Another Unwinnable War……….

Kathryn Johnston was a woman living in fear. Most of the time she lived alone at her rundown house in Atlanta, Georgia. It was one of the roughest neighborhoods in town; crime was a daily occurrence. Only recently a 72 year old woman had been raped in the area.

Last Tuesday night, three men battered down her door and forced their way into Kathryn Johnston’s home. In a desperate effort to defend herself she grabbed a gun and began firing. The men fired back, killing her.

She probably never lived long enough to learn these men were fighting the longest war in America’s history. A false war. Like most of the wars America has undertaken in recent years – an unwinnable war.

They call it the “War on Drugs.” The men were plain clothes law enforcement officers.

Atlanta’s Assistant Police Chief, Alan Dreher, called the killing “tragic and unfortunate” . Roughly translated into police language that means “inconvenient”. The police shun such adverse publicity. It brings criticism of their high-handed, thuggish, methods of fighting this unwinnable war. According to Mister Dreher, drugs were found on the premises. The police would not reveal the type until the lab had completed tests. This means the police didn’t know if what they found was really an illegal drug or not. Either that, or they were simply playing for time.

No-one in their right mind would suggest that the market in illegal substances is anything less than seedy, attracting the very worst of the criminal element. It would also be wrong to deny the police have a tough time trying to fight the crazy war thrust upon them by a moralistic public and self-righteous politicians.

As appears so often to be the case, America has yet again got its priorities about-face. Guns are legal and acceptable, drugs are not.

Were that situation reversed, Kathryn Johnston would still be alive and three police officers would not be in hospital recovering from the gunshot wounds she inflicted on them in her own self-defence; the neighborhood where Kathryn Johnston lived would not be laid waste by drug-related crime, and thousands of police officers nationwide would be freed to concentrate on crimes that presently are never solved due to shortage of man-power.

Fighting an unwinnable war is a frustrating business. It makes for heavy-handed methods. Such actions as occurred last Tuesday night do nothing for the nation’s self-image, or how it is perceived by the rest of the world.

Just as events in Iraq are forcing a rethink of American government policy, resulting almost certainly in a withdrawal of troops over time, so the “War on Drugs” – ongoing for over half a century – requires a drastic rethink and measures to decriminalize, thus forcing the illegal pushers out of business once and for all.

Perhaps then, poor unfortunates like Kathryn Johnston could stop living in fear of every knock on the door.

Filed under:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Another Thanksgiving Day; a day when most Americans stuff themselves beyond capacity with turkey and pumpkin pie, clinic and give thanks to their God for – what?

Here are a few suggestions:

For providing us with a food surplus at our table, sick while You let millions in the world starve to death – we give You thanks.

For propagating the deaths of 3, for sale 709 Iraqi civilians only last month by our pre-emptive invasion of their country, while we remain safe in our homes – we give You thanks.

For keeping us safe from harm, while You allow the genocide, rape and torture of a whole African nation in Sudan – we give You thanks.

For You maintaining the sweatshops in India and China so we can buy cheap goods at Walmart, while those who produce them live on less than two dollars a day – we give You thanks.

For You supporting our friends in Israel, and helping us supply them with weapons to kill and maim those nasty, dirty, Palestinian pagans – we give You thanks.

For You helping us to interfere freely in the politics and cultures of other nations around the globe, creating wars and internal strife so we can maintain the gloriously material standard of living we, as Americans, expect and deserve – we give You thanks.

For doing all of this in the name of Your Son, Our Savior Jesus Christ – we give You thanks.

God Bless America.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Filed under:

Ah! Sunday Morning…….

I really shouldn’t do it, but for some reason – perhaps just a streak of masochism – I can’t resist it.

It’s a Sunday morning, early – around 7 o’clock. The rest of the household is still asleep and I’m limited in my activities because of noise. We have one of those “open-plan” houses so beloved of architects in the eighties. You know, they tried to save a few bob on construction costs by doing away with doors and calling it “fashion.”

For thirty minutes of sanity I watched a recording of the BBC World News, benefiting from the only newscast of this American weekend with relatively little bias – and, some actual news. But by seven-thirty it’s over. Then I start to get the symptoms, the itchy fingers reaching for the TV remote. There’s another half hour to kill before the deliciously conservative CBS “Sunday Morning” magazine program with Charles Osgood, and meanwhile, the religious nutters are beckoning.

Almost unconsciously, I begin to flip the channels.

Statistically, one third of Americans are obese, and Pastor John Hagee is undoubtedly in the top ranks of those numbers. Unlike the “Savior” he continually espouses, Hagee has grown fat preaching a doctrine of hatred, specifically against Islam. First and foremost, Hagee is a Jew lover. He is a prolific writer of nonsense, mostly praising the Jews and slamming everyone else in the Middle East. His latest book, “Jerusalem Countdown” is bound to be a bestseller, bought by the gullible and witless in their tens of thousands.

“Jerusalem Countdown” is just a rehash of that old, done-to-death idea of God using the Middle East conflict as a prelude to Armageddon. In Hagee’s version the Islamists get a good whupping, while to the strains of an angelic choir (of course) Christians and Jews unite in a long procession to Heaven – not least those who have contributed to the spread of Pastor Hagee’s teachings, and of course, his waistline.

“Jerusalem Countdown” contains “shocking information of the impending war”, originating between Israel and Iran, but escalating into the atomic destruction of mankind.

Can we afford not to read it? I don’t see there’s much point. If Armageddon is pre-ordained by God, reading a book isn’t going to make a lot of difference. If it isn’t, Pastor Hagee is, at best, deluded; at worst, an outright liar and charlatan. Personally, I know where my bet would be placed.

So entranced was I with Pastor John, that I missed most of Pastor Benny Hinn on the channel next door. I was just in time to hear him telling me I was “bowed down by demonic forces”. Why? For not accepting Jesus into my life – and contributing to Pastor Benny’s welfare fund.

Sorry, Pastor Benny, but I’m not bowed down by demonic forces. Quite the opposite, in fact. I love my life, always have done, and don’t need the rantings of charlatan preachers like you to tell me otherwise. Of course, I do realise that I won’t end up going to the same “Heaven” as you and Pastor Hagee.

That fact, of itself, helps bring even more joy into my sadly irreligious life.

Ah, it’s eight o’clock on Sunday Morning, and time for Charles Osgood.

Thank God!

Filed under: