there fast enough; you are the first line of defense. Disavow that responsibility and you may regret it.  The only good thing here is you will only regret it for a very short time; from the time a criminal breaks in to the time it takes to kill you; perhaps a couple of minutes.  Which means the assistance afforded to you by the Police Force is reduced to stuffing your remains and the remains of your family into a body bag.

One last thing—the right of personal defense comes with significant responsibilities. It is your responsibility to become proficient in defending yourself and your home.  Carrying a gun (legal concealed carry) may be considered the 1st step, but in fact it’s like step 7 in the process.  What good is your weapon if you do not know how to use it under stressful conditions?  Popping off a few rounds at the range a couple times every year is not being proficient; that’s nothing more than… well, popping off a few rounds.  If you’re in a public place or in your home and someone draws a weapon with the intent to cause harm your first inclination would be to draw your own weapon—but drawing your weapon, depending on the scenario may not be your 1st priority—it might be your 2nd or 3rd required action.  You need to learn these things.  Learn them not and the bad guy just might shoot you with your own gun.  Plus, being armed is not your only nor is it your most important tool.

Want to know more? Good, that’s the 1st and best step to start with.  You can contact me and I can give you more… but don’t contact me unless you are serious about your own protection.  If you want to rely on the government to protect you then that is your right and you are welcome to it; just don’t get in my way when I protect my loved ones.

PS:  When was the last time you actually sat down and read the US Constitution? Not just looked at the 1st page or 2, but actually read it from cover to cover.  Read it yourself and you just might be surprised at what it says.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Some Mistakes are Worth Making

Follow US Route 16 (US 20 | SR 789) for 101 miles to US Route 26… that’s what the directions said. I had no reason to doubt the directions because I was the one who spent an untold number of hours creating the directions for the 2016 Hoka Hey Challenge.  Not to get too far ahead of the story I will tell you upfront the directions should have said something else.

So I turn left off of US Route 14 onto US Route 16/20 in Greybull, Wyoming and start my 101 mile stretch of this 10,000 mile endurance ride. About 37 miles into that stretch I came to Worland, Wyoming where US Route 16 headed east while US Route 20 continued southwest.  Since US Route 16 was the key identifier on the directions I turned left and continued on US Route 16.  Hindsight is 20/20 so, while creating the directions, I should have used Wyoming Route 789 as the key identifier because it was the common denominator for a number of specific route segments throughout this entire stretch of Wyoming.

Anyway, I follow US 16 the remaining 65 some odd miles and started to look for the next stretch of the route which was US Route 26 (SR 789 | W 2nd St).  The 65 mile marks comes and goes as does the 70 and 80.  It’s not uncommon for the miles to be off but to be off more than 10% should cause concern; which it did.  At about the 90 mile mark (almost to Buffalo, Wyoming) I stop for gas and pull out the map.

Strange how clear things become when you pull out a map. I’m looking for US 26 somewhere in the Buffalo, Wyoming area and it is not there; no big surprise I guess.  After a rather simple search I find it… about 155 miles from my current location; the other way.

This is the Hoka Hey Challenge which is distance and time… actually a great distance in a short amount of time. So any unnecessary deviation just adds miles to an already abundant number and adds time you cannot spare.  I got back on the bike and backtracked the 90 miles to Worland, Wyoming and got back on track.  I had just wasted roughly 200 miles and 5 hours of riding because of a mistake in the route; a mistake I made when I created the route.

This had the potential to make a person quite angry and doubly so for me since this was my mistake from the very beginning and all I could think about were all the other riders who made the same mistake. However, and this is where the story takes a twist, I was not angry at all (at least for my 200 miles and 5 hours; can’t really speak for the other 74 riders); I did not see the 200 miles as wasted at all.  I had just ridden through the southern part of Bighorn National Forest and while doing so saw the most spectacular scenery available in that area.  In fact, I got to see it twice; from both directions.

bighorn_pass

A Quick View of Bighorn Mountain Pass

 

We all make mistakes and often they are self-inflicted. In this instance my mistake affected me and virtually every rider participating in the 2016 Hoka Hey Challenge.  Many riders made the same mistake at that intersection and each one had me to blame for the extra miles, extra hours, wasted gas and added misery of freezing temperatures at the top of that mountain pass.  But, and this is the part I really want to convey to you, not a single rider I spoke with who made that mistake was angry at me; even though they knew it was my mistake.  Each one I spoke with enjoyed the ride and felt the same way I did about seeing a part of the country they would have missed had they not made the mistake.  I doubt they would have felt the same way had my mistake taken them an extra 200 mile off course in Death Valley; that’s just an assumption on my part.  I can’t speak for those I did not talk to as I am sure there may be some lying in wait to rain pain upon my body at the first opportunity and, in truth, it would be justified; so long as the injury had no long term affects.  And I also doubt those who made the mistake at night appreciated the opportunity provided by the extra 200 miles.

Not sure how this story should end. Suffice it to say the Hoka Hey rider is a rare type and not prone to hold a grudge or bicker over something as trivial as 200 miles, 5 hours, wasted gas and the added misery of freezing temperatures.  I guess that’s fortunate for me as this was not the only error in the directions.  One such error resulted in the demise of hundreds of rabbits… but that’s another story.

Posted in Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Riding a Motorcycle Dangerous?

Before I start I will say I am an avid rider and have been for years so it’s possible this collection of thoughts are biased. I’ll answer the question up front.  Is riding a motorcycle dangerous?  The answer is yes, but, if you ride you already knew that.

To prepare for this little narrative I did a considerable amount of research to determine the number and type of accidents and the cumulative nature of sustained injuries. Oddly enough each report I read contradicted the one before so, lucky for you, this chronicle will contain very few statistical facts, but will contain real data based on my years of riding experience.

There are a number of variables that make riding dangerous. The environment, road conditions, wildlife, other occupants on the highways, rider attitude and the attitude and driving habits of cagers to name a few.  An occurrence that will not blip on the radar screen of a cager will get the full attention of a rider.  For the benefit of all, a “cager” is any person in a car or truck; pretty much anything that is not a motorcycle—the car is your cage.

From a rider’s perspective the biggest danger is the distracted cager. You can dispute that if you like but the fact remains, from our perspective cagers are the most looming hazard to our riding experience.  If a rider wizzes by you on the street it is not because they want to go faster or show off, well, maybe for some, but for most of us it is because we want to get out of your blind spot; what we refer to as “the kill zone.”  We want to be as far away from you as possible because we know, right after you hit us, the first words out of your mouth will be, “But officer, I didn’t see’em!”

Most cagers, who is not a rider, will look around as they drive and acknowledge other cagers. Their brain is not geared to register a motorcycle; even if they look straight at it.  I’ve seen it time and time again.  I’ve had cagers look right at me, or at least in my direction, and pull right out in front of me.  They looked, but they did not see.  I cannot count the number of times a cager has pulled into my lane when I am right beside their window and surely within their peripheral vision.  They looked but they did not see.  I cannot count the number of times a cager in opposing traffic has turned left in front me.  They looked but they did not see.  You will drive and not notice other cagers talking/texting on the phone.  When I ride I know who is talking on the phone and they get my attention real fast because I know they have no concept of the danger they are inflicting on those around them.  It’s not your fault, you’re cagers and you can’t help it.  Well, actually you can.  You all know someone who rides whether it be a family member, friend or co-worker.  From this fact alone you should be able to surmise that, while in your cage, your family member, friend or co-worker is out there riding the same streets so take an extra second to really look, focus not only on other cagers but on motorcycles too.

texting

Yes, there are reckless riders out there, but there are reckless cagers too. The bad attitude that plagues some riders is the same attitude held by some cagers.  We are often our worst enemy.  But, it does not have to be that way.  Here’s a little game that will help us all.

While driving, count the number of motorcycles you see and give yourself points for each one. For every ten points you get, treat yourself to something you would otherwise deny yourself—like one of your favorite cookies.  When you reach 100 points then buy yourself that new thing you have been eyeing for weeks—or eat a whole box of cookies.  Do this for a week or two and your brain will be attune to motorcycles and you will never find yourself in a position to say, “But Officer, I didn’t see’em!”  The one you “don’t see” just before you hit them may be a family member, a friend or a co-worker.  The alternative is not something you will want to live with.

Posted in Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge, Just Thoughts, Solitary - Without The Confinement, Uncategorized, Zen and the Art of Group Riding | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Life’s Objectives

Ask anyone what their objective of life is and the number of different responses will equal the number of people you ask. Regardless of your objective, is it attainable? Who sets the mark for your goal and, when set, how difficult is it to attain? If you set an easy goal then it will be easy to attain. If you set a goal that is impossible to attain then the chances of reaching it are problematic.

If you set an easy goal, and it is easily reached, what then? Do you set another easy goal? If you reach your easy goal do you consider your life well spent? Do you become complacent with your accomplishments and relive the day over and over in your mind—feeding on past accomplishments?

If your goal is easy, but blocked by an unexpected obstacle do you set it aside—perhaps move your “meter” back to claim a false win or do you push on?

Easy goals are easy—impossible goals are not easy and can feed a desire to continually strive for the impossible; if you are so minded. Many of us will never change the world, but a few, that few who strive for the impossible, will sometimes change the world. At the very least you will change your little piece of it.

challenge

Never take the easy route—take the right route; which is always harder. The only reward for an easy accomplishment is that it was easy. On the hard road you will see and do things most cannot comprehend. Plus, if you stay focused you will see that the impossible is not that impossible after all; it’s only difficult.

Hoka Hey!

Posted in Just Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Like Gnats on a Fruit Farm

I’ve not written a blog article for a very long time; been busy. Lots of things rolling through my head that are screaming to get out; mainly dealing with the condition of our society. Sadly, articles about the condition of our society are flying about like gnats on a fruit farm and it appears, at quick glance, nobody cares. I know this is not the case. There are a plethora of people how care and who want to do something about it. The question is, “What do you do?”

Depending on which side of the issue you speak from you could be labeled a phobic or a racist or worse. If someone agrees with you they want you for president, if they disagree they might want you dead.

Regardless of which side you are on, the condition of our society is known to you; we all see the same thing. How you perceive and articulate what you see is another question; one I will not now or ever try to answer. Any answer would either have me on the rolls as yet another presidential candidate or number one on someone’s list of yet one more person in need of termination. I for one think the condition of our society is due to decades of abuse of freedoms. With freedom comes great responsibility and we have shirked our responsibility.

It will require divine intervention to fix this nation. If that intervention comes it will only be due to the grace of God, not due to anything we have done. If divine intervention does not come then we will only get what we deserve.

Posted in Just Thoughts | Leave a comment

The Evil That Was The Holocaust—Where Did It Go?

For a number of years I have been fascinated by the Holocaust that played itself out under the rule of the Third Reich during WWII. Not fascinated in an entertainment sort of way but rather a curiosity of how something like this could have evolved from a seemingly civilized nation. There are a plethora of books, movies, documentaries and articles (both fictional and non-fictional accounts) on the subject. I doubt any tell the real story of the horror that was so widespread and claimed the lives of millions of people.

Holocaust3

Only two of the 6,000,000 murdered.

At the height of the Third Reich’s glory days there were more than 20,000 concentration camps. There are names of these places that anyone with just a bit of education recognize instantly—Auschwitz, Dachau, Sobibor and Treblinka to name a few. In actuality many of these camps were not just a single facility but a series of camps. Auschwitz had a number of satellite facilities like Birkenau, Blechhammer, Gleiwitzi, Janinagrube, Jaworzno, Monowitz, Kattowitz and a number of others. Dachau had Kaufering and Landberg as well as a few other satellite facilities. Suffice it to say if you see the name of one camp there are two or three others associated with it that you are not aware of. The killing machine had been honed to efficiency and perfection by the German War Machine.

death_camps

For every camp known to history there were a number of other camps less infamous, but no less brutal.

Many believe these camps were constructed and initiated operations as WWII kicked off in 1939 but many opened their doors as early as 1933 (Dachau, the 1st concentration camp, opened March 22nd, 1933) and as time progressed, and as people accepted the lunacy that was the Third Reich, they turned into the horror camps that was the Holocaust. I should mention here it was in 1933 that the German people elected to give total control to the madman who was Hitler. Many of these camps were liberated toward the end of WWII by the Allied Forces in the early months of 1945, but many were, prior to being overrun by Allied Forces, liquidated. Meaning every person held there were exterminated and the camp burned to the ground in an effort to remove any semblance of existence or evidence. So twisted and perverse was this desire to kill that even after all knew the war was lost to Germany the killing machine continued expending what little resources remained to facilitate the mass murder of millions.

These camps were categorized by the Nazi henchmen for specific purposes. Some were forced labor camps, some were nothing more than holding centers and others had the distinct purpose of annihilation. If, while serving at the labor camps and could no longer work or were deemed unnecessary, you were sent to one of the special camps that specialized in death—like Auschwitz-Birkenau, Sobibor, Treblinka, Chelmno or Belzec (all in Poland). Prisoners of war, political prisoners or anyone who did not think along the lines of a good Nazi were sent to labor camps and had only a slight hope of survival. Others, like the Jews, homosexuals, Gypsies, Serbs, Jehovah’s Witnesses, mentally infirm, the elderly and select others (considered “anti-social” i.e. beggars and vagrants) were sent to an extermination camp as they had no place in the Third Reich. From 1932 on Jews (and others) were discriminated against and eventually measures were initiated that pushed discrimination to a new level—the systematic extermination of the Jews (Endlosung – The Final Solution) started in the Soviet Union in 1941. There was even a very specific formula to determine if you were to be considered a Jew—and of course, if you were considered a Jew you were destined for one of the extermination camps. Even if you did not meet the definition of a Jew, as outlined by the Nazi formula, but had a trace of Jewish blood you were categorized as Mischlinge (a hybrid) and met with discrimination commensurate to the level of Jewish blood. Eventually, those considered to be First Degree Mischlinge (two Jewish Grandparents) were deported to the death camps. An estimated total of 11 million people were murdered in the German death camps.

It is believed the Nazi Party did not initially have an overt plan to exterminate Jews or “undesirables” but it can be inferred from his writings and speeches that Hitler wanted this from the beginning, but as a Government, the Nazi Party did not act on Hitler’s desires until they were sure there would be no revolt from the German population.

“In the course of my life I have very often been a prophet, and have usually been ridiculed for it. During the time of my struggle for power it was in the first instance only the Jewish race that received my prophecies with laughter when I said that I would one day take over the leadership of the State, and with it that of the whole nation, and that I would then among other things settle the Jewish problem. Their laughter was uproarious, but I think that for some time now they have been laughing on the other side of their face. Today I will once more be a prophet: if the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevizing of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!” Adolf Hitler – January 30, 1939

Holocaust1

Millioins were executed for no other reason that they were Jewish or did not abide by the Nazi party line.

By 1941, after two years of a war they were winning, and with the implementation of a massive propaganda effort, the German people were complacent and content to let the Nazi Party do as they saw fit—regardless of what that might be. Whereas there were pockets of German and other European citizens (small groups and individuals) who worked against the Nazi Party and their Final Solution, there is no evidence of a national movement to stop the killing. In fact, the majority, either directly or indirectly, whether wittingly or unwittingly, worked to further the Nazi agenda.  At the very least they did nothing to stop it.

The annihilation of undesirables was a subtle subject in the German schools. A typical math question demonstrates this subtle tactic, “The construction of a lunatic asylum costs 6 million marks. How many houses at 15,000 marks each could have been built for that amount?” You can infer from that what you wish, but the fact remains the Nazi machine began a euthanasia program on the sick and disabled in October 1939. In a letter from the Chief of Institution for the Feeble-Minded to Dr. Frank, the Reich Minister of Justice it was stated, “…in an efficient nation there should be no room for weak and frail people.” Several times a week a bus would arrive at the facility in Hadamar with a number of “feeble-minded” people and later the smoke would rise out of the chimney.

hadamar

The Hadamar Eqthanasia Centre was one of six facilities that performed mass sterilizations and mass murder of “undesirable” members of German society, specifically those with physical and mental disabilities.

Local school children knew what was going on and tease each other by saying, “…you’re crazy; you’ll be sent to the baking oven in Hadamar…” What was going on was a known fact throughout occupied Europe and it was accepted as the norm by most.

You can dissect the events from 1932 thru 1934 that gave Hitler total control and allowed him to pursue his perverse plan, and the subsequent events up through May of 1945, but it all comes down to the fact that the Nation of Germany allowed this to happen. So, can we lay complete blame on Hitler and his henchmen? No. Soon after becoming Chancellor in 1932, Hitler called for a new election and used a massive propaganda machine to demonstrate to the German people that he was their only hope for a new and prosperous Germany—he promised “change” after the economic crash of the late 1920’s and early 30’s. This election was won because 8 percent of the votes offered, a vote that opened the door to the Holocaust and hurled the world into war, was provided by conservative Germans. This led to Hitler’s full use of the Sturmabteilung (S.A., Storm Troopers), the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo), the Schutzstaffel (SS, Protection Squad), the Sicherheitsdienst des ReichsfuhrersSS (S.D., Security Service of the SS) and ultimately the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing groups each containing several commando units) whose sole purpose was to travel the country side and exterminate Jews wherever they might be. These organizations, and others like them, ran the camps and collected the occupants to fill the camps, the gas chambers and the crematoriums. The sickness and perverse nature of the men (and women) who filled the ranks of these organizations could move about and initiate any atrocity without fear of retribution from a government that claimed to serve the people—that is people who met a specific identity and mindset. What is said to be unique about Hitler’s “Final Solution” was the determination to murder, without exception, every Jew who were unfortunate enough to be within their grasp, with a fervent fanaticism, ingenuity, efficiency and cruelty. Sonderbehandlung (special treatment) was reserved for the Jewish population and from captivity to the application of “special treatment” the life of a Jew was intolerably brutal—and often very short.

So, back to the original question, “where did the evil that was the Holocaust come from and where did it go?”

The answer, “it has always been here and it is still here.” I’ve heard people say something along the lines of, the Holocaust was a very unique thing and could never happen again, because we are much more civilized now—but that is such a lie. (I should also mention here there are those who are pushing an agenda to have the Holocaust of the Third Reich removed from history since they claim it never happened.) Let’s look at some not so distant historical facts. The annihilation of the Native American in the 1800s and 1900s – in fact, although subtle, this practice continues today. The prisoner of War camps of the Civil War—Andersonville in the South and Rock Island in the North. The extermination of millions by Pol Pot’s Red Khmer in Cambodia (1975-1979), the Stolen Generations in Australia (1910-1970’s), the Sudan (1955-1972 and again 1983-2005), the Brazilian Indian Genocide (1957-1968), Rwanda (1962-1963 and again in 1983), Uganda (1971-1979), Sri Lanka (1983-2009), North Korea (1990’s to Present), Darfur (2003-Present) and Syria (2011-Present). All of these events took place with the approval (or the lack of disapproval) of a government and people of influence of that nation. Sadly these listed are just a few of recent “events” of civilized societies acting on a thought that one group of people are better than another and therefore have the right to exterminate those they deem unfit or not in line with accepted philosophies.

Holocaust2

This caption could read “Nazi Germany” or it could read “anywhere” so long as there is a complacent population that will allow it to happen.

The evil that was the Holocaust is ever present and all it takes is for good people to allow it. All it takes is a twisted leader, with the support of a few henchmen and the blind eye of a nation and the Holocaust will play itself out at anytime, anywhere. And yes, even in the United States. History will repeat itself over and over again. The first step that opens the door to a Holocaust is the thought that it could never happen here.

Posted in Just Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

1001, 1002, 1003

Originally posted to the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge Blogspot on May 6th, 2015.

The time it took for you to read the title of this blog, roughly 3 seconds, is all the time needed to lose your life. A couple of years ago I was in Rapid City, SD headed to Hot Springs to visit with Jim & Beth of Hoka Hey fame and was setting at an intersection waiting for the light to turn green. A rider passed through the intersection and he looked toward me and nodded his head as to say, “Hey, how’s it going?” That was all the time needed for the car in front of him to stop and he rode into the back of the car.

Distracted rider

All it took was a brief second of distraction…

His injuries were minimal, but the bike needed to go to the shop for repair. While waiting on the police to show up we talked and I learned he was a rider with years of experience and this was his first mishap. The split second it took for him to look at me was all the time it took for the convergence of unfortunate circumstances to meld together and result in an accident.

Riding is risky business and we, as riders, are responsible for reducing that risk as best we can. Most assuredly during those years of riding he had, as we all have, allowed his attention to be diverted for a second or two while acknowledging someone while riding or take a few extra seconds to look at the scenic view to the left or right. But, in previous instances other variables did not enter into the mix, like the car stopping unexpectedly or a deer dashing out to get to the other side of the highway.

We rely on our riding skill and experience to stay between the ditches and to keep the shiny side up while we ride. These are important for sure, but I think attitude and focused attention are more important. Call me rude if you like, but I will never wave at an oncoming rider while I’m in city traffic. I assume every car within 100 feet of me is ready to implement a well-developed plan to run me down and then take a selfie over my lifeless body. We have all had close calls with cagers and the only reason we lived through it was because we were 100% focused on the task at hand and evaded the assault. What happens when that “close call” presents itself during that short span of seconds when we are momentarily distracted by some inconsequential thing?

Stay focused, stay alert and always ride as if everyone is out to get you. It’s a strong bet they are indeed looking for an opportunity for the perfect selfie and your lifeless body would make a fine backdrop. Don’t give them the opportunity.

Posted in Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment