Tag Archives: national

Land of the Fearful; Home of the Meek

Three news articles, one new & the others a bit older, all highlighting how far our country has drifted from the ethic with which it began.

Story one, courtesy of National Post:

A young lifeguard in Florida has lost his job after rescuing a drowning man in a section of beach he was not assigned to patrol, local news media reported Wednesday.

Tomas Lopez, 21, was manning his post on Hallandale Beach, north of Miami, on Monday afternoon when a beach-goer alerted him to a swimmer struggling in an “unprotected” part of the beach.

“It was a long run, but someone needed my help. I wasn’t going to say no,” said Lopez, quoted by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper and WFOR television on their websites.

By the time Lopez arrived, witnesses had pulled the drowning man out of the water. Lopez and an off-duty nurse helped him until paramedics arrived. The victim survived and was hospitalized.

When Lopez went to file an incident report, he was fired for going 500 meters out of his assigned area.

“We have liability issues and can’t go out of the protected area,” explained a supervisor for the private contractor that supplies lifeguards for Hallandale Beach…….

Super: “Don’t save the drowning guy“. Was this lifeguard supposed to simply let this man die, when he had the ability and training to save him? Has life been so cheapened in our society that it is to be tossed away indiscriminately, in order to guard against a higher insurance premium?

The second item happened late last year, and is from Fox10TV.com:

Eric Henderson was unemployed for two straight years before getting a job at a Circle K in Pensacola. Henderson said he’s been working as a sales clerk for the last 4 months.

And the job was going smoothly until three robbery suspects showed up. “She starts yelling shoot him, shoot him!” said Henderson. Before the suspects had a chance to shoot, Henderson said he saw an opportunity to take the gun from 25-year-old Verna Sealey. “I grabbed her around the neck and slammed her on the ground and grabbed the gun in both my hands,” Henderson said.

Henderson said Circle K’s policy states clerks are not to provoke, chase or engage a robber. When managers saw the footage of Henderson fighting back, he said they fired him.

“I don’t recommend anybody to put your life in danger, but in my opinion this clerk had an opportunity. He obviously felt like he was in danger and he saw an opportunity to save himself,” Detective Dylan Stackpole said. Now, Henderson is back at square one and looking for a job.

Even though he may have saved his life, he lost his job.

There was a time, not that long ago, when such heroics would get you a commendation, maybe even a key to the city in some towns. It would definitely not have gotten you fired!

Welcome to the new America, gang.

This third account is also from last year, but this time it was 4 folks from store security who decided to think for themselves. When things went wrong, they assessed the situation and all came to the same conclusion. At this point, you can guess how that turned out. From KSL.com:

The shoplifter smashed Gabriel Stewart up against a wall. It didn’t take him long to realize that pressure against his lower back was from a loaded gun held by a desperate man who didn’t want to go to jail.

The gunman had a firm grip on Stewart’s shoulder, telling him and three of his Wal-Mart co-workers, “Don’t make me do this.”

“Absolutely, time stopped,” Stewart told KSL News. “I didn’t know what to do.”

Instantly, Shawn Ray and Justin Richins kicked into gear, spinning the gunman around. Lori Poulsen ripped the gun away and secured it. They all held onto the man until police arrived minutes later.

The four Layton Wal-Mart employees felt it was mission accomplished. Police officers told them they had done everything right.

But a week later, all four were fired from their jobs. Wal-Mart said their actions had violated company policy and put their fellow workers and shoppers at risk.

—–

All three of these incidents have people acting in a heroic manner, either out of bravery, concern for others or just self-preservation. When did this become objectionable? The answer, of course, is that now we are supposed to be timid, mild-mannered sheep, who turn a blind eye to people in need or even to our own safety. We aren’t supposed to question authority, even when that authority is nowhere to be found.

These incidents dovetail with our post the other day concerning the Homeland Security training program (“RUN & HIDE“). There, as in the examples above, we are told:  “Submit. Wait. Whatever you do, don’t act.” I’m sure that none of us want to see someone risk their life or break rules needlessly, but in all of these situations a higher action was called for. These people should be praised, not punished!

I have no idea if I’d exhibit the same bravery that these folks did in a similar situation; I pray that I would. Such instincts being stamped out of existence by our increasingly politically correct, overly docile culture is a sin. America was founded by men and women of action who braved the wilderness, taking their families across mountains and prairies in search of opportunity. Self-reliance has been a hallmark of the American Ideal for hundreds of years. Without rugged individualism, we wouldn’t even exist.

Do we not remember 9/11? Has that day already been banished from our national consciousness, only to be trotted out once a year for a few flag-waving ceremonies? Four planes were turned into missiles, with the goal of killing both passengers and thousands of other innocents. But ONE plane, Flight 93, avoided that fate. There, courageous men overpowered their captors and caused the plane to dive into a field, saving countless lives in the process. These men were heroes of the highest caliber.

What does it say about us when that same spirit, the lone bright spot of an otherwise horrific day, is being systematically eradicated?

—–

When I imagine this sniveling passivity taking an ever-increasing hold of our great nation, only one thing seems certain to me: no one is ever going to write a book or a movie of someone’s heroic submission to superior forces. And I very much doubt we’ll read a thrilling, inspiring account in a future history lessonof the man who stood idly by, watching, while an innocent person died.

Whenever we observe such nonsense being spewed, we need to do all in our power to confront it. We can’t keep averting our own eyes when we see such idiocy praised as wisdom or enlightenment.

A country is only as strong as its citizens. We need to stand up and be strong again, not be “tsk-tskd” into acquiescence.

We’re not fighting this battle by ourselves, after all. We’re not the only ones observing parts of our heritage being turned on their head. There are countless millions of stalwart Americans who still think for themselves, yet feel they are in the minority now. A decade ago Glenn Reynolds described the “preference cascade“, in which people who have been obliged to conceal their true beliefs by social pressure or sheer force suddenly discover that a lot of other people feel the same way.

It’s why popular sentiment can change, seemingly overnight, on any one particular topic.

And it’s why the Tea Party continues to rack up election victories, while the Occupy crowd almost immediately devolved into ‘Lord Of The Flies’.

Well, I know I’m not alone on this. We’re not alone.

We’re Americans, dammit. Let’s start acting like it.

Furious about ‘Fast and Furious’

(Courtesy of the Constitution Club blog)…… ***This issue has been roundly ignored by the press for over a year. On the rare occasions when it IS addressed, it’s largely ridiculed by the Left & the Media (sorry for repeating myself there). We’ve written about this here several times, so consider this a ‘refresher course’ on F&F. Be sure to read it and then watch the excellent, ..and terrifying, …video from Bill Whittle.
A must see.

Food Stamp fraud & abuse: “Business as Usual”

You can be forgiven if the Senate vote on S.3240 didn’t actually register on your consciousness. It made a splash in the news like a pebble does in the Atlantic: none.

For those of you unfamiliar with what the bill covers, we discussed it here a short time ago. And from the sounds of it, Senator Ron Johnson read our post.

Johnson came out with an extremely blunt assessment of the Senate vote last week, which sums it up perfectly:

The 2012 Food Stamp bill – more commonly known as the ‘2012 Farm Bill’ – will spend about $995 billion over the next ten years.  Of that nearly $1 trillion, 78% ($772 billion) will be spent on Food Stamps.

“During debate on the Senate floor, I made a Motion to Recommit the bill back to committee with the simple instruction to split it into two separate pieces of legislation – a Food Stamp Bill and a Farm Bill. That motion was defeated by a vote of 40-59. Why are these measures combined? The answer is simple – to keep much of the legislation out of the light of day and to make spending $1 trillion far easier.

“This is business as usual here in our nation’s capital, and it is bankrupting America.”

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is the fancy new name for the Food Stamp program, has doubled in under four years. Yet no one in government wants to really fix it, and risk looking like the bad guy. “Why do you want to starve poor people?” their critics will say.  But when we look at the ways in which it is being abused, we really don’t have much choice.

The first thing to do is highlight the black market which has been created with the lax/non-existent oversight of the Food Stamp cards themselves. Just look at this quote from the official Government website on the replacement of “lost” cards:

FNS (Food and Nutrition Service) proposes to amend regulations in order to provide States with options when clients request an excessive number of EBT card replacements. States would be able to withhold a replacement card until the client makes contact by phone or in-person with the State agency and provides an explanation for the excessive EBT card requests.

The State agency would need to determine what it considers to be excessive, but the threshold may not be less than four card replacements requested within 12 months prior to the request; unless the State agency has sufficient, additional evidence indicating potential misuse that warrants noticing the client sooner than the fourth card request. These might be individuals about whom the State agency has gathered other evidence of suspected fraudulent activity. In these circumstances, the State agency may require the client to provide an explanation by phone or in person before the fifth card request……..

Whoa, whoa, ….those sure are some Draconian rules! Wow, you mean that I can “lose” my card 4 times in a year, but then I may have to “explain” before I get my 5th card? You may as well put up a billboard for the crooks: ‘Please, take the cards and sell ’em for cash, drugs or booze. We don’t mind. Really.’

—–

You can also see the focus of the Food Stamp bureaucrats when you look at who they are looking to hire. Are they hiring more fraud investigators? Bean-counters to lower the amount of money spent, maybe? Nope, just the opposite.

Here’s a post directly from the fns.usda.gov/snap/outreach website (emphasis mine):

The purpose of outreach grants is to implement and learn more about effective strategies to inform and educate potentially eligible low-income people, who are not currently participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), about the nutrition benefits of the program, eligibility rules, and how to apply.

State and local food stamp offices and for-profit organizations are not eligible for these grants. Applicants receive up to $75,000 per grant for outreach activities lasting for 1 to 2 years, depending on the project.

Yes, you read that right: $75,000 to come up with ways to bring even more people onto the government dole, and to get them hooked on just a little bit of “help” from Big Daddy.

Because he cares, doncha’ know.

—–

Senator Johnson’s suggestion of splitting the bills makes perfect sense, but an even better way to deal with this would be to get it out of the hands of Federal Government altogether. Not coincidently, Johnson’s fellow Wisconsin native Paul Ryan has been suggesting that food stamps be handled by block grants to the STATES. It has been proven time after time: the closer you get the government to the governed, the better and more efficient it is for everyone. Such a loss of power & control is something the Federal Government, and this administration in particular, is not anxious to lose…..which is a sure indicator that it’s probably a great idea.

—–

The bill goes to the House this week. If this topic bothers you even a little bit, you may consider dropping an email to your Representative. And if this somehow doesn’t bother you, I’ll leave you with this little graphic, showing just how much Food Stamp spending has gone up, vs. other sections of the Federal Budget.

Like Johnson said: “This is business as usual here in our nation’s capital, and it is bankrupting America“.