In 1990, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society had its annual reunion in Albuquerque.  120-odd recipients of the Medal of Honor attended, and the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce asked the New Mexico Civil War Congress to provide period honor and color guards.  (The Congress was sort of an umbrella organization to which all of the units belonged.  They put on some events, and were a point of contact for anyone in the state who wanted reenactors for school programs, parades, honor guards, etc..)

My outfit, the 4th Texas Infantry, marched in a parade up Central Avenue to the Fairgrounds and participated in a ceremony there.  We attended a party that evening, where I met my first MOH Recipient.  He was a huge bear of a man with an empty left sleeve.  His handshake was like slamming my hand in a car door, and he bellowed, “Howdy!  I’m Footsie Britt, from Arkansaw.”  He was a hoot, and one of the funniest sober guys I’ve ever known.  (His nickname came from his days as a fullback for the University of Arkansas before WWII.  His MOH came from an action against most of a company of crack German infantry on a hillside in Italy.  He wasn’t hurt in that action, which is near miraculous, but a few days later, he and some of his lads took shelter from the rain in a partially bombed-out house, and the darned roof fell on him and crushed his arm.)  I didn’t know until I looked for a photo of him that he went across the river in 1995.  Life is a fatal proposition, eh?


So the next night, there was a big dinner and shindig at the Convention Center.  The Yankees, being in the leadership offices of the Congress, latched onto what we all thought would be the best positions at the event.  The 4th Texas, represented by Earl and I, got stuck on one of the outside doors.  We were told to stand there, at attention, and greet anyone who came in.  Bear in mind that this was 7 months after we reenacted the last battle of the War Between the States and the surrender of Lee’s army at Appomattox.  We were in our field uniforms because we didn’t have anything that could be considered a dress uniform. We were pretty gamey!  We also had pretty salty attitudes. We had our Enfield rifles, bayonets, and each of us had 40 rounds of ball ammunition in our cartridge boxes.  I’m sure the Chamber of Commerce, and probably the prissy Yankees, too, would have crapped in their mess kits if they’d known we carried live ammunition!  (Not all Yankees are prissy, but some of these were.  Their morbid fear of live ammunition was pretty silly, considering that at the distances at which we’d be working, those bayonets were a lot more practical, and just as deadly!)

Anyway, Earl and I were pretty much, “Humpf” about being stuck on the back door, but we were prepared to do our duty.  Suddenly, three busses pulled up to the curb, and I’m damned if the whole Medal of Honor contingent, all 120-odd of them, stepped out and walked straight through the doors that we were holding open!  Every one of them was wearing his medal, and I’m tellin’ you, Sweetheart, I ain’t NEVER seen so much sky blue and white stars!  My pulse must have doubled as I stood at “Present Arms” in salute as all those men and their ladies passed inches from me.  All of them spoke to us, and several saluted, even though we were both NCO’s.  I have special memories of a couple of them. One was a smallish fellow who was straight as an arrow.  He started to step past me, then it suddenly seemed to dawn on him that we were wearing The Gray.  He stopped short, took a step back from me and snapped to attention, then expertly looked at my kit from my hat to my boots and back again.  I saw his eyes go to my rifle, cartridge box, cap box, and bayonet.  Then he looked me square in the eye, saluted as sharp as a razor, and said, in a drawl you could spread on a biscuit, “Well done, First Sergeant!”   Ha!  He was a Reb, too!

Since I was already at Present Arms, which is the position of salute, I nodded briskly and managed to choke out, “Thank you, Sir.  And to you, as well, Sir.”  He cut his salute and stepped past, but then his lady stepped close and kissed my cheek, and said, in that same drawl, “Thank you so much, First Sergeant. We are honored.”  Holy cats!  I nearly fainted, and I know my eyes puddled up pretty bad.  Shoot, they’re pretty wet right now!

The other man I remember in particular was an ancient fellow.  He was stooped and his hair was snow white.  He wore a shirt that was the reddest red I’ve ever seen, and had two rows of 3-inch ruffles all the way down the front.  I mean, he was flat STYLIN’!!

Holding his right arm, which was nearest me, was a young woman, a blonde, who was dressed in an equally red gown that looked like it was put on with spray paint.  She was about 20, absolutely gorgeous, and built like anything I can say in front of a nice girl.  I’m telling you, that gal had curves in places where most girls don’t have places!  The really awesome thing about this old gent was that on his left arm was another, almost identical woman!  I could tell he’d been flirting and carrying on with them, and they were loving it and him.  He had a grin like a Cheshire cat, and they women were all giggles and wiggles.  As he passed me, I couldn’t resist saying, “Lookin’ GOOD, Sir!  Well done!”   He just grinned some more, and the blonde on my side gave a little bootie bump to Annie.  It was probably an accident, but, frankly, I didn’t care!

After what seemed like an hour and the passage of the entire Milky Way of white stars, the last of them went past us and disappeared into the center.  Earl and I moved our rifles from Present Arms down to our sides at Order Arms, looked at each other, and darned nearly collapsed.  Our knees were just gone.  We guarded the doors for another hour or so, until someone came out and relieved us.  In that time, several of the MOH holders came out for a smoke, or just some fresh air, and we were able to chat with them.  I am here to testify to you that they were, each and every one of them, the most polite, easy-going, humble men I’ve ever known.



At the age of 53 years, I married a younger woman, and became step dad to her three daughters. Over the years, I’ve written several letters to them, most of which have never been delivered. Sometimes, the situation for which the letters were intended passed. More often, I realized the letters would do no good, and just filed them away. Writing like this as always been a good release for me, and a way to organize my feelings.

So the letters here – reproduced in no particular order, are what I’ve written to the little girls that I have loved more than I never knew I could love human beings. Almost none of these will ever be read by the people for whom they were intended. Maybe – and it’s a long shot – you or your daughters will read them, and, since I am a stranger, perhaps your daughters will learn from them. The Scriptures tell us that a prophet is without honor in his own land. So be it.

Sic Semper,


They laugh about boogers. They laugh about farts.
They laugh about mold on old Pop Tarts.
They laugh about things from before they were born.
They laughed when my favorite shirt got torn.

When I tell ‘em I’m tired from working all day,
They laugh in my face and call me to play.
They call me a sissy if I ever say ouch,
And laugh when I tell ‘em don’t jump on the couch,

They laugh when I call their mommy My Honey.
They laugh about things I don’t think are funny.
They roll on the floor when I wear my old hat.
They drive me to cussing, and laugh about that.

But I’ve seen lots of girls who didn’t laugh much –
Who’d give their eyeteeth for their daddy’s touch –
Who’d shriek in delight at the crumbs from our table –
Who’d think it pure heaven to sleep in a stable.

I’m thankful to God for the laughter of girls –
That He’s blessed me with these three exquisite pearls.
If He asks why I think I rate entry Above,
I’ll say ‘cause my little girls laughed, and knew love.

19 April, 2003


 July 20, 2010 

My Precious One,
I have no idea what was behind your attitude this morning. If it was something I did or said – or didn’t do or say – I’d like to know. Maybe I can do something to make it up.

If you weren’t mad at me, I’d like to know that, too. An apology wouldn’t be out of line. We all have days and attitudes. Apologizing doesn’t make you less independent or mature.

It seems that about the time I start to believe we are getting to be friends, something like this comes up, and it lasts a while, and then we take up more or less where we left off. Things like this morning cause me great pain, especially when they seem so totally undeserved.

Your common teenaged girl is careless and casual in the way she hands out pain; she sows it like the wind sows dandelions.

Your uncommon teenaged girl begins to understand how her actions and attitudes affect others. She starts to learn empathy – seeing something from another’s viewpoint. To be able to foresee what will cause pain to herself may be the begining of judgment, but to foresee what will cause pain to others is the beginning of humility. You will find that, paradoxically, from true humility comes the only true nobility.

I hope you will recognize that I have considerable experience in regret, and that you might give serious consideration to what I’m saying.

I hope you had good day, and are feeling better.

The phrase, “I love you like breathin,” isn’t just empty verbiage.


21 Dec., 09

Dearest One,

The conversation about Paul got a bit tense tonight. It’s a very emotional subject on all sides. You were right a while back when you said I don’t know the guy. If you get serious about him, I guess I ought to change that.

I really did think about setting him up with a fake text message and working him over with a ball bat or something. I thought about it for about 30 seconds, then gave it up and put it from my mind. It was just the papa bear taking over for a little while.

So here’s the advice. You knew it was coming, right? Paul has been involved in some pretty negative behavior for years. Okay. So was I. People can change, but they have to do it on their own strength. They have to find something they want more than they want the buzz or the high or the orgasm. If Paul – or any guy – ever says, “Baby, if I had you, I know I could quit,” you run like hell! If he won’t quit to GET you, he sure as blazes won’t quit to KEEP you! Once a guy has a girl, the new can wear off really fast. Even if he really meant that, for you, he’d quit whatever he’d been doing, when the temptation and habit comes knockin’ – when he smells a beer or a joint or some floozie’s perfume – you will be yesterday’s news. Your tender, loving heart might tempt you to fall for that sorry old line, but that’s all it is – a sorry, cheap, old pick up line, designed to separate a girl from her bloomers.

Make him EARN you, Darlin’. Make him go straight and stay straight BEFORE you let him say you’re his.

Never give your heart to some guy on credit – you know, the “play now, pay later” plan. Make ‘em ante up first. If he won’t do that, he isn’t worth messing with, and you get yourself away from him.

There. Love you like breathin’


6 Jan., 2010

(Her mother and I had grounded her from her phone, so she went out and bought one, explicitly thumbing her nose at us. She was 17.)

Dearest One,

The talk we had in the door of my bedroom about your phone was probably as unsatisfying to me as it was unpleasant to you. It didn’t even come close to saying what I really meant. I’d like to try again

Now, I’m not judging you or your mom. I’m just talking about what happened. Your mom and I had set a rule about the phone. I was invited to withdraw from the program, but in the beginning, it was both of us, so I don’t want you to think I’m trying to suck up by denying my role. You knew very well the intent of the phone rule. When you got your own phone, you escalated the conflict. I don’t know what you were thinking at the time, but your actions said, “I don’t care about your rules or what you think.”

Your mom could match your escalation with one of her own, or she could back down. She was stunned and hurt, but she knew that to escalate would bring a whole new world of anger and hurt. She couldn’t bear that, so she backed down.

There’s a principle I’ve learned in the past few years that can save you untold heartache: The person who cares least about a relationship will have the power. That person is willing to risk the relationship to get his way. “You do what I want or it’s over.” The person who cares most about the relationship will back down – yield power – to keep the relationship. You can see the potential for abuse, meanness, and downright evil in this principle. One person can be controlled by his or her love for another. This is what your escalation of the phone deal did to your mom and me. This is what I failed so miserably to say the other night.

I’m not saying you were all wrong or that your mom was all right on the phone deal. I do understand your frustration. I also understand what your mom has been trying to do. And trust me on this: I also know what it’s like to do something and have it come out wrong!

There are 3 things here that I hope you will seriously think about, and maybe learn from.
(1) Betting that another person’s love for you can be used to manipulate their behavior is a terrible risk. You put everything on the table and throw the dice, and even when it seems like you’ve won, you’ve lost something. (2) Before you escalate a dispute, do your best to understand what the dispute is really about, and (3) weigh carefully what you stand lose against what you stand to gain. You can lose everything – and I mean everything – by an ill-advised escalation.

I have paid an awful price in pain and loss for this wisdom. I hope and pray that you might learn it at less cost.

Love you like breathin’.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++April, 2010

My Dearest One,

On your 18th birthday, I feel compelled, as a dad and as a friend, to share a few ideas with you. This is not to scold or direct you, but with explicit respect for your authority to make your own decisions. Some of this is pretty personal and intense. It seems to me that we’ve come to a place where we can be frank with one another. If there is anything in these letters that offends you or hurts you, I beg your forgiveness! As I write, there is nothing in my heart but the deepest love and respect for your agency. Since you moved out, I have managed to go two or three days without bawling when I think about you being out there, building your own life. I’ll get a grip one of these days, but so far, it’s been rough.

I don’t know if you will like, or even read these letters. That’s okay. Maybe they will make more sense when you’re 30. As with everything, what you do is up to you. I’d love to know what you think about them, but again, that’s up to you.

There are a number of precautions in these letters; they aren’t accusations. So don’t feel threatened or accused, okay? That’s not what this is about.

Your life now is of your own making, for good or bad. It’s mostly good, and I’m tremendously proud of you and so much that you are accomplishing. You are truly a remarkable woman. That so many of your decisions have been good ones speaks of your quality. That a few of them weren’t so good speaks of your humanity. Trying to build your life from scratch, strictly on your own, will lead you into many unnecessary bloody noses and avoidable heartaches. Sometimes, “doing it your way,” can mean consciously deciding to take instruction or example. Ben Franklin said experience runs an expensive school, but it’s the only one a fool will learn at. Someone else said, “Experience is a great teacher, especially if it’s someone else’s experience.”

I know you are an amazingly good person. Every day, different aspects of your ethics and values impress me. But life will set traps in our paths, and while we all fall into some of them, a word of wisdom from a loving heart and in due season can help us avoid others

No one but my Father in Heaven knows what you mean to me, and have meant to me from the first time I saw you. My love and hopes and prayers ride with you every day, wherever you are, whatever you are doing.

So. These are written by a dad who loves you one way, and a friend who loves you another. Between the two, you are just about everything to me. Everything.

Love you like breathin’, My Darlin’

I.   LOVE AND SEX – attention-getting title, isn’t it!

Love is an expression of the best within you. Love may well be the most complex of all human emotions. It is the recognition, in the character of another, of what you think is great – of what you’d like to see in yourself. If this justifies loving the other person, it also justifies loving yourself. In fact, you can’t really love another person unless you honestly believe that you are worthy of love, yourself. Love is not the denial of yourself. On the contrary, it is the ultimate affirmation of yourself.

When you are with the right person for the right reason, there is no difference between love and sex. They become one and the same, and as one grows stronger and more consuming, the other does the same. Beware of the greatest mistake people make: the sex can be freakin’ incredible, but that doesn’t make it love. And by the way, there is no age limit on this mistake!

Sex is not love; it is an expression of love. It is possible that the closest we will come on this earth to a Godlike moment of creation is that overwhelming, exquisite, spiritual instant of orgasm, when, with another human being, we open our bodies and our very souls to the creation of new life. Don’t sell that short, Sweetheart. That’s why Satan wants us to cheapen and squander our most private and sacred capacity. There is no sensation in life more powerful or soul-rendering than sex. Use it with great care and discretion! Yes, I wish you’d save your virginity for your husband on your wedding night, but that’s your choice, my Love. Don’t give it away carelessly. It is a priceless gift – one that many men never receive. A man may go with a thousand sluts, and not remember a one of them. But he will never, ever forget a virgin. This great gift is yours to give. Be sure it is to a man who will be worthy to carry it for the rest of his life – and the rest of your life – whether you are with him or not.

Sometimes, people mistake dependency for love. Do not think you love someone because they need you. This is despicable! It is the equivalent of valuing weakness more than virtue. It makes a mockery of love. Yet the temptation to do this is very, very strong! Men will tell you they can’t be sober without you, and try to use your pity to seduce you. I have known men who claimed to be gay in an effort to make women believe they could be the ones to make them go straight. Contemptible, eh? But it is an example of mistaking pity for love. Don’t think you are above this temptation! Beware of it!

Never use sex as a weapon to punish or control someone. That can drive the most stable man insane, and I mean the beat you up or cut your throat kind of insane.

Sex should ALWAYS be respectful and courteous. If it can’t be respectful and courteous, stick to a vibrator. It’s more sanitary, and you won’t have to wonder what’s being posted about you on Facebook.
Love you like breathin’, my angel


Since I have known you, you have had two conflicting desires: to be your own individual and to be liked by others. I have seen you torn between these two, and when you’ve tried to find balance, you’ve actually flip-flopped between them. Not that you’ve had a worse time of it than any other kid! It’s part of growing up, and you’ve done okay with it. At your tender age, the conflict and its consequences haven’t been all that bad. That will change as you get older.

You create your own individuality through your character and personality. Your beauty and grace do not make you an individual. They are truly gifts from God, but others have beauty and grace, too. The only thing you have that is truly, uniquely you is what’s between your ears – your values, morals, and attitudes.

Popularity comes from doing or being what others want. Their desires are based on their own values, morals, and attitudes, not on yours. People will try to manipulate you by making you feel guilty or inadequate. They may pretend to like or love you, or say hurtful things to do this. Guys will frequently do this for sex, but women can be utterly savage, too. Doing things out of rebellion is exactly the same as doing them to be liked. Either way, you will be acting according to someone else’s ideas, not your own. Down this road you will find nothing but heartbreak and loneliness. I think your desire for independence and to be your own, unique individual is stronger than your desire to be popular, and this speaks very highly of your innate character. It will also save you.

I haven’t seen you misuse flirting, but you are, by nature, a delicious little flirt, and there’s a very thin, hard-to-see line between innocent fun and dangerous evil. It’s one thing to do some good-natured flirting, and I know you enjoy it. But it’s quite another thing to use your beauty and sexuality to make people think they are going to get something if they are nice to you. Don’t do that kind of thing, my Love. It’s wicked, and there’s a term for girls who do it. Actually, there’s several, and prick teaser is one of the nicer ones. This falls under the category of using sex to control or manipulate people, and can lead to some really bad stuff.

Let your character – your values, morals, and attitude – define you as a unique individual. You have plenty of intelligence, and the makings of a stainless character. You have respect for other people, and you genuinely like people. Be who you know you are, and people who respect you – and whom you can respect – will be drawn to you. I saw a note taped to the closet wall in your room: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Not bad advice

By building your own character, you will become popular with those who matter.

Love you like breathin’, My Sweetheart


You have an obligation to do what you really think is right. Only you can decide what you will value most. It’s a sorry person who would surrender this responsibility to others, but you’ll meet no end of such sorry people. Anything or anyone can be of value to you. A value doesn’t have to be money, or even material. It can be abstract, like freedom, or love, or beauty. A person can be of the very greatest value. Material wealth should be of value, but that is for a letter of its own. Your LDS upbringing suggested a good set of values, but there are others. It’s your choice.

I once told you that taking off your CTR ring did not absolve you of the responsibility of choosing the right. Decide what is right, and do it, and try to never let your impulses, emotions, or passions turn you from it. Believe me, that’s a tough one to stick to! Never get too big to apologize for bad decisions. Guilt is awful. Apologizing helps.

Values are hierarchical – like a stack, with a top and a bottom. Not all things will be of equal value to you, and you will have sleepless nights and shed a lot of tears when life demands you decide which is the greatest of many. Seek the counsel of prayer and of people you respect, but do not run from this decision; it is at the heart of your character, independence, and integrity.

Always serve your greatest values first, whether they are material things or human beings. The definition of “sacrifice” is to give up something of great value in favor of something of less, and down that road is heartbreak, misery, and poverty. God gave you a mind for thinking, and agency for acting on your thoughts. To decide that “Joe” is more important to you than “Bob,” and then abandon Joe and go with Bob is not only stupid, it spits on your divine agency.

People will agonize over a value judgment. They will tear their hearts out over it, and finally come to the decision. Then, when it comes time to act on that decision, they find it easier to go with the lesser value. Having had the courage and integrity to make the value judgment, how could they lack the courage to act on it? I don’t know, but I’ve sure seen it a lot.

Values are a matter of your choice, which means they can change. That’s normal and indicates a process of maturing. Sometimes. Other times, it is an indication that your brain has slipped below your belt. Welcome to the human race.

Have courage, my Angel. Work hard at making your own value judgments. Then do what you judge to be right, and keep those people and things that you value most. When you screw up, look your mistake dead in the eye and acknowledge it. Then tell the people you’ve hurt you are sorry. Then shut the door on it and get on with your life.

Love you like breathin’, My Precious


You have an obligation to examine the ideas you were raised with, and see if you really    believe them. Just do this one thing: Be as hard and merciless in evaluating new ideas as in evaluating the old ones.

Your character and the quality of your life will depend on the ideas by which you live. You will never make decisions more important than these. It is for this that your Father in Heaven gave you that fabulous mind and the agency to allow it to direct your actions. Ideas about right and wrong, values, morals, and even politics are not silly, useless, mind games for professors and geeks. They are the very building blocks of the life you will live. They will determine whom you marry, what kind of a wife and mother you become, and how you will fit into the world. Anyone who tells you these things are pointless is probably trying to get you to do something stupid. Get away from him.

Everyone has a standard of moral value. It may be love, money, or fame. It may be chastity or sexual pleasure – sobriety or inebriation – but everyone has a standard. That’s how we make decisions about what we will do. Every decision in life is governed by the answer to the question, “Which is better?” Your standard of value is simply the thing you use to decide the answer. Which course will give you more money? More fame? More Love? More sex? More power? More peace? Everyone has a standard.

Seek out people who share your values. A great philosopher said that when you find someone who shares your most deeply-treasured values, you will be compelled to love that person. What kind of sense does it make to get romantically involved with someone who treasures things you despise? Trust your own value judgments, and stick to them.

As you trust your own value judgments, you will see how they steer your life. Never be afraid to change or adjust your values, but never do so out of a desire to fit in, or make people like you – or to annoy someone. They’ll end up despising you, anyway, and you’ll despise yourself.

The concept of self-esteem is a load of horseshit. It is utterly meaningless. It cannot exist without the opinions and charity of others. Self-esteem is sort of like a wart on your butt – just something you were born with, that hangs out when the pretty wrappings are removed.

The valid concept you should be concerned with is self-respect! Self-respect has to be earned, like any other kind. It is sort of a paycheck you give yourself for being a good person. Self-respect is priceless. It is earned. It is justified. It is based on the recognition of real value in yourself. Self-esteem can’t be sold. Self-respect can’t be bought. Self-respect lets you look squarely into the eyes of that girl whose makeup you put on and tell her, “Well done, Kiddo.”

Love you like breathin’, My Love


Christmas day, 2009

My dearest Daughter,

On this, your last Christmas with us as a child, I have wanted to give you something personal, and something uniquely from me. In the time we’ve lived together, I’ve done a lot more wrong than right, and most of the things that were right somehow or another came out wrong, or were at the wrong time, or whatever.

So here I sit, trying hard to come up with something that will be right. In all the world, there is only one thing I can offer you tonight with absolute confidence of its rightness. It is my testimony.

I know, because I have been shown, that the Book of Mormon is true, and is precisely what it purports to be – the inspired word of God, written by His prophets. The truth of it has been shown to me by example, in the lives of the men and women who have sealed their testimonies with their blood and toil. It has been shown to me in principle, with the utterly irrefutable, unflinching logic of creation. It has been shown to me in the abstract by the power of that same “shock of recognition” of which people speak concerning the power of an artwork. It has been whispered to me a thousand times by a quiet voice that springs from the synapses of my own mind, and says to me, “This is so.” And sometimes, by that same voice thundering like a cannon in my head.

There is no way that book can be a mundane work of a mortal man. It is either of God or of Satan, and, as a house divided against itself cannot stand, Satan could not and would not offer up such a testament of Jesus Christ.

What you are about to do – to be sealed to your husband for time and all eternity in the temple – in The House of the Lord – is right and proper. It is the most correct thing you will ever do. No matter what comes after this – no trial, no disappointment, not even betrayal – can change the fact that to offer yourselves up to be sealed in His Temple is an act of faith and righteousness that will never be discounted or discredited.

I pray with all my heart and soul that your husband will love you as I have, that he will try as hard to please you and care for you as I have, and that he will have all the success that has eluded me in these things. The love that I have had for you is one of the best and truest things I’ve ever done. I do not deny or regret a second of it.

And most of all, my darling, I will daily pray for your happiness, and that you will always have an unshakeable faith in and testimony of The Savior and of the Gospel. This is my best gift to you, in the name of our Brother and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Your stepfather,


April, 2013

This morning, my thoughts are dwelling on a particular woman, and what she has meant to me over the years. Many’s the time if I wanted to do something stupid or reckless or dangerous, she was right there by me saying, “Okay let’s go!”

I’ve watched her acting the perfect flibbertygibbet, and without breaking stride or rhythm, look me dead in the eye, and say something so profound – and so far beyond her years! – that it would stop me like a brick wall.

I’ve seen her generosity toward strangers, her gentleness toward scared or savage creatures, her capacity for love and loyalty that is apparently without limit. I have also seen and felt the icy, razor-steel of her scorn and the withering fire of her rebuke.

I have watched her try things that scared her, and wipe away the blood and try again, and thirty minutes later play the most helpless, girly girl in town.

She has allowed me to be a part of her learning and growing, and of this, perhaps, I am most proud. We have made each other blisteringly furious, and wept on each other without shame at the death of a pet, or a few other things that are not for public knowledge, but may or may not have to do with jail.

More than once, I have hit what I thought was my limit; I have written the letter and loaded the pistol, then on the way out the door, thought, “No. She may need me someday,” and turned back, torn up the letter, unloaded the pistol, and gone back into the battle. In this sense, she is, literally, the reason I live. She is woman essential – love incarnate – mi corazon – mi ‘hita.

Happy 21st, Baby


No date

Hi, Sweetie. I hope your visit with your boyfriend’s family is going well. If you are just yourself, I honestly can’t see how anyone could not love you.

I need to explain something I said yesterday at lunch. What I’m about to say is not “Mormon,” or even religious in a strict sense. It is universal, and is valid no matter what your philosophy. Also, I don’t mean to tell you what to do; this is just about principles.

When you were telling me about your boyfriend, I said that Catholics believe in the Old Testament, including the book of Genesis, which contains this verse: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)

You sort of pounced on that, and said you were going to remind him of it, and thereby, my daughter, hangs a grave risk. By all means, discuss the Scriptures with your man; I encourage you to make them a part of your life together. I firmly believe that adherence to Scriptural principles will make a stronger marriage – provided you are both sincere, consistent, and humble.

I would point out two principles: first, never use the Scriptures as a weapon or as a way to win arguments or get your way. It seemed to me that after the first year of my marriage to your mother, the only time the Scriptures were mentioned in the house was when someone wanted to beat me up about something. That’s not what they are for; it is hurtful to the recipient of the beating and brings a spirit of negativity, or even condemnation to what should be sweet and encouraging.

Second, do your best to be in compliance with the Scriptures before you quote them as counsel to another. You have always been very sensitive to and aware of hypocrisy, and you have rightly scolded me for it on a number of occasions. If you quote a Scripture to someone when you are in violation of it or another, similar one, the other person has every right and reason to admonish you. I’m sure you respect The Savior’s counsel when He said, “Let he who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone.” This does NOT mean you have to be perfect before offering counsel or opinion; Heaven will be filled with deeply flawed people. Just do your best.

You will find people much more receptive to what you say if you seek first to understand, and then to be understood. Instead of saying, “You are not following this Scripture,” try asking, “What is your thinking on [or interpretation of] this Scripture?” As you ask this, it is absolutely essential that you ask in sincerity, and after you ask, SHUT UP AND LISTEN! Otherwise, the other person will rightly believe you are setting a trap.

Every caution in the three previous paragraphs should be multiplied by ten when dealing with your mate or spouse! Think of it is as being sort of like teaching a rattlesnake how to brush his teeth.

I love you more than breathin’.


17 January, 2011

Good morning, Baby.  Hope you are well and happy this day.  We had such a good time with you and Matt last night!  Everyone loved the dinner.

You know what a tough time I’ve had of dealing with your being out on your own.  It hasn’t been because I think there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just been hard to see you out in the world on your own.  I wasn’t tired of your being 10, yet, you know?

But last night something changed for me – not saying I’m finished with being dumb about it, but it changed.  I watched you bustling around in your kitchen, fixing dinner for your guests, visiting with them and taking care of them.  I watched you flirting with your man and him with you – making promises that couldn’t be kept with others in the house.  There was some emotion I couldn’t quite nail down, but it was very strong.

It took me a while to sort it out, but you know how anal I am about analyzing and pondering, and it came to me this morning while I was brushing my teeth.  It was the sense of rightness about the whole thing.  You weren’t created to be a little girl; you were created to be a woman, and sure as the world, there you were, being a woman in your house – the woman of your house – your man’s woman – your parent’s daughter – your sister’s sister.  It was a perfect scene of what’s right in life.

So I’m sitting here, alone in the dark, about to leave for work, with big ol’ fat tears puddling down my face, but they are different tears than have been there the past year or so.  I’m not saying I won’t still be all goofy about hugging you and worrying about you, but I think it will be different, now.  You will be my Baby for all time and eternity, but I’m a lot closer to being comfortable with your being a grownup lady.

I love you more than breathin’.


I’ve taught you how to keep your fingers safe around a saw.
I’ve taught you how to watch for passive tense.
I’ve taught you that it’s best to be respectful of the law,
And how to tighten chainlink on a fence.

I did my best to teach you how to mop and sweep and dust,
And to keep a tighter rein on that smart lip.
(I might have been the one who taught you how to cuss,
But I know I didn’t teach you how to dip!)

I know I’ve taught you how to ride a bike and drive.
I’ve taught you how to shoot and set a pole.
But have I taught you what you need to know to stay alive?
Have I taught you how to love and keep your soul?

My Darling, have I taught you how to live?
Have I taught you right from wrong?
When to keep and when to give?
Or how to find the notes to sing your song?

Have I taught you how to speak your very heart to God,
To be your husband’s woman and his wife?
To keep on learning when life spareth not the rod?
Have I taught you to be humble and the value of your life?

Some lessons help to feed you, some give your heart its wings,
And I pray I’ve done my part to help you learn.
For the world is full of children who never learned these things,

And I wonder what reward their fathers earn.


The only product of a government is force. It passes and enforces laws by force of arms. To become a millionaire in government, one must sell a lot of force to someone who can pay for it.

Capitalism features the private ownership (that means control) of goods and the means of producing them.

So if the control (that means ownership) of goods and services is in the hands of the government, which is not a private body, how is that capitalism in any form?

The term “crony capitalism” is a hopeless contradiction – a lie – a fallacy – a Frankenstein ‘s monster of the Progressive fascists who wish to turn the American people against the system that has made them free and wealthy beyond the imagination of earlier generations.


Here’s one of those “imponderables” that bears pondering. For the last 30 years or so, it has become increasingly hard to get a job in design, engineering, research, technical writing, instructional design, training and development, etc, without a degree. As of now, it is just about impossible. Experience counts for absolutely nothing. In other words, the great majority of people in those positions (obviously, I don’t have a real number, but I’d be surprised if it is below 99%.) have degrees, and many of them masters and doctorates.
Okay. Now hold that thought.
Now, think about how many things in our world, from products to services to customer service to instruction manuals to power tools – to every bloody thing in our world – that is stupid, ill-conceived, poorly designed, impractical, downright crappy and non-functional. Think about how many millions of hours and dollars are spent trying to make all of this slipshod, moronic crap work in the real world.
Okay. Now combine that thought with the first one.
ALL OF THAT USELESS, FRUSTRATING, INFURIATING S*** WAS DESIGNED BY PEOPLE WITH COLLEGE DEGREES! In the meantime, people without degrees, who might have the sense God gave a yellow-handled screwdriver, are working at minimum wage shoveling manure.

TRICKLE-DOWN, II (with a side excursion into investments)

(This is the second of two essays on “Trickle-down economics” that I wrote in 2010 and 2011.  There is some redundancy of principles, but perhaps the different presentation will be worthwhile.)

A comparison: Secenario 1 – the government takes money from them that has it and gives it to them that don’t. Them that has just gotten it spends it on… whatever, and then they don’t have it no more. Them to whom it was spent has it now, so they spends it on… whatever. So on and on.

In this scenario, the money was placed in the hands of a chosen elite, and from there it distilled out across the economic society – or, dare I say, “Trickled down.”

Scenario 2 – the government lets them that made the money keep it. Some of it they spends on… whatever, then they don’t have so much no more. Them to whom it was spent has it now, so they spends it on… whatever. And so on and on. Now, them that made the money didn’t spend all they had ’cause they’s so stinkin’, flithy rich. So what does they do with the rest of it? They invests it.

What does that mean? It means that the money is loaned to them that needs it to start new businesses or expand existing businesses, or buy houses, or take vacations, or send their babies to college, or… whatever. And, as in every case, them to whom the money was given spends it, and them to whom it was spent spends it… and so on and on.  (For more thoughts on investment, see below.)

In this scenario, the money was left in the hands of the organizers (or creators) of wealth, and from there, it distilled across the economic society – or, dare I say, “Trickled down.”

In spite of the apparent equivalency of the bottom line, the two scenarios are vastly different. In the first, there is chattel slavery of anyone the government chooses to call “rich.” In the second, there is liberty.

In the first, decisions on the seizure and redistribution of wealth are made by government flacks who are known, beyond any shadow of a doubt, to be stinkin’ crooks. In the second, some distributions may also be made my corporate flacks who are stinkin’ crooks, but some will be made by those who understand things like honor, courage, integrity, risk, desire, drive, and persistence.

And here is a difference that I have never read anywhere else: In the first scenario, graft is a recognized, institutionalized part of the culture, to be aided, edified, sucked-up to, and bartered for more of the same.

In the second scenario, graft is a crime, and is punishable to the extent that the people have the will to punish it.


In the second scenario above, the wealthy are allowed to dispose of their wealth as they see fit. Some of that wealth will be invested. This is a phenomenon one does not see in statist, or fascist economies.

It does not matter where the wealth is invested; the principles are the same.

Here’s a shocker: Really rich people don’t put their money in mason jars in the back yard. Nope. They put it in banks, or CD’s, or bonds, or stocks, etc.. Why do they do that?

According to the fascists, the rich want to hurt the poor by keeping all that money out of circulation. That’s why the fascists want to seize their money and “put it back in circulation.” Fascists are all about helping the poor, don’t you know.

In reality, rich people invest their money because it makes them more money! How’s that for philosophical consistency, eh? Rich people want to get richer! Wow! Who saw that coming?

Investment means “renting money,” or, more correctly, “renting wealth,” but I don’t want to drive any Keynesians over the edge. Yet. Renting money works just like renting a TV to some loser who is willing to squander a week’s pay on a big-screen TV just for Super Bowl Weekend. You let him have the TV, but you charge him for the use of it. An investor loans someone his money, but charges him a little for the use of it. (NOTE: The word “LOAN” means that you use something, but you have to give it back. This may be a dreadful shock to people who thought Barack would see to it that they never had to pay for anything again.)

When a rich guy puts him money in a bank, the bank pays him rent on it. That’s what interest is. Where does the bank get the money to pay him interest? Well – follow me on this – they loan the money to their customers, and charge them a bit of interest. How much interest?  Well, it has to be more than they pay the rich guy; otherwise, they’d go in the hole, and then they wouldn’t be bankers; they’d be politicians.

Money, like beans or any other commodity, is subject to the law of supply and demand. Yes, money has a price: the interest you pay when you borrow it. The more money that is available to be loaned, the lower the price, ie, the lower the interest rate. The more rich guys there are, putting money into banks and stocks and stuff, the lower the interest rate for Joe Lunchbucket who wants to add a new bedroom so his first kid doesn’t become a birth control device preventing the second one.

There is only one way to make sure Joe Lunchbucket and his family can borrow the money they need for quality of life improvements – or to make sure the construction company that hires Joe can borrow money to finance new trucks – or to make sure the reformed gang-banger who has a breathtaking skill with a can of spray paint can get a student loan to study art:


That’s the only way.

If a politician were really and truly interested in helping ol’ Joe get a leg up, you’d think that politician would try to keep interest rates down, wouldn’t you? But what does our current crop of looters want to do? They want to destroy the rich (well, not right away – they want to use them as “living meat,” like some New Guinea tribes did by keeping captives alive while whittling off the odd chop or roast. Keeps the meat from spoiling.)

But, wait! the fascists whine. The government can just order the banks to keep interest rates low, and loan to anyone who needs it. Yep. Didn’t we just see what happens when you do that?

For cryin’ out loud, you liberal idiots! How many times do you have to chase that skunk under the house before you learn to leave him the hell alone?


(This is part I of two essays on so called “Trickle-down economics” and the fallacies thereunto pertaining.  These two essays were written several months apart in 2010 and 2011.)

The idea of trickle-down economics is one of the more curious ironies in modern economic thought.   The first element of that irony is the name, itself.  The second is that while the name was meant to belittle the concept, it accurately expresses that which makes the principle good and true.

The left holds the idea in utter contempt, and will use it as a club against anyone who has the nerve to imply that all people might be better off if affluence were possible.  They call the idea “Reaganomics,” as if it were the product of a mind so sick and twisted and preposterous as to actually advocate liberty – albeit for the sake of the state.

Ronald Reagan came up with the idea that if you let people get rich, they’d spend money and it would diffuse over the entire economy and everyone would benefit.  Of course, he wasn’t the first one to think this, but the statists like to pretend no one else was stupid enough to believe that if a private citizen spends money on something, that money will actually go to other people. In the statist world view, when a rich person spends money, it just falls into a hole and vanishes.

At the core of trickle-down is a very simple proposition.  Let’s say some guy buys a 10-million dollar yacht.  What happens to that money?  I will follow a single stream of it.

Some will go to the shipyard that built the yacht, and of that, some will go to the designers, some to the workers, and some will go to the yard, itself.

Some of what goes to the yard will go to pay for materials, transportation, utilities, advertising, and a jillion other things.

Of that which goes for materials, some will go the providers of fiberglass, some to lumberyards, to steel mills, fabric mills, brass and aluminum foundries, and so on.

Of that which does to the lumberyards, some will go to the owners thereof, some to the sawyers, some to the truckers, some to the HR people, some to the secretaries, and so on… and on…. and on…. and on…. and on…. and on.

That money will go to tens of thousands of people in a never-ending cycle.  Every person who gets a cut of it will either save or spend it, and even that which is saved will touch others, because the banks will loan it to entrepreneurs for startups, to young couples for houses, to hospitals for expansion… There is literally no end to it.  Every person who touches any that money will benefit from it.  But we can’t have that!

Enter the government.  Reagan believed that by allowing that 10 million dollars to diffuse freely through the market, everyone who touched it would pay a share of it in taxes, and the government would be better off. Unfortunately, he was exactly right.  Not moral, but right.

In a free economy, all of those people would decide, on their own, what to do with their cut.  Anyone who wanted a cut of the ten mil would have to come up with something of value to those who had the money to start with.  Workers would have to provide skilled labor.  Merchants would have to provide food, clothing, housing, medicine, etc.. There are discretionary things, too: fishing gear, new cars, pets, art, vacations – and, yes, for those statists who suffer a glandular compulsion to shriek of the horrors of freedom, some would go to booze and commercial sex.  (Remember these hookers; we’ll come back to them.)

When people are free to act in their own best interests, there’s no telling what they might do.  Scary, eh?  But the government has a cure for that.  The government steps in with a luxury tax, to punish that rich SOB for having 10 million bucks, in the first place.  Instead of all that money going into the monetary wake of that lovely yacht, half of it goes to taxes, which means it goes to the government in exchange for its production of… what?

That means the rich guy only gets half as much yacht, so his lifestyle is cramped.  The shipyard, steel mills, truckers, secretaries, and everyone else in the system has to split 5 mil instead of 10.  The lifestyle of every one of those people is now cut in half, just like that of the rich guy.  The trucker has half as much to spend on necessities and luxuries.  He is considerably less comfortable, and the rich guy has to slum it in a 5-million dollar yacht.  Who got punished?

It sure as hell wasn’t the blood-sucking vermin in the government!  That 5 mil in taxes went to people who never did a stinkin’ thing in their lives but rob those who had more courage, more vision, and more drive than they.  It went to breed more treasury rats to scurry about the land, gnawing at the entrails of the people’s dreams and the desecrated corpse of the people’s liberty. Some of it went to New Orleans, to buy crack and booze and Chicom CD players for the “victims” of Katrina.  And again, some of it went to the hookers who serve the bureaucrats.

To be sure, some of it went to relieve the worthy poor – like the mother of the trucker – the trucker who couldn’t afford to pay his mom’s rent because he was only making half what he should have.  And don’t forget the hookers, whose income has strangely doubled.  Oh, and some went for penicillin shots for the 13-year old Guatemalan sex slaves in Acorn’s cathouses.  That’s a good investment, don’t you think?

The stark fact is that “trickle-down” means nothing more than if people are allowed to make money and spend it, everyone but the statists benefits.  That’s precisely why the statists hate it so much.  They hate freedom because free men will serve their own values, not those of some two-bit thug in an imported suit.  They hate happiness because happy men will find better things to do than enslaving their neighbors.  They hate wealth, because having tasted it, no man with a shred of honor will ever stick his head under the yoke of poverty and dictatorship.

Two things about those hookers:  they’re getting paid for doing what the rest of us are paying to have done to us, and, unlike the government, they are actually providing a service.  (Hookers need fancy clothes, so Frederick’s of Hollywood will get some of the loot.)

(PS – My spell checker told me that “cathouses” is one word, not two.  It struck me as funny that the spell checker would know that – and that I wouldn’t!)


(I had actually written the first draft of this before I heard Barack Obama’s insanely stupid comment that the government had created the middle class by applying the GI bill after WWII.  Published on my old blog in Feb., 2014)

Where did we get a middle class?

In the beginning, everybody was dirt poor, and I mean DIRT poor.  Now, I’m talking about the real beginning, before there were enough people to call a “society,” or even a village.  Each person had to produce whatever they needed to live; there were no stores, or even other people to trade with.  There was no upper, middle, or lower class.

People being as fecund then as now, at some point, there were enough individuals that somebody said, “Look here.  I’m really good at gathering firewood, but I can’t make those dandy badger hide skivvies nearly as well as you.  How about I bring you some wood, and you make me a pair of skivvies?”  (Actually, this is an exact quote.  Some translations have it as porcupine quill skivvies.)   Thus was born the idea of trade and the specialization of labor.  It probably didn’t take long before people were trading all kinds of things.

This barter economy went on for a long time because there was no such thing as money.  People traded goods and services directly for goods and services.  Some gradually amassed more wealth than their neighbors, but the differences weren’t great because the limiting factor was how much livestock or whatever one person could manage.

Now here’s a critical distinction:  wealth vs. money.  Wealth is real stuff – goods and property – chickens, firewood, berries, those nifty badger hide skivvies, clubs, flint knives, etc..  In a village where everybody likes his yardbird, the citizen with a mess of chickens would be considered wealthy.  ‘cause he’s got all that wealth, see?

Money is something that stands for wealth.  Today, a dollar bill stands for a certain amount of real, tangible goods.  The bill, itself, isn’t wealth.  It is, in every particular, a universal certificate of value. A barter economy doesn’t need money.

I’ve never travelled with chickens, but intuition tells me they’d be a pain in the butt before you’d gone very far.  A barter economy, in which people trade wealth directly, limits mobility.  It also limits invention because whether its chickens or hide skivvies, having ones’ wealth concentrated in such commodities is very time-consuming.  Also, if you can barter for anything you need, there’s not a lot of motivation to invent.

Back to the story.  Many years after the passing of the guy who started trading firewood, somebody came up with the idea of leaving the chickens at home and travelling with certificates, or chits, as we call them in the Marines.  He’d go to the next village and strike deal to trade 20 chickens for a camel.  To the camel dealer he’d give a chit that was redeemable for 20 chickens.  The camel dealer would send his lackey to Chickenville.  The lackey would present the chicken chit, and haul the chickens back to Camelville.  As long as everybody actually had the wealth that was represented by the chits, it worked great.  A pox on the SOB who figured out he could write chits for anything, whether he had it or not, but it probably happened fairly early in this whole process.

This business of chits, or certificates was revolutionary.  It allowed people to travel much more easily, but sooner or later, the camel dealer would have needed to trade for a new cook pot, which was available in Camelville, but the proportion of the wealth being traded was odd.  A whole camel would buy one hell of a big pot – or more little ones that anyone could reasonably use – and trading just a camel’s leg for a pot of the right size would markedly diminish the value of the camel for later commerce.

But, wait!  The camel dealer has this chit for 20 chickens, and two chickens would get him a perfect pot!  So he goes to the pot dealer (different from modern pot dealers, BTW), and says, “Hey, ol’ Cluckenheimer in Chickenville is holding 20 chickens for me – see, here’s the chicken chit – and I’ll sign two of them over to you in exchange for a pot.”

Do you see what happened right there?  Commerce happened without a single chicken actually changing hands!  Brilliant!  Man, did that ever catch on!  Pretty soon, folks were trading chits for everything under the sun, and, true to human nature, some sharpies started trading counterfeit chits, and even stealing the real ones.  (The convenience was a two-edged sword; you could hide a stolen certificate for a dozen camels considerably easier than the camels, themselves.)  As Sir Walter Scott would observe later, it is an ill wind that blows no one some good, and this mischief with certificates and robbery was no exception.   It led to the rise of a subspecies of HH Sapiens called “factors,” which morphed into bankers.

In exchange for one chicken, the factor would hold the certificate for the others and guarantee its legitimacy.  These certificates were the beginning of money. This development allowed people to accumulate money, rather than the wealth it stood for.  By trading money for wealth, or even for more money, some people rose above the subsistence level.  It was literally possible to have more money than actual, real wealth.

Now here’s where we get to the point of this riveting drama.  For the longest time, there was one class of people: struggling.  Even the best off among them struggled.  After the development of the rudiments of money, there came to be a class that struggled a lot less.  Now there were two.

Eventually, the specialization of labor and the mobility of the population allowed some, but not all of the upper class to actually become even more wealthy, and now there were three.  There were the poor, who struggled with subsistence.  There were the quite wealthy, who had considerable wealth and/or the money that represented it.  And in the middle, there was a – wait for it – middle class that had risen from real poverty, but hadn’t attained great wealth.  This happened at least several weeks before the end of WWII.

The admonitions to take care of the poor that fill the Old Testament stand witness to this shift.  In fact, the Bible speaks of the rich and the poor as being very distinct from the intended audience of the Books.  This group that was neither rich nor poor was the “middle class.  In Biblical days, the vast majority of very wealthy people were actually the ruling class – the royalty, dictators, and high priests – many of whom had seized the wealth of those who had created it.  This actually created a fourth economic class: looters who existed only because there were wealthy producers for them to devour.

There had been a very gradual shift in the structure of human society from the days of our wood-swapper.  The middle class was not created by the rich, and it sure as shootin’ wasn’t created by any government!  It was created by poor folks who slaved and worked and saved and took risks and lifted themselves by blood, sweat, and sheer force of will.  Some of them continued on the trajectory and became wealthy. .  The rich didn’t voluntarily build up some of the poor for the purpose of creating a middle class.  The middle class was not created by gutting the rich and giving their wealth to the poor, and Obama’s statement that it was is a measure of the man’s willingness to lie through his teeth.  (Or of his sheer, jaw-dropping stupidity.)

The existence of a middle class is an indication of a healthy economy and society only insofar as its existence proves that growth is possible – that it is possible to have wealth beyond what is needed for subsistence.  The middle class is not a primary, or essential part of our society or our economy.  It is, rather, proof of the moral substance of our form of government, and its decline is presaged by the decline of that government.   “Preserving the middle class,” as our president is fond of ranting about, is absurd.  The only way to help the middle class is to leave them alone!  If one would increase the size of the middle class, one should concentrate on eliminating things that keep the poor from advancing, or, specifically, protect and promote the things that allowed a middle class to exist.

Two things, other than hard work, made the birth of a middle class possible.  One was the existence of wealth, in the first place.  Careful, now; that’s wealth, not money.  A society must be able to produce wealth sufficient to meet the primary needs of the people, and a little more for those driven to accumulate.  If a society produces no wealth, there can be no advancement from poverty.  Had there been no wealth to be gathered, what could possibly have motivated the poor to work like that?

The second thing was freedom.  Freedom allowed those with the drive, intelligence, and a measure of luck to rise above poverty.  In essence, they had someplace to go and the freedom to go there.  Had there been no freedom, those in power would certainly not have allowed anyone but themselves to have any wealth, at all.

The surest way to destroy the middle class is to destroy those two things – destroy that to which the people might aspire, and destroy their freedom to build themselves up by honest effort.  Destroying the rich will accomplish both, and we will be back in that medieval state in which the terms “rich” and “poor” are replaced with the terms “powerful” and “powerless,” with the powerless living in horrid squalor while the powerful suck the life out of them in a ghastly ritual of economic cannibalism.

The sheer, staggering moral stature of the American Republic has always been proven by the fact  that the rich and the powerful were two distinct groups.  When the statists have destroyed the rich, there will be only the powerful.  The rest of us will exist only at their pleasure.

And that, brothers and sisters, is precisely their objective.


(This was written in Feb., 2013, after Vice President Joe Biden, or Shotgun Joe, gave the nation some really terrible, dangerous, criminal advice about home defense.)

The Vice President of the United States, one Joe Biden, if the press is to be believed, said, in public, that Americans should buy double-barreled shotguns for personal defense, and that if threatened, they should go outside and fire a couple of blasts, which should scare away most intruders.  This has to be some of the worst advice ever given by any human being.  I will address a few points very briefly, but the main thrust of this essay will be a discussion of shotguns, in general, as primary weapons for personal defense.

First, it is illegal in most areas to promiscuously fire live ammunition into the surrounding environment.  This happens to be a law of which I approve, because guns, in general, including shotguns, discharge projectiles at sufficient velocities to kill or main HH Sapiens and other creatures, as well as to damage property. (“It’s only property!  Don’t be such a materialist!  Yeah, how about the baby that was sleeping under the window you just blew out?)  These projectiles have to come to earth somewhere.   (Biden may not be familiar with life on a planet that has gravity, such as the planet Pelosi, for example.  Incidentally, this would explain as well as the Botox theory that entity’s gravity-defying facial structure.) When those projectiles come to earth, they are quite capable of doing serious injury to people.  The liberals love to howl and snivel, “If it only saves ONE child…”  Let’s change that to, “If it only kills ONE child, it’s okay as long as you don’t use an AR-15.”

Second, humans have two primary responses to fear:  flight and fight.  If your intruder happens to have a flight response, you’re good, except for all that innocent bystander trivia. However, if your intruder happens to have a fight response, you have several problems.  (1), you have just announced your presence and your position.  (2) You have just announced the fact that you are armed.  (3) You have just launched into the atmosphere deadly missiles, in an unknown direction, giving your intruder a very plausible opportunity to say, “I thought she was shooting at me, so I shot back.” (4) You have just emptied your weapon, leaving you at your attacker’s mercy, even if he doesn’t have a firearm. (Are you ready to spar with a possibly drugged-up criminal, probably in the dark, with the lives of yourself and your family at stake?  If so, you’re as much an idiot is this Biden entity.)  and (5) You have just wasted two rounds of ammunition that you might need shortly if it turns out your intruder is actually a gang.  Oh, and (6) You have just violated Heaven knows how many local statutes about reckless endangerment, and, if there is a shred of justice left in America, will be facing jail time.

Third, a 12 gauge shotgun is most emphatically NOT easier to handle than an AR or any other weapon of that class.  In fact, the AK rifles and SKS rifles are works of sheer genius in that they are very easy for inexperienced people to operate. Why do you think you see so many mindless cretins carrying them around the world?  My goodness, even a Jihadist can operate an AK!  Those rifles are superb militia weapons because they are as nearly idiot-proof as any on the market.  A shotgun has much, much greater recoil than an AR, making it a very poor choice for a person of advanced years, small stature, or physical infirmity, such as arthritis.  The double-barreled shotgun, especially, is awkward and time-consuming to reload. The shotgun is longer than an AR, especially an AR with a compact stock, and much more difficult to swing or point in a confined space, such as a hallway or entryway.  (This is not as much a factor if you figure on going out in the yard to indiscriminately spray buckshot around.)

In short, Biden’s advice is criminally insane and/or subhumanly stupid.  It is proof positive of his utter incompetence and incapacity to handle the job, even one described by my cousin, John, Nance Garner, thusly:  “This job isn’t worth a cup of warm spit.”  The fact that Obama nominated him and still supports and promotes him is, likewise, proof positive that Obama is equally moronic and vastly more corrupt; Joe can’t help being what he is, but Obama likes him by choice.  This administration is unfit for public service at any level, and the only proper response, at this point, is impeachment and incarceration, if not execution for treason.  I would apply this judgment to all in the legislature who have supported them.

Last, and most significantly, the reelection of these cretins by a majority of the American population is proof positive that America is doomed.  Unless you happen to be surrounded by close friends and fellow travelers, look left.  Look right.  Both of those people would rather see you dead or in chains than be held accountable for their own actions.  Prepare accordingly.

Now.  Let’s discuss the role of the shotgun in personal defense.  I love shotguns. At close to intermediate ranges – up to about 50 yards – they are extremely effective against unarmored targets. With some modification, they can be made into very practical and flexible close quarters weapons, but off the shelf, most shotguns are, at best, compromises in this regard.

Vocabulary:   A shotgun is a smoothbore shoulder-held weapon.  “Smoothbore” means it does not have rifling – those spinney little grooves inside the barrels of “rifles.”  This limits the accurate range and velocity of the projectiles.  A modest rifle cartridge will push a bullet in the neighborhood of 1700-2000 feet per second, and be accurate to several hundred yards.  A really hot 12-gauge round runs about 1500-1600 fps, and is accurate to 50-75 yards.  Velocity gives you range and shocking power.

A shotgun can fire a solid projectile, called a slug, but the vast majority of defensive and sporting shotgun ammunition fires “shot,” or pellets.  These pellets range in size from 1.3mm to 9.4mm.  “Birdshot” is on the smaller end, while “Buckshot” is on the bigger end.  (Buckshot gets its name from its use in hunting deer.)  Shotgun ammunition is available in many different loadings.  The “heavier” loads have more shot and more powder, making them more effective for defense, but also increasing the recoil significantly.  Remember Newton?  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction?  If you drive a lot of shot real fast, the reaction – “recoil” – is going to be more than if you drive less shot more slowly.  The “lightest” 12 gauge ammunition will kick MUCH harder than an AR-15, or even an AK.

A “riot gun” is nothing more than a shotgun with a short barrel, generally 18 inches.  The barrels were not shortened to make the shot spread, but to make them more easily handled in confined spaces, such as jails, alleys, and trenches. A “pump” shotgun is a magazine-fed weapon with a sliding pump that you have to pull to the rear and shove back forward in order to throw the spent shell out of the weapon and put a live one into firing position.  A “semi-auto” shotgun, like any other semi-auto, uses the propellant gas (from that loud explosion) or the recoil, itself to drive the action backward, and a spring to shove it back forward.  NOTE:  the operations on a pump or semi-auto firearm are identical. The only difference is in whether you have to cycle it, yourself, or the weapon does it for you.  “Automatic” shotguns, like “automatic” rifles, are illegal, and have been for many years.

MYTH 1:  You can’t miss with a shotgun.  Bull. Given that over 95% of all civilian shootings occur at ranges under 15 feet, the pattern (spread of the shot) is less than an inch.  A .45 (diameter .45”) projectile gives you a margin of error between hitting and missing of about +/- 3/16 inch. So a shotgun gains you, at most, a half-inch of margin.  That is insignificant, and damned sure doesn’t make it impossible to miss someone!  People will tell you that if you have a short barrel, the shot spreads more. The minimum legal barrel length for shotguns is 18 inches.  The most common length for “sporting” use shotguns is between 26 and 28 inches.  The difference in shot spread, at common combat ranges, is, at most ¼ inch.  Also, the shorter the barrel, the lower the velocity of the shot.  You see, in a longer barrel, the gasses from the gunpowder have more time to accelerate the pellets.  If you cut a barrel down to the point that you have an appreciably wider pattern, you will lose so much velocity that the impact will be much less, and your chance of stopping the fight proportionately less.  (By the way, if anyone tells you to cut your shotgun down, even to 18 inches or more, you get away from that moron!  Cutting down any shoulder weapon is illegal, and, even if you are justified in shooting an intruder, will get you in prison – really, really, really prison!)

MYTH 2:  The sound of a pump shotgun being racked (that means pulling the pump back and forward) will scare off any intruder.  This is dangerous, even catastrophic advice.  Even if a person is sober, about half the population has a “fight” response when frightened, and will attack you when you rack your shotgun. Since you have just announced the fact that you are armed and plausibly have violent intent, you have invited what is otherwise a criminal maggot to enter under the full protection of the law if he burns you down.  If your intruder happens to be drunk or stoned, all bets are off, and you can find yourself with more close-up trouble than you can possibly imagine – or manage. I actually fired a load of 12 gauge, #4 buckshot (thirty-odd pellets, about 6mm, or .24 caliber) into the mud between a punk’s feet.  He sneered at me and said, “Man, if you choot me, I’ll tsue you!”  I said, “Why, you damnfool, if I shoot you, you’ll die.”  He’s standing there, splattered with mud, ears ringing, staring into the smoking hole in the end of that 870, (on which I had just racked the slide, by the way) and was utterly unimpressed.  Never, NEVER count on bluff!

MYTH 3:  A 12 gauge buckshot round is a 100% reliable, one-shot stopper.  Police blotters are filled with stories of people soaking up two or even three loads of buckshot and continuing to attack, or at least to function aggressively.  True, a shotgun is much more effective than many other weapons, but do not for a second believe that one round is going to end the fight.  Consider, for a moment, how our military personnel have been known to function – even get up and run around and carry their comrades on their backs – after being hit multiple times by rifles and shrapnel.  Criminals come from the same gene pool, and have the same physiology, even if sober, and on drugs – eee, forget it!  Figure on having to shoot any attacker at least twice, no matter what you shoot him with.  This means, of course, that a double-barreled shotgun, which can be loaded with a maximum of two rounds, it totally unsuited as a primary defensive weapon.  Of course, it’s a lot better than a ball bat or kitchen knife, but if you have a choice, don’t go for any one of the three.

MYTH 4:  Shotguns are easy to use and require no training or experience.  This is usually related to the “can’t miss” myth, and/or the “just rack the slide” myth. No matter what kind of weapon you choose, LEARN HOW TO USE THE DAMNED THING!  Loading a shotgun requires manual dexterity because you can’t just drop the empty magazine and slap in another one.  You have to load the rounds one at a time by stuffing them into a small slot in the belly of the beast.  You’re scared, stressed by being in a life-threatening situation, it may be dark (they love to cut the power before kicking in the door) you might be taking fire, your kids may be screaming in terror, (or worse, trying to run past you to get out of the house)…. The list of things that can make loading a shotgun one round at a time very difficult is long, indeed.  What if your hands are cold, or you have arthritis? In my opinion, a shotgun, especially a pump, requires more training than does an AR.  And don’t forget the tactical aspect, either.  Because of the length of a shotgun, you will need to ingrain patterns of movement that prevent you from bashing the muzzle into a wall and possibly dropping the weapon.  Again, whether you choose a butter knife or a shotgun for defense, learn it and practice with it.

In my opinion, a shotgun is not the best choice for a primary home defense weapon, and a double barreled shotgun is a piss-poor choice.  Talk about difficulty in reloading and vicious recoil!  The length of the weapon is a primary consideration.  For example, it is utterly impossible to use one in your car, and even in a house, getting it around corners and through hallways can be awkward even if you practice a great deal.  Consider the very short range of many civilian confrontations:  under 5 feet.  Even with a riot gun, that puts the muzzle well within his reach.  Can you keep a strong, fast, athletic man who is too stoned to care from jerking that thing out of your hand?

On the plus side for shotguns is the undeniable stopping power, and remember, your objective in a fight is NOT to kill the guy, but to STOP THE FIGHT.  Put him on his back, NOW!  Render him incapable of pressing his attack, NOW!  A shotgun is not a guaranteed, 100%, one-shot stopper, but it’s better than most handguns.  The ability of a projectile to penetrate anything comes from its mass.  A big bullet will penetrate more than a small bullet moving at the same speed.  The pellets in a birdshot cartridge are much smaller than the pellets in a buckshot cartridge, and thus have less penetrating ability.  This makes birdshot more attractive if there is a chance of your fire going through a wall and hitting someone on the other side.  Birdshot is utterly devastating on a human body, and is no less a stopper than buckshot, unless… UNLESS!… your opponent is wearing body armor, or even very heavy clothing, such as motorcycle racing gear or a heavy leather coat.  The impact will be as great, but the shot may not get into his muscle and nervous system, which means there is less chance of stopping the fight.  Of course, you could try the government’s approach and use signage to create an armor-free zone around your home.

I would much rather have a semi-auto shotgun for home defense because it could be, if necessary, operated with one hand.  It won’t be a picnic, because that sucker’s still gonna kick, but if you absolutely had to, you could hold it in one hand and get off several shots in a very short period of time.  They won’t be as accurate as if you use both hands, but if one hand is otherwise occupied or injured, it could be done.

So the bottom line is: pick a weapon with which you are comfortable, get a good coach, use realistic training scenarios, and PRACTICE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT, because…   I hope that’s obvious.  And one, purely personal note, pray for all you are worth that you never have to shoot another human being



We have all read stories of murder trials that have gone on for years.  Some of us have been involved in such trials as witnesses or as survivors of the victims.  The parade of evidence, examination, reexamination, and counter examination of witnesses can take hundreds of hours, and the smallest point of law or semantics can present seemingly insurmountable obstacles to the march of justice.  How many times have we seen people be acquitted on the basis of a technicality, sometimes as insignificant as a missing comma in a statement or an indictment?

We have a body that we can see, proving that a murder has been committed.  We have physical evidence that we can see – guns, knives, bloody clothing, and photos of the crime. We have forensic evidence that we can read – DNA, blood testing, and autopsy reports. We have the statements of witnesses, pro and con, that we can hear.  And yet getting to the truth of the matter can be agonizingly difficult.

Think about that:  with all of that information – sensorialy verifiable information, we can’t get to the truth about a crime.

Then along come the politically correct anointed ones with the concept of a “hate crime,” and millions of people who ought to know better are hornswoggled into going along with them.

“Hate” is an attitude, or a frame of mind.  It is something we think.  Hate happens in our heads.  It can affect certain bodily functions, such as pulse and blood pressure, but it is entirely, 100%, an internal, invisible thing.  Even if a person’s face goes red, there is no way to tell if it is from embarrassment, simple anger, sunburn, or hate.  Hate can affect behavior, but it can also be kept entirely buried in one’s mind, never exposing itself in any way.  Hatred can be carried, invisibly, from one generation to the next, without anyone ever knowing it’s there.  Has there ever been a case of a person carrying hatred his entire life and never acting on it?  It is possible that people around you right now hate something about you, but have the basic moral awareness to keep it to themselves?

Simply put, hate cannot be detected, at all.  Neither can the absence of hate.

Even if a person does something really vicious, how can we know whether it was motivated by hate, simple anger, mental instability, intoxication, or any one of a plethora of factors?  The concept of a hate crime implies that hate makes a crime more vicious than does mere rage or lust.  It also claims, explicitly, that hate can be detected beyond a reasonable doubt.  That is the classic standard of proof in the American legal system, isn’t it?  “Beyond a reasonable doubt.”

So we can spend months or years trying to prove what or who caused all those perforations in the body of the victim, and never know for sure, but we can tell beyond a reasonable doubt what the alleged perpetrator was thinking at the time?  I’m sorry, but that’s bloody stupid.

There is only one reason for the establishment of “hate crimes” in the American legal system:  to give prosecutors something with which they can charge a person that can never be proven or disproven.  Do you think you can prove you were not acting out of hate?  The person you are accused of assaulting is of a different race or religion than you, and we’ve seen a few cases of people like you acting out of prejudice or animosity against that group, so you must have been acting on hate.  No?  Prove it.  The prosecution has all the customary tools – evidence, witnesses, a body – and can prove, as well as we can ever prove anything – that a crime was committed.  Furthermore, it is well known that people like you hate people like the victim.  Therefore, you will be charged with a hate crime.

Certain groups are protected by hate crime laws, most notably Blacks, Jews, and homosexuals, though there may be others.  (Muslims currently enjoy the status of being beneficiaries of hate crime laws.)  This has nothing, whatever to do with the nature or character of those people or of the groups with which they identify!  It has to do with the manipulation of the legal system, and by extension, the very cultural fabric of America, by the anointed ones. With this simple mechanism, they have guaranteed themselves the political support of a huge class of artificial victims.  Cynical?  You’re damned right it is.  It allows the fascists – for the concept that some people are just automatically better and smarter than others is at the heart of fascism – to attack whomever they don’t like with a club that can’t be dodged.  If they charge you with assault, they have to provide evidence, but if they charge you with a hate crime… well, you’re done for.

Laws about “hate crimes” are nothing more or less than laws against certain thoughts.  They are laws against an attitude.  If the government can outlaw one type of thought or attitude, what’s to keep them from outlawing any other?  For that matter, what’s to keep them from defining any thought or attitude as hate?  Since a thought can’t be verified as being present or absent, it’s the perfect scam for enforcing politically correct absurdities on anyone they don’t like.

And I really hate that!



As is so often the case, I draw counsel on current events from examples in military history.  Today’s subject is the deep distaste many anti-Democrats feel for Trump, and the principle that, “The lesser of two evils is still evil.”  Trump doesn’t drive me into apoplexy, but I’m certainly not that fond of him, and I sure don’t trust him.  I also recognize the validity of the proverb about evil.

So what do we do, given that other people are largely in control of our choices?  If I may build a scenario…

Building a third party, whether on the bones of the Libertarian Party, which I don’t like, or the Constitution Party, which is very small right now, will take 4 to 16 years.  If we focus on that third party now, Hillary will win in ’16, and we will never have another chance.  The gravestone of our republic can read, “HERE LIES PRINCIPLE.  WE STOOD ON IT, AND IT IS BURIED WITH US.  NOW OUR ENEMIES STAND ON IT.”

I do not propose meekly voting for evil of any magnitude, but perhaps I can present a principled way of looking at this matter.

In 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union.  The stunning ferocity of the initial German attack literally destroyed Russian command, communications, and all organization above the platoon level.  German troops raced across Russia like sprinters.  At first, Stalin ordered massive counterattacks which were slaughtered.  The Russian army lacked the training, material, weapons, and manpower to even blunt the Blitzkrieg. Fortunately for Russia and the world, Marshall Zhukov understood the nature of his enemy, but more important, he understood the nature of the weapons with which he would fight him.

He retreated.  He waged a fighting withdrawal across the charred landscape of his native land.  (In fact, Zhukov’s orders to burn everything that might be of any use or comfort to the Germans was the origin of the phrase, “Scorched earth.”)  The Germans stretched further and the Russian lines became more compressed, but all the while, the Russian industrial monster (aided in no small part by the US and Britain) was building a head of steam.  It could be said that Zhukov was embracing “the lesser of two evils,” in allowing the Germans to occupy so much of Russia, but his alternative would have been fatal.

If withdrawal was the lesser of two evils, what was the greater?  Had he thrown all his troops and tanks into a counter attack, they would have been destroyed out of hand.  Russia would have fallen by late ’42, at the latest, and all those millions of German troops would have been redirected to North Africa, Italy, and France.  All of those fighters and bombers could have been directed against Britain and the bomber offensive.  All of those natural resources in the Soviet Union could have been turned against the Allies.  I submit that the temporary loss of territory was an evil of utter inconsequence compared to what might have happened otherwise.  (And before a student of Barbarossa calls me on this, I most certainly do NOT mean to make light of the suffering of the Russian people, nor of their sacrifice.)

By contrast, consider the battle of Stalingrad, in that same campaign.  The German 6th Army had pushed the Russians almost all the way through the city, but in November of 1942 – while El Alamein was raging in a far warmer clime – a Russian counterattack rolled up the 6th Army’s flanks.  Hitler forbad a retreat, and, trapped against the city, the vaunted, veteran 6th Army was captured almost en masse.  Of the 91,000 Germans taken prisoner, only about 5,000 survived the war. Hitler had chosen the greater of two evils, and better men than he paid the price.

Hitler was very good at embracing the greater evil. I give you the German Afrika Korps at El Alamein, in the fall of 1942.  Irwin Rommel had whipped everything the Allies had thrown at him, but Hitler’s meddling had contributed to the Korps being pressed back into a defensive posture at El Alamein.  Rommel could have withdrawn and saved the bulk of his army, which would have allowed him to keep fighting.  However, Hitler forbad it, Rommel was stuck, and the Afrika Korps defeated.  There were other campaigns, such as the Allied invasion of North Africa, but the defeat of Rommel’s army was the key to victory.

Let us now examine an analogy from US history.  In the summer of 1864, the US Army of the Potomac (one of several US armies in the field against the Confederacy) pushed into northern Virginia, “aaaa-gin,” to quote Forest Gump.  Ulysses Grant commanded the Army of the Potomac.  Robert E. Lee commanded the Army of Northern Virginia, facing Grant.  Lee had made a number of horrendous tactical errors earlier in the war – Malvern Hill and the first and second days at Gettysburg, to name two – but his greatest feat of genius was the fighting withdrawal he directed before Grant’s advance that summer.  Lee’s 45,000 ragged veterans inflicted more than 60,000 casualties on the Army of the Potomac in 30 days.  (Can you imagine what the American press and the American people would do if faced with 2,000 casualties a day for a month?)

Unlike Zhukov, Lee was denied the ultimate victory, partly because Grant understood the nature of his enemy, and the nature of the weapon he was given to fight him.  However, had Lee attempted to stand rigidly before Grant’s massive sledgehammer, the ANV would have been destroyed by August.  If withdrawal was the lesser evil facing Lee, what was the greater?  Remember to look at this from the perspective of Lee and the Confederate nation.  The Wilderness campaign gave them another 10 months to try to find an ally – to find an unbeatable weapon – to pray for Lincoln’s defeat in November.

Okay.  Now, in 2016, the American people find themselves in the positions of Zhukov, Lee, and Rommel.  If Trump is the lesser of two evils, what is the greater?  I submit that another eight years of Democrat rule will finish this nation for good.  Woluld Trump destroy the nation in that time?  I don’t think so.  He will get some things wrong, but he will get some things right, too, whereas, Hillary will get nothing right.  So, what, exactly is the greater of two evils, and by what factor is it the greater?

Can we not view electing Trump as analogous to Zhukov’s fighting withdrawal?  If such a withdrawal allows us time to build an effective alternative party and come roaring back in ’20 or ’24 with a truly principled candidate, is Trump really that evil in the end?  Unlike Zhukov, we don’t have the landmass to trade for time.  We have Trump, and four or eight years.  Unlike Lee, we don’t have emissaries in France and England, pleading for recognition and support.  Like Rommel, though, our backs are to the sea.  Can we not see that electing Trump is voting for a relatively small evil, for a relatively short time?

The Samurai had a saying, “To shed his blood, you must be cut.  To take his life, you must be cut to the bone.”  I don’t believe Trump would, “cut us to the bone,” but even if he did, could that possibly be an evil on the scale of the rows of headsmen a Clinton presidency would bring to be?

Let us look at the election, then, not as an end of the war, but as a holding action – a Leningrad that buys us time to bleed the enemy and prepare a counterstroke.  Don’t think of it as voting for Trump, but as voting for time and space to build an army.