America the Troubled

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It’s been a very violent and bloody week for this country. First a bloody ending to a national runners event that marred the day by killing and injuring innocent people taking part in the Boston Marathon and Patriot day.

That all occurred on the 15th of April this year.

Two days later, a fertiliser plant in the farming town of West, Texas exploded, killing 14 and the police are still sifting through the rubble to find casualties.

On the 18th of April, the first of two bombing suspects was shot and killed in a prolonged shoot-out with police.

Yesterday on the  19th of April, the second suspect was shot and captured.

America has had a very troubled and busy week in the violence and death department. The denizens of this troubled country can be forgiven for feeling a little abused at the moment.

I wrote a blog post on the day of the Boston Marathon bombings and raised the query of security forces spending too much time looking for evil within the borders of the USA. I felt that they were looking in the wrong place for terrorists.

I was wrong.

Sadly, this terror attack did indeed come from within.

But…

These two heinous and cowardly individuals did not originate in America. They were “immigrants” who came over with their families. According to initial reports, they’ve only lived in America for ten years.

Both, according to the news again, were recent Muslim converts.

The face of monsters.
The faces of monsters.

Oh boy. That’s going to rock the proverbial boat. As if Muslims did not have enough negative press already, they now have even more and I can imagine that Mr and Mrs America and their children won’t be inviting their next door followers of Islam over for a barbecue.

Another unsettling reason for the non-Muslim community to feel leery about this “foreign” religion and its violent outbursts against “the infidels.”

Overshadowed by Monday’s events is the explosion in Texas that took so many lives. Not – as far as I know – terrorist in nature, it is still an enormous tragedy and one that isn’t getting a lot of  media attention due to the Boston tragedy; at least not on this side of the big pond.

West Texas. Fires after the explosion.
West Texas. Fires after the explosion.

On top of the two explosive events, we have the news that guardians of justice move damned fast. Literally within days of the Boston outrage, both suspects have been dealt with. Of course the death of one and the injuring of the other, may make it difficult to find out why  these two monsters – Yes, monsters.  People do not indiscriminately murder in this fashion. – with the end result being one dead and one captured.

Suffice to say, I think I was wrong to denigrate the security forces and their head offices for watching the American people. It seems that what appeared to me as paranoia, was not.

Now it only remains for the authorities to find out why. Why killing innocent children and people was necessary and why the fertiliser plant exploded in Texas.

I cannot think of a more troubling week of events for America within her shores before. Certainly not that I can remember. Sure we’ve had international American tragedy before. Remember Jonestown? But that was outside the boundaries of the country and not on Main Street USA.

On Jonestown, I had a friend in the USAF who was at the New Jersey air base when the bodies were brought back. He was on body-bag detail. I cannot imagine the horror that must have been.

I close this puzzled post with prayers sent to all who have suffered loss in this last week. Loss of life, loss of family, friends and neighbours and loss of innocence. I also pray that we might find out that the horrid events of Boston were a “one-off” and that other recent converts to the Muslim religion who are US citizens aren’t so murderously inclined.

May the country of my birth breathe a sigh of relief now that the week-end has arrived and may my fellow countrymen rest a bit easier knowing that the keepers of the peace do seem to know what they are doing.

To the residents of both Boston and Texas I hope you can get closure for this violent and troubled week. And my the American people not be so scarred that they become xenophobic in action and thought.

And lastly, may the greatest free country in the world continue to be so and fly the flag proudly and safely.

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Boston Marathon Explosions the Boogeyman Strikes

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As I sat down to write a blog post last night, I saw a “push” come up on my Facebook wall. It was from an old colleague who stated that he hoped his family in Boston were okay.

Curiosity piqued, I asked him what was going on and while waiting for a response I typed  “Boston events” in the search bar and got the news sightly ahead of his answer.

Someone or some group had exploded two devices at the Boston Marathon finishing line. Two people were killed, I found out from a friend who is from Boston that one of these was an eight year-old child, and at least 23 injured. The news went on to state that two more devices had been found and that there was a further explosion at the Kennedy Library.

I was shocked.

Although it was late and I was quite tired, I spent the next several hours watching live coverage of this obscenity and “tweeting” what I was learning. One of the things I learned was that at that time no one group had stepped forward to claim responsibility for placing  these bombs in the rubbish bins.

I also learned that the official line on the “devices” was not to call them bombs.

I was once again, shocked.

If something has been set up to explode, it is a bomb. I can only think that officials have decided that to call them bombs would scare people and dredge up some sort of “negative” connotation.

I’ve got news for the authorities, a bomb by any other name is a bomb.

The bitter irony in this is that while the bombs were exploding, President Obama was working on new gun laws to protect his constituents from acts of murder. While he was looking at stopping death within, death came (presumably) from without.

With the introduction of drones that spy on American citizens in the name of national security, the good guys were obviously looking in the wrong direction and the bad guys got in.

It is sad that the times we live in now include urban terror attacks from whatever group or source. These attacks are designed to keep people afraid. Afraid of public events, of walking down their own streets (Bostonian’s were told to stay inside after the explosions and Boston was put on “lock-down”) and afraid to trust “foreigners” let alone each other.

The group or people responsible  want all free countries to be placed under “house arrest” and to be too terrified to leave their homes. And through the diversionary news worthy events of killing sprees with guns and with the media shouting to the heavens about gun control, the folks responsible for the country’s security forgot to look at the ongoing issue of terrorism.

I might be wrong (and I have been wrong before) but I think that the security forces need to stop looking for “Boogeymen” under their own beds or backyards and remember to look at those “outside” the country they’ve been sworn to protect.

As the death toll rises to three and the injured numbers more than triple, I’m sure the people in yesterday’s Boston Marathon would agree.

Aftermath...
Aftermath…

 

Annette Funicello Gone Aged 70: Now it’s Time to Say Goodbye

Annette Funicello (born: October 22, 1942 - died April 8, 2013) RIP
Annette Funicello (born: October 22, 1942 – died April 8, 2013) RIP

When I was five years old, we lived in Sacramento California and I used to watch the reruns of the original Mickey Mouse club. In black and white. One of my favourite “Mouseketeers” was Annette Funicello. This dark-haired song bird stole my five-year old heart.

Of course by the time I saw the old Mickey Mouse show, Annette was already getting ready to make those “beach” movies with heart-throb Frankie Avalon.

But television is a sort of time machine and when I watched first the Mickey Mouse Show and later the Wonderful World of Disney, Annette would be the same age, even though years had passed. She exuded, through the magic of television, an ageless “girl-next-door” glow that made her special to an entire generation of Mouseketeer fans.

These same fans would go on to love her even more as the love interest in a swimming suit. But however you were introduced to Annette, it was her voice and they way she sang that impressed and made you fall in love with her all over again.

Bio’s will tell you that she was the last Mouseketeer chosen and that she was the most popular. But what they can’t tell you is the special magic that this young girl and then woman had. A magic that kept her in people’s hearts long after the Mouse Club and the Beach Party films ended.

She was a champion who fought for everyone who had Multiple Sclerosis, which she had been diagnosed with the disease in 1987 and after a five-year silence went public with the news. Her fans never stopped loving her and supporting her and she passed that love and support to others who suffered from the disease.

It was complications from this disease  that took her life aged 70.

It is with a lump in my throat and prayer for her family and friends that I write this short love letter to the Mouseketeer of my youth.

So long Annette. Like the song says, you made me love you; but with a pure childlike love that never grew up.

I’ll finish this by including a video from YouTube that, quite appropriately, features Annette and her fellow Mouseketeers singing the “Goodbye” sign-off song from the show.

RIP Margaret Thatcher: The Iron Lady has Gone

1925 - 2013 RIP
1925 – 2013 RIP

It was with surprise and a touch of sadness when I learned that Margaret Thatcher died today. She was 87 and a legend.

But even legends die.

This formidable women who changed the face of politics, Britain, and, in no small way, the world. Daughter of a grocery shop owner and as a child grew up in a household that was active in politics and the church.

She started in politics at an early age, running for local office in Dartford where she was the youngest and first female candidate in an all male race. It was during this time that she married Denis Thatcher.

But this is not a biographical recounting of this powerful woman, It is a look at how she embodied the theme of “girl power” long before it became an in vogue subject to talk about. She wasn’t a Spice Girl, but she was the perfect model of a strong female role model.

A role model that the world watched as she held office as Prime Minister longer than anyone before or since.

Whether you agreed with her political stance or even the party she represented, you can still admire her strength and her will, which is still being felt in the country today.

So I’m placing my metaphorical hat over my heart and bowing my head in remembrance.

So long Ms Thatcher (born: 13 October 1925 – died: 8 April 2013) – the Iron Lady is gone, but will never be forgotten.

Russian Meteorite Explosion Could Shame Spielberg

This video compilation of the Russian Meteorite explosion is brilliant. Pieced together from private footage and CCTV and traffic camera footage it give a great montage of the event.

It can be found on RT Question More  and it is almost stunning. Looking like a series of scenes from a science fiction film, it almost shames the past master’s of the genre.

It just goes to show that truth is not just stranger than fiction, but it looks more spectacular as well. Enjoy the clip.