Capt. Bob, On Guard For You
Upholding Our Constitution PDF Print E-mail
Written by Captain Bob   
Monday, 21 October 2013 10:31

Upholding Our Constitution

 

Millions serving in the military, elected and appointed government officials and others routinely take an oath as part of their duties to uphold and defend our Constitution, but what is the practical effect of this oath? How many of these individuals have actually read our Constitution and know what it says? How many are really committed to our Constitution and its Bill of Rights (the First 10 Amendments)? Are our schools teaching the Constitution? How many of those taking the oath to uphold and defend our Constitution could pass a very basic quiz about the contents of our Constitution?

What happened to September 17? It is apparently a forgotten date now that is missing in action, a former holiday not being observed or honored at all in our current “politically correct” climate. But why is this? Throughout most of our history as a nation, our first 2 patriotic holidays were Independence Day (July 4, 1776) and Constitution Day (September 17, 1787). July 4 is important because it establishes our freedom, and September 17 is important because our Constitution was unanimously released by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia for ratification by the States on September 17, 1787.

When the Constitutional Convention finished its work and was disbanding, some spectators gathered outside. As Benjamin Franklin, the grand old man of the Constitutional Convention, was leaving, someone yelled out, “Mr. Franklin, what kind of government have you given us?” Old Ben answered cryptically but conclusively, “a republic, Sir, if you can keep it!”

George Washington was the President of the Constitutional Convention, and every delegate from each state signed it for submission to the States. Our Constitution secures our rights and freedoms and provides a permanent written structure to preserve our self-government through a system of checks and balances that also protects us against excesses by current and future governments and politicians.

It is baffling that groups that want to uphold and defend our Constitution including Tea Party organizations are now abusively attacked by “politically correct” officials and media as “radical” or worse. King George III in 1776 also felt that American patriots were radical. He was outraged that American patriots thought they could be independent of the British government and actually govern themselves. Why is the spirit of 1776 under attack again today? Why is our Constitution being circumvented by politically correct officials?

Winning elections is not a blank check to rule by decree or executive whim. Winning elections confers the privilege to serve within the confines of our constitutional framework, respecting our system of checks and balances and seeking a cooperative consensus wherever possible. Money must not be spent that has not been appropriated. Laws must be passed by Congress.

There are two steps in spending the taxpayers’ money. First, there is authorization legislation. Then a budget is adopted periodically or a special appropriation is passed by Congress. Previous authorization legislation by itself does not allocate continuing funds. The requirement for periodic funding legislation allows oversight by Congress as part of our constitutional checks and balances. It is not extortion if Congress withdraws or fails to provide continuing funding. It is an exercise by Congress of its constitutional responsibility, based on current circumstances, to either fund or not fund what was earlier authorized. Congress is not bound to stick to its past mistakes when there is an opportunity for correction in the appropriation process.

Our Constitutional system of checks and balances protects the public interest, relying on wisdom in a multitude of counselors, rather than letting one man make costly mistakes at the expense of everyone. When our Constitution is ignored or its supporters are abused, America suffers and loses its double barrel advantage, our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution that safeguards and secures our freedoms.

 

Capt. Bob

Fighting for Freedom

On Guard for You

Last Updated on Monday, 08 September 2014 12:03
 
My West Point Dad-Part IV PDF Print E-mail
Written by Capt Bob   
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 21:51

My West Point Dad-Part IV

 

I wanted to match wits with Dad one more time about gun owners’ rights, so I did some more research and found some facts he did not know about. In Russia even under the brutal dictator Josef Stalin, there were approximately 12 million “hunters” who had their own guns. Most of them had double barrel shotguns, their preferred weapons (24 million blasts without re-loading).

Stalin and his successors under communist rule usually did not interfere with these gun owners with their double barrel shotguns. The totalitarian rulers apparently did not like the odds as the “hunters” overall clearly outgunned the Red Army and the KGB (secret police). Very few of these “hunters” were sent to the notorious “labor” camps in Siberia. Those “hunters” who were in the communist concentration camps were usually there because of active political dissent or some crime and not because of gun ownership.

We could discuss other possible reasons why Stalin and his successors usually did not interfere with the gun owners. Russia is a huge nation, the largest in land area in the world, covering many times zones. It is impossible to have enough police to control such a vast area. The “hunters” contributed to stability and to ordinary law and order where the police were spread too thin.

When I told Dad about gun ownership in Russia, he simply said, “I did not know that”. I was finally one step ahead of Dad in the knowledge department. However, he quickly added, “It is well established factually that when gun ownership goes up, crime goes down. To make a case against gun ownership by law abiding citizens, you must be in denial about the facts.”

“But, Dad, what about mass murder shooting sprees by deranged individuals with guns?” “Bobby, there will always be a few crazy people, and bombings pose a more lethal threat than guns. However, one law abiding person with a self-defense weapon can stop a mass shooting spree before dozens more die and before the police arrive too late. It is more difficult to defend against attacks with explosives. We need to do a better job screening the mentally ill and possible enemy individuals who are determined to cause devastating destruction. This requires a variety of combined efforts to identify dangerous individuals before they strike. This is another area where citizens could help by being alert.”

Dad wanted to use common sense in matters of public and personal safety, avoiding excessive dramatization and hysteria while taking common sense measures against terrorists and ordinary criminals. If there is a threat, simply show responsibility and deal with it effectively. Don’t deprive potential victims of their self-defense rights including gun ownership.

Dad was ready to return to reading his history books, and I left him as I was thinking about his insights into what we discussed during our after-dinner conversations.

 

Capt. Bob Bell

USN (Ret), JAGC

Last Updated on Monday, 21 October 2013 10:49
 
My West Point Dad-Part III PDF Print E-mail
Written by Capt Bob   
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 21:47

My West Point Dad-Part III


The next time I saw Dad after dinner on the front porch, he was busy reading something interesting in the Bible. In addition to the Bible’s spiritual content, he thought the Bible is a very good history book. I interrupted him, saying, “Dad, is there anything else you can tell me about our citizens being armed? Is it really a good thing, or could it potentially cause trouble?”

“Well, Bobby,” he replied, “If you really want to find out if it is a good thing, or not, why don’t you find out what the Bible says about this type of situation?” Then he went back to reading his Bible. Dad was putting me to work. He wasn’t going to do my homework for me, so I got my Bible and started looking.

I was amazed to learn after some reading that the Second Amendment of our Bill of Rights about gun ownership was apparently not an original idea at the time of the American Revolution. It was inspired by what existed in ancient Israel when Israel was successfully defending itself and fighting its enemies who are very numerous in that part of the world. In fact, King David got into trouble with God when he ordered his military commander Joab to take a census of all the men in Judah and Israel who had their own swords and other weapons and who were ready to fight if needed. According to Second Samuel, Chapter 24, Verse 9 in the Bible, there were 500,000 able bodied, armed men in Judah who could handle a sword and who could be called upon to serve, and 800,000 in Israel for a total of 1.3 million fighting men who were at home with their own weapons and who could also provide for their own self-defense along with their neighbors. There was no need then for police who would arrive at the scene of the crime 30 minutes after it was too late. It was like an armed neighborhood watch with so many armed citizens.

But why would God want to keep the number of armed citizens uncounted and unknown? Possibly God did not want Israel’s enemies to know Israel’s actual strength. Maybe God wanted Israel to create the impression that it had unlimited resources, as countless as the grains of sand on the world’s beaches.

This would be psychological warfare to create fear and uncertainty among Israel’s enemies. This tactic served Israel well in its previous conflicts. Once the number was known, the information would inevitably leak out, and Israel’s enemies could plan to have a larger army.

We could apply this same concept to not having a national registry of firearms in the United States. Potential enemies including homegrown criminals do not know how many people are armed or where their guns are located. This enhances deterrence of criminals through their fear of the unknown as well as their fear of the known if most citizens are armed. Dad, the sly old West Point Cadet, had forced me to seek truth on my own instead of just giving me the answers, but I still wanted to talk to him about some of my ideas.

Armed citizens not only provide their own self-defense. They contribute to law and order at home and can help respond to natural disasters along with contributing to national defense, freeing up huge resources for other important needs. When Hurricane Andrew devastated southern Miami-Dade County on August 24, 1992, residences were left in shambles with no electricity for weeks. Signs appeared at houses in Homestead, Florida saying, “You loot, we shoot.” As a result, there was very little looting or shooting there.

Capt. Bob Bell

U.S. Navy Retired

Last Updated on Monday, 21 October 2013 10:54
 
My West Point Dad II PDF Print E-mail
Written by Capt Bob   
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 21:33

My West Point Dad - Part II


The next time I caught up with my Dad after dinner when it was a good time to talk to him, I had studied some of what he told me.

“Dad, when we talked before, you explained about our wars and how we try to avoid new wars, but I was surprised by what you said about the Second Amendment concerning well armed citizens being an important part of our national defense. However, I found a good example of that in Switzerland. Every able bodied man has a military rifle at home, his own supply of ammunition and a back pack ready to be called out on a moment’s notice.”

“Switzerland has been invaded only twice in all of recorded history, once by Julius Caesar before the time of Christ and again by Napoleon in the early 1800’s. The Swiss are not neutral because they are afraid to fight. It is because others are discouraged from fighting them because they are so well prepared, and their citizens are universally armed.”

My Dad said, “Bobby, I see you have done some homework. You keep asking questions and doing some homework, and you will learn a lot”. “Well, Dad, there is another question I would like to ask you. What do you think of the way wars are fought now with innocent civilians and others being randomly attacked by our enemies but not by us?”

Dad had a quick answer. “This type of conflict, if successful, is a warm up for more major engagements. It is important to stamp this out before it escalates further. This type of horrifying, wanton destruction is intended to undermine our self-confidence and undermine our will to fight. We cannot simply shrug it off and treat it as a law enforcement issue. This type of sneaky, treacherous, cowardly terrorism is the early stages of much more serious conflicts if it is left unchecked.”

“But, Dad, how do we successfully fight this type of enemy when we are restrained by international law and treaties, and they are not bound by any rules?” Dad scratched his head (he had very little hair) and commented, “This is a very difficult situation and a very hard question to answer completely. We do not want to stoop to the enemy’s level, but we must respond effectively. Proportional retaliation or reprisal is authorized by international law, and hit and run quick strike raids by our special forces could be more successful than getting bogged down with large forces inside enemy territory”.

“Dad, how do we tell friends from foes; and what about innocent civilians? We do not want to destroy an entire village because an attack came from there.”

“Bobby, there are things we can do without resorting to the vicious brutality of our enemies. We can lock down or quarantine an area to locate the weapons and explosives and those who are responsible. We could also consider evacuating the people and destroying some structures if the guilty individuals cannot be identified because they blended in with the local people who are harboring the terrorists.”

I could see that Dad would not accept defeat at the hands of treacherous and barbaric enemies. I decided to leave Dad alone for now to read his history books. I wanted to think about what he said. We need innovative thinking and actions to defeat an unconventional enemy who strikes viciously without any warning. Must we fight fire with fire, or is there a middle ground that is more humane but still victorious?

Capt. Bob Bell

U.S. Navy Retired

Last Updated on Monday, 21 October 2013 10:57
 
My West Point Dad PDF Print E-mail
Written by Capt Bob   
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 21:17

My West Point Dad

 

When I was very young, I heard about my uncle’s heroic service in World War II in the U.S. Army Air Corps flying as a tail gunner on over 100 bomber missions over Nazi occupied territory. I was 2 and one half years old when World War II ended. My first conscious memory was people on the side of the road yelling, “The war is over, the war is over”, as I rode in the back seat of my mother’s car.

When I was a little older, I was interested in our recent history. My Dad was born in 1897. He attended West Point during World War I (too old for World War II). He was a real history buff. I decided to ask him my questions about our wars.

“Dad, why are we fighting wars in other nations?” “Bobby”, he said, if an enemy has attacked us or decided to fight us, it’s better to fight on their territory than ours. That way their country gets torn up instead of ours.”

“But, Dad”, I said, why do we still have bases in Germany, Japan, Italy and South Korea if the war is over?” He told me, “These are not occupying forces. These bases are there for stability to make sure we do not have to fight another war involving these nations. These bases are not there only for military purposes. The presence of our bases with our citizens helps to build friendly relationships with these nations in many areas.”

I still was not satisfied. “But, Dad, how can we avoid these wars, just mind our own business and spend the money on ourselves?” He replied, “It would be great if we could do that, but as General Eisenhower explained to us, peace through strength is the best way to try to avoid new wars. We need to be strong enough so others will be afraid to attack us. We need to avoid the mistake we made after the First World War of cutting our military strength drastically, attempting to isolate our nation from what was happening in the rest of the world, and as a result getting into another bigger and more destructive world war the second time from December, 1941 until August, 1945.”

I was not going to give up. I wanted my Dad’s insight through his answers, but I also wanted to find at least one question he could not answer, that maybe I could eventually answer. “Dad, what would happen if our army was fighting in another part of the world, and while they were gone, we were invaded here at home?” My Dad was becoming somewhat impatient with my probing questions as he responded, “Son, that’s one of the reasons we have the Second Amendment, not just as part of our personal freedom and for our self-protection in our daily lives, but to help defend our nation if necessary. However, the national defense role in the Second Amendment does not work unless citizens have the current military type weapons and their own supply of ammunition so they can respond quickly without waiting for guns, ammunition and basic firearms training to be provided.”

I thought they must teach the cadets at West Point just about everything. I decided not to ask my Dad anymore questions until the next time I could talk to him. That would give me more time to think of other questions, maybe even a question he could not answer.

 

Capt. Bob Bell

U.S. Navy Retired                                    To be continued.

Last Updated on Monday, 21 October 2013 10:59
 


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