Smelling a rat.

I don’t know about you, but I smell a rat.

Let’s back-up a few years to 2009 when the H1N1 flu, or swine flu, which supposedly came from pigs, was estimated to have caused about 284,000 deaths. Some studies estimated the actual number of cases including asymptomatic and mild cases could be 700 million to 1.4 billion people. Compare all that to the current pandemic, this virus that we’ve been told came from bats and started in China. The swine flu perhaps had its first identified case diagnosed in Mexico. In 2009-10, the world was not locked-down, businesses, stores, and restaurants closed, but because of this new virus, yes, we’ve all, the entire world has been put under control.

No, it can’t be just because Covid-19 expanded from China. Something else is going on, something major has changed, and it’s not our CDC, nor is it WHO. Both organizations were operating then. Technology has just become faster and more convenient. The world has not been in a major war. Here in the US, political control has only switched parties, and other nations have not had major changes. Our federal debt is beyond managed control, and a coming depression has been forecast.

What am I missing?

Since 2009, the number of books written and warning us about the end times has increased since 2009. But come on, our human race has been inflicted with viruses, plagues, pestilences, and wars since our fall into sin, and warnings of the coming judgment.have prevailed too. But is this one, the real end time plague?

 We won’t know until it happens, will we? So keep your face-mask handy.

And on a personal note, get and read “Just a Matter of Time: Until the End of Time” available at Banes and Noble. It may enlighten you as to what’s possibly in store down the future road technologically and politically.

Interesting Title: Montesquieu New World Island

Considering the political this year addressing this virus that’s infected the world, this novel was published in 2012 which forecasts political interventions into modern day life. Will this lead to that Brave New World?

“Mark is a farmer and inventor living the good life with his wife Susan of 33 years. While building up the interest in their Halloween Festival on the farm, Mark gets disenchanted, then obsessed, and desires to leave all the comforts behind to follow a desire for freedom. After experiencing a peace that passes understanding, an unsuspected surprise disturbs their tranquility forcing them to form new plans. The progressive idealists believe that the human spirit can be tamed by bureaucratic decree, and are slowly changing equal opportunities into equal results. The federal government has grown beyond its intentional usefulness of protection of our rights to intrusion into those rights, spending money not yet appropriated as if the citizenry were an endless mine. We, the silent generation were mistaken as we thought the boom could never end, treating the national debt as embalming juices preventing deadly decay.”

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Montesquieu-World-Island-Arnold-Kropp/dp/1480291218/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1588617423&sr=8-2

The Lone Wolf destroys the peace of many.

What’s going on in this great land of ours from sea to shining sea? A teen-ager grabs a couple guns from his father’s cabinet hides them under a trench-coat, makes his way to the school where he’s a student in good standing and then pulls the trigger aiming and killing some of his class-mates. What was going in in the mind of this kid?  Why? Why is it happening more and more in this 21st century of ours compared with previous times?

In researching this list of previous shootings and rampages in our schools, I landed upon a Wikipedia page listing EVERY shooting in America’s schools going back to the first in 1764 when 10 were murdered by American Indians in what has been named the Enoch Brown massacre. [1]   It was considered a school shooting because a school principal was shot while the others not affiliated with the school were killed in hand to hand combat. Knives and hatchets? Bows and Arrows?

Tracing these shootings through history reveals that in earlier times most were angry outbursts, disagreements of parents angry over the treatment of a child, disagreements of an employee being fired, angriness of one sort or another. Then in 1966, the first mass shooting occurred at the University of Texas when 17 were killed and 31 injured by 25-year-old engineering student, who from the observation deck continuously pulled the trigger on innocents at Sandy Hook for 96 minutes. He had previously taken out his hatred for his parents by killing them that morning. [2]

Fast forward to the 21st century. The first decade had 65 shootings with 110 killed. From 2011 thru 2014: 94 shootings and 36 deaths. 2015 to present: 66 shootings with 84 killed. And now less than 5 months into 2018 there’s been 3 school shootings resulting in 47 deaths.

Let’s go back a few decades.

1940’s- 8 shootings.

1950’s-14,

1960’s-19,

1970’s- 31,

1980’s- 41,

1990’s- 66 separate shootings including the famous ’99 Columbine massacre where 2-teens ambushed   fellow students killing 15 and injuring 21.

Why the escalation? What has changed, what changes occurred in our culture over those decades?

It’s easy to surmise that the trend is escalating, but again, why? Is it because guns are available?  Is it because the legal requirements for obtaining a license to purchase and own a gun are not strict enough? How many of these assaults on human life has been made with an illegally obtained gun? How many of the incidents have been committed with a legally purchased weapon obtained by a student from his parents.

There have been many contributing factors suggested by various leaders, media and politicos including: Failure of government background checks. Higher accessibility and ownership of guns. Desire for fame and notoriety. Copycatism.  The gap between expectations and actual achievement. Mental Illness. Bullying. Psychiatric Drugs. Bullying.

All it just takes is just one to destroy the peace of many.

The political speak is all about gun safety, about the availability of guns, about the need for more additional gun restrictions and even the concept of outlawing guns altogether has hit the airwaves. “Our children are precious to us and their safety is our main concern, so let’s do this now. We must ban fully automatic assault rifles now.” The same old measures are being floated to prevent these shootings from ever happening again.  How about around the world? How do other countries restrict personal gun ownership? Ah, all that is another story.

Allow me to boil it down to just two factors: 1. One or more guns have been used. 2. One human pulled the trigger of the guns.

Do we outlaw all humans from attending schools?

Yes, it’s a human problem of that inherent free-will nature of ours. The first historical account of a human killing another is that of Cain slaying his brother Able. Jealousy is said to be the motivating factor.

There is only ONE solution to this dilemma. Yes, one only, and it’s been known for the last 2000 years.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”    Matthew 22:36-40 New International Version (NIV)

Ten-Commandments 2

Yep, if parents, students and school officials lived respecting and loving each other as themselves it would end school shootings. Centuries before that humans were provided the Ten commandments. And Yep, if everyone obeyed and lived by these standards set forth in those tablets of stone, that would end school shootings.

But, throughout history, a lone Wolf can destroy the peace.

But, these two simple codes cannot even be discussed in schools anymore, nor displayed anywhere in our public-school system. Outlawed by the court. It’s been considered a violation of that separation of church and state doctrine.

Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the founder of American Atheists, Inc. became famous in the 60’s for pushing the concept of separation of church and state. She eventual won the banning of mandatory prayer and the daily reading of bible passages from the public schools in 2 supreme Court cases of ’62 and ’63.  The Ten commandments were banned from being displayed in public schools in 1980.

Since then, oh how the basic nuclear family unit as the backbone of society has been slowly degraded.  Now it’s meism. Me first. A disrespect for each other, no more honoring each other above selfish desires. Adultery became a no big deal. Then divorce. It’s our sensuousness, our selfishness. Abortion legalized in 1973. Teen pregnancies. Drug use. Foul language. Cheating. Lying. Stealing. Murder. Rape. Incest. Homosexuality. Bisexuality. Oh, and also, dress codes have changed too. In the 50’s the high school required girls to wear lode fitting blouses and dresses that covered their knees and boys had to wear button-down shirts and slacks, no shorts. Nowadays, well anything goes . . . . just cover your genitals is about the only unspoken dress code.

Summary.

Oh, this part is easy. Even in the churches, the Fear of the Almighty God is not being preached and emphasized.  The fear of what happens after we die: Heaven or Hell. Yes, the creator destroyed the entire population of this earth except for one family because the rest of humanity was living as they desired. The ability of God to do this is not being preached. Yes, God threw His first humans away from that beautiful garden because they did not listen to His one wish. Instead they desired to be like God, to be their own master knowing both good and evil. Oh yes, we do know about evil.

Let me present an analogy.  You’ve been hired to work for a certain company and the owner has informed you of his expectations and rules. Obey those and you’ll enjoy the work, the benefits and the comradery of the fellow employees. You also know that if you don’t live up to those standards the owner has the right to call you into his office and say; you’re fired.

“Fired.” Yes, that phase had its beginnings with the concept of spending eternity in the Lake of Fire.

3 Meals per day? Ha, Ha. Gotch-ya.

How far back in history must you go to find that ancient people (now considered as those of our great grand-parents age) did not regularly eat according to the clock: 6 or 7am breakfast. 12 noon lunch and 6 pm dinner. That’s how it was for me as a kid growing up in the 50’s. You must eat 3 meals a day to maintain optimum health according to the ‘experts’ back then. We had eggs and/or pancakes with a glass of milk and possible orange juice before heading off to school carrying our brown paper sack of a peanut butter sandwich on white bread with a side of chips, possibly an apple and pickle thrown in for added benefit. Then when dad got home, family dinner time at 6 pm of spaghetti and meat balls and slice of bread to swipe the sauce off the plate.  Then homework time and be ready to slide under the covers at 10 after watching the b/w 9-inch TV for local news at 9.  That was life in the 50’s.

And now 60 years later we not only delight in 3 meals per day but snacks in-between. Oh, how I love to snack, to always have a goodie near-by to nibble on while being entertained by others.  Hersey chocolates are my favorite along with jelly beans and an occasional piece of licorice, fig bars or Ritz crackers (a pinch of salt) or a handful of pistachios.  Also, wow, a bowl of potato chips to dip into that sharp cheddar cheese dip between sips of beer while watching a 3-hour ball-game hit it off satisfying the stomach growl.

But, did our great grand-parents eat 3 meals a day when they were growing up? That would have been in the time before the calendars turned to 1900, closer to 1850. Society then was predominately agrarian working the farms, raising cows, goats, chickens, pigs and riding horses to get to the local market. Relaxation was walking to the near-by stream or lake to catch some fish and take a skinny dip. In between the seasons many would head off to the forests hunting a deer, fox, bear, buffalo. Life was not so convenient requiring lots of physical energy. Women were baking bread, feathering a chicken, scrubbing the farm dirt, instructing the kiddies on the realities of life. She was possibly a school mom. Sundays came, time to clean-up, dress up, greet and share news with neighbors at the local church.

The industrial revolution was beginning, and the young workers were moving from farms to the cities to eat lunch in the factories. Go back to 1904 when the first New Year celebration in Times Square and look at the crowd. You will not see any obese folks watching the ball drop. There are many black and white photos of people in the streets of NY in the 20’s to 40’s. No obese. I have hanging in my home office a 1928 photo of my grand-parents congregation of the Auburn Park SW church attending a Sunday School rally day. Lots of slim kids. No overly heavy people.

There were no fast food joints, no drive-ins, restaurants were few and far between, and pushing a cart through the aisles selecting your grocery list was unheard of. McDonalds was not. White castle was not. Nor a Burger King and the rest of the drive-throughs for a what else but a ‘happy meal’.  Yes, the advertisement of a very attractive slim young lady throwing her slim arms high in the air celebrating how happy you’ll be. The trauma of a hard day will end when you down that burger and fries with a diet Coke. We’re open 24/7. Gotch-ya.

Obesity is defined as having your waist size larger than your butt size. Another measurement of obesity is determined by the formula: (Weight in Pounds / (Height in inches x Height in inches)) x 703. That’s your BMI. Anything over 25 is getting close to obesity. A healthy body will be more like the hour glass shape. The US and Mexico supposedly have close to 40% of the population as obese. In the UK two-thirds of men and almost six in 10 women are overweight or obese.

So, here we are in 2018 when farming is done riding a John Deere and trucking the veggies across the country measured in hours for freshness. Chickens are raised by the thousands in large open-air cages. Cows are butchered in factories, and TV’s have 250 selections to choose from, telephones are in hand computers as we drive the free-ways to sit-down office work. Obesity is becoming the majority consuming food 3 times per day and nibbling the rest of the time. There are even voices being heard that smaller meals 4-5 times a day reduces obesity risk by 45 percent. [1] Three-meals per day lowers blood pressure.

So, who do we listen to for sound advice? The advertisers? The government agencies?

Does anyone fast anymore.  For those who may not know what that word (fast) means, I offer this simple definition: Go without food for a self-determined length of time, such as no food at all (water, yes) for a day, three days, 21 or 40 days, or even just a meal or two. Yes, it can be done. It used to be common among Christians to fast during lent before Easter. Oh, to think on that drives me up the wall. I thought that would be considered ‘works of the flesh’, so forget it, I’m saved by faith.

Satan says: “gotch-ya.”

[1] htps://www.alternet.org/story/152486/there_is_no_biological_reason_to_eat_three_meals_a_day_–_so_why_do_we_do_it

School Tragedy.

What does the person who has just experienced a tragedy of unimaginable evil such as what happened recently in Florida do immediately after hearing the news? When your son/daughter left that morning with the books and homework in the backpack, you reminded him/her to pay attention, and . . . . “I love you . . . . see you later”.

A friend calls. You tune into breaking news. You drive to the school. You’re holding your breath. You want to see him/her running to you. You couldn’t imagine the horror, but now you see it. Police everywhere. Sirens blazing. Students running. Yellow tapes. Helicopters hovering. Cameras and reporters. Parents wanting to know.

Sorry. Your son/daughter was killed.

Weep. Cry till the eyes dry. Weep some more. Pray. Grab a pillow and weep. Do not disturb me?  I want some answers God. Why? Why? That was a good school. Why here? Peacefully attending school as he/she had done 5 days a week for the last 12 years. Why? Why Mine? Why would someone do such a thing? Why? Oh God I need your help. Weep some more. And now you must make decisions. Arrangements. Casket. Grave site. Funeral Service. Family time. Time alone. Weep again. More decisions. More arrangements. Try to keep a stiff upper lip holding back the tears as friends and relatives come by expressing their sorrow.

When the week passes, the loss returns in the morning as the school bell rings, every evening as expectations of their return from school you weep some more. Every evening sitting at the dinner table trying to keep the conversations on the light side. I should have told him/her I love you more often. I never should have done that. Oh, why did I ever say such and such?  I should have been a better mother/father. I should have bought that for him/her. We should have gone on that vacation.

Why? Oh God, if you’re real, why did you let this happen? Why?

 

An answer came: “I’ve been kicked out of schools.”

Tolerating the intolerant.

Over the past few days as the events within this freedom loving country of ours takes the news by storm evolving and escalating to the point that even those who do not keep-up with the news as our busy life demands upon our time, know once civil society is getting out of hand into the weird.  Most likely, you’ve heard about the student uprisings on college campuses demanding a complete stop to offensive behavior and/or speech. One event recently captivated my attention that sums up all the others. A Wooster college in Ohio sit in, students taking over Galpin Hall on January 24, 2018.

“The students demand that all new students and faculty be required to enroll in a ‘cultural competency training course’ that will begin during orientation week and continue throughout the whole first year. The Center of Diversity and Inclusion will determine the content of this training course, but it must be submitted to the student activists for review at least once a year.” [a]

Hmm? And here I had thought that the American civil behavior toward each other was already an ingrained part of cultural competency was based on the Judeo-Christian admonition that we must treat others the way we would like to be treated. On the most part we were kind, considerate, respectful, easy going, saying ‘thank you’, ‘you’re welcome’, ‘I’m sorry’, ‘is there anything I can do’, opening the door for the elderly and ladies, patiently waiting in line, preferring others the right of way, putting a check on our tongue during family gatherings and the office coffee break, respecting the property of others, politely disagreeing without being disagreeable and on and on we’d act day-in day-out.

Perhaps I’ve been wrong and that there’s another side to: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Matt 7:12

Now the student’s demand “safe zones”, a nice quiet place where they can feel safe from unwanted interruptions, conversations, some zones even offering coloring books and crayons to help escape the bigotry of others. Bigotry is defined as: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.

Hmm? So, as a Christian if I stand by and say anything whatsoever about my faith which you disagree with then I’m guilty and intolerant, I’m silenced and found guilty being punished for “hate speech”, and you’ll go to a safe zone to recuperate.  Just yesterday, a creationist speaker was dis-invited to speak on campus. Evidently his talk would have been offensive. A mayor has issued subpoenas of the sermons of the local pastors in case any kind of “hate speech” was involved.

Is society now facing a new ‘social revival’ of sorts.

Does this current generation look at America as having a long history of bigotry?  Yes, you can say that America has a history of being bigoted toward others not of their own kind.

The US was established as a democratic-republic based on Judeo-Christian morality of right and wrong, but our actual history has been filled with intolerance. Our frontiersmen pushed the natives out as our expansion into the west developed. The Indians were not wanting to be engaged with the ‘white man’ and his ways. The same was true for the millions of Europeans immigrating here: Scandinavians found other Scandinavians to live near. Italians desired to live near other Italians, the Jews with the Jews. The same with the French, the Germans, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese. They tolerated others but desired companionship of their own kind. It was part of the American dream: one nation under God, indivisible and with liberty to all. Tolerating the others while desiring fellowship with their own kind rather than forced diversity.

America does have a long history of bigotry toward “blacks, or people of color” being brought here and sold as slaves to the land owners in the south and the rich of the north. The free ones in the north expanding westward sought to live near and with their own kind. The southern states forced total separation, which did not end until Lincoln signed the bill officially ending slavery and ML King gave his famous speech. It was bigotry. It was intolerance. But haven’t we moved on from there?

Both sides of my parents were Swedish immigrants. At first we lived near other Swedes and went to a dominate Swedish church, then moved to a varied neighborhood where the high school in the 50’s of Chicago had been integrated with a few ‘black’ students living in near-by neighborhoods. That was my first encounter with those of dark colored skin and we behaved in school with tolerance; some playing football or basketball and in the band. Back in those days there were a few students who just didn’t fit the boy hormones of flirting with girls. They walked and talked differently without any outwardly shown affections for boys instead of girls. We’d quietly snicker ‘queer’. It was a considered a private matter.

We’ve come a long way since those days. Now it’s common to see integrated marriages, neighborhoods, schools and churches. Europeans with Asians, blacks with whites, browns with blacks, with Asians. Families with mixed children. Mixed together tolerating all. The brotherhood of man, as Christianity says all humankind came from the same heritage going back to the first male and female through the lines of Noah and his family; middle-eastern Arabs. Our differences are only outward appearances in skin tone and facial make-ups, that’s all, simply a fact of mixing biological genes over the centuries.

Yes, America does have a long history of intolerance towards those of a different shade and we’ve come a long way to overcome those prejudices. Now there’s this new side that is being highlighted, that of the intolerances toward the LGBT’s demanding complete open tolerance of their life choices and doing away with what they call as ‘white-privilege’. Elementary Schools are telling the kiddies that having two daddies, or two mommies is normal, that’s it’s natural for a boy to dress like a girl if that is her desire and wanting to use the girl’s locker room is fine, and even competing against girls running track is wonderful.

And, another side to this upheaval is that of those desiring the right to abort the life growing within at any time for any reason. Sexual freedom outside marriage without consequences. It’s also been noted that less and less of the younger generations are attending church on a regular basis as evolutionary atheism gains more ground denying coaches pre-game prayer time with their team, denying students to hold bible studies outside class, denying parents to instill Christian ethics in their children.

So, where are we headed as a society?  How will the future look?

Celebrity Worship

Oprah for president. She is reported to have received a thundering applause from celebrities attending the Oscar whatever. Yeah, yes, go for it. Her home was one of those hit by the recent mud slides in an affluent neighborhood of California. She’s a TV star. She hosted her own show entertaining millions of us for years. She’s African-American. She’s a woman. She’s known all over the world. Her name is familiar to everyone. She’s a world traveler. She supports civil rights. She’s been seen giving food to the homeless in Africa. She can give a speech without a script. She’s rich and famous. What more could we want.

According to some recent polls, Oprah would out star Trump in the 2012 elections by 10 points or more.

Trump was a celebrity. Obama was provided celebrity status. Clinton was a celebrity.

Merriam-Webster defines it as “the state of being celebrated.”  Society celebrates these icons, luminaries, megastar somebodies as standouts and super-stars because they’re a VIP, because one-day in the past they were a nobody, or they were born as a VIP.

One must be a celebrity to win the adulation of enough people to win an election. Your name must be known. Your face must be recognizable. What you have said must be popular. There must be an attractive nature to your voice. You must be good on the eyes. When the media likes you, they will hold back private investigators from digging deep into secret pages of your history.

If you’re not known well-enough to get the attention of the media, forget it.

The media? An entire cyclopedia collection could be and has been written about the media, about the effect of television and this global internet on the populace. Newspapers are losing ground, are looking for ways to keep and attract more readers. Newsmagazines are losing subscribers. Broadcast news finds something to grab our attention in-between commercials that grab our attention.

So, what are we doing with the time? Quietly listening to Beethoven and Bach is out and Hip Rap Rock is in. Kids are spending play time playing games on-line and the 60” screen. Riding a bicycle thru the neighbor hood is dangerous. Playing choose-your team games after school has been handed over to professionals. Education is common-core so no child should repeat a grade or get a “D”.

Technocracy has taken over. Social media is outdoing personal conversational time together over a hot cup of coffee.

We must be busy all the time. We must be involved in something all the time. To sit and just watch nature for ten minutes, for half an hour is not even imaginable. To be quiet enough to hear the trees whistle, the birds chirp, the waters ripple has been put aside for the noise on the screen.

In these retirement years I spend the mornings reading the latest that technology brings to my eyes. Push a button and there it is right before me to digest or just read passing the time: the newest and latest, the newest updates on yesterday’s new news. On and on it goes, day-in day-out 24/7. I have my favorite tabs ready to be opened to pass more time, and then saved in the history folder to be brought up to read and watch again.

We get irritated when someone offends our sensibilities. We write a comment if the writer of a post missed a point that was more important than the point the originator of the post was pointing out.

Are we there yet? Have we become a nation, a world that amuses ourselves to death? Have we become a nation of heretics?

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

  • Neil Postman | Penguin Books Publisher

Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics

  • Ross Douthat | Free Press Publisher