RYOC – A Work in Progress

In little more than two weeks, RYOC has moved from a concept into practice.

It began with an idea of how citizens can collaborate on current events and issues, bills in the House and Senate, executive orders, court decisions and treaties.  It is now a series of blogs on which people can comment, not only at the end of the blog (ok, but boring), but also in the interactive, collaboratively-rich environment of a message forum.  You’re not limited to blog comments.  You can start your own threads on the message forum, in addition to responding to threads created by others.

That’s where we are now.

The vision for RYOC’s future is a blog space for everyone, thereby duplicating my own efforts, but from your own perspective.

RYOC’s strength is inherent in its structure.  Before I created RYOC, I examined other political message forums, discovering what works, and why, as well as what doesn’t work.  The research and design phases alone took four months, as I wanted to be certain that RYOC was a cut of above the rest, even out of the starting gates.

I believe I succeeded.

No message forum is greater than its users, though, and that’s where you come in.  I invite you to join us in providing rich, insightful content!  The more you post, the more others will post, until everyone’s posting about everything.  That’s the measure of a healthy online community.  🙂

If you have any suggestions for improvement, I welcome your input here, on RYOC Forums!

Dear DHS: I AM NOT A TERRORIST

The title is in response to this article, which says the DHS is re-targeting “Conservative Americans” as “the new terrorists.”  In particular, this study find that if you’re “suspicious of centralized federal authority,” and “reverent of liberty,” then you’re an “extreme right-wing terrorist.”

Who the hell ARE these people?  Good grief!  They’re so out of touch with reality it’s no longer funny!  I dare say whoever’s coming up with this B.S. are themselves the true terrorists, having infiltrated the DHS in order to clandestinely undermine our nation from the inside out.  That’s not conspiracy theory.  That’s just fact.  The CIA, the KGB, Hitler’s Gestapo and SS…  Some agencies have behaved themselves far better than others.  No one can deny, however, their mission:  To infiltrate and undermine enemy governments.

That’s what’s happening to us.  I think I may know why, and I’ll get to that in a moment.  In the meantime:

– I served my country honorably for more than 20 years as a well-decorated officer in the United States Air Force.

– I took the week-long, Level II Anti-Terrorist/Force Protection training while stationed at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Nevada. I did so voluntarily, post-9/11, because I was determined to do everything I could to protect the fellow members of my squadron from potential threats.

– I’ve gladly served in one of the two major terrorist theaters of operation in the last eleven years, fighting terrorists. While my job duties didn’t involve engaging them directly, I’ve certainly dodged their bullets, while supplying beans and bullets for the troops who do.  More than a few of the bullets I dodged were too close for comfort, impacting our aircraft as we flew in and out of the many airfields in Iraq.

– I’ve carried thousands of troops to the front line, and I’ve returned a few who made the ultimate sacrifice to their loved ones.  Doing so was my honor, not that they fell, but that we could bring them home.

AND YET!!!….

“A recent study, funded by DHS, characterizes Americans who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority,” and “reverent of liberty” as “extreme right-wing” terrorists.”

It goes on to say, “it does take time to focus on Americans who hold beliefs shared by both conservatives and libertarians and calls them radical extremists.”

So, this study, funded by the DHS, labels me as a terrorist, an “extreme right-wing terrorist” at that, simply because I’m reverent of liberty?

Oh, Holy Day!  Great God in Heaven!  According to this study, Thomas Jefferson was a terrorist! Alexander Hamilton was a terrorist? George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan — All terrorists!  Aghhh!  Run for the hills!!!

Seriously? If the DHS supports this crap, they’ve got massive international egg on their face. This is beyond absurd. It’s unbelievably ridiculous, the product of too many bean-counters spending too much time in their cubicles without benefit of actually having fought for our country in the military service.

It’s high time we make some much-needed changes here in America. I believe we need to follow Israel’s outstanding example, and require everyone who graduates high school, regardless of wealth, to serve two years in the military. They will be paid and receive three square meals a day.

But there are some stipulations to go along with this provision.  Those who have not served, regardless of the reason, ranging from medical to conscientious objector, and certainly not Daddy’s Wealth, will never be able to hold public office.

Ever.

Oh, I think we should make some home-town allowances, such as for mayors, police chiefs, city councilmen, sheriffs, etc. But state governor? Nope. Congressmen? Nope. President? Nope. Federal Judges? Nope. Supreme Court Justice? Nope.

You might ask “why?”  Simple:  Too many of our politicians who’ve never been there, done that, are irrefutably clueless when it comes the way the real world works.  I’ve visited more than thirty countries, have lived in seven of them more than a month, and four of them for more than a year, “on the economy,” no less.

The answer’s simple: Whoever’s at the DHS who came up with the ridiculous idea of funding this idiotic study is totally out of touch with reality, with society, and with the men and women of America, what we’re about, and why we do what we do.

In my experience, men and women of the military are by and large one of the last great melting pots of human existence. They’re one of the last bastions of reality on our increasingly over-html’d planet. One’s warped misconceptions and misconceived notions rapidly disappear when you’re brought into close, hard-working contact with so many others from all walks of society. You learn the real meaning of tolerance, as well as how to get along well with others, play nice, and, on occasion, kick ass, and no, I’m not talking about beating up on one’s brother. I’m talking about pounding the enemy.

Unfortunately, this study encourages the DHS to go forth with beating up our own brothers.

That’s messed up, big time.  As we used to say in the military, “It doesn’t pass the sanity test.” Then again, that “test” was born of at least several years of cross/multi-cultural military experience, something sadly lacking in certain government agencies these days. Given the nature of the study, the very fact that it was approved indicates to me that those who approved it either have no such experience, or that their experience was horribly warped.

If you’ve enjoyed this honest, heart-felt response to the ridiculous idea that those of us who’ve fought for and honor our liberty should be labeled “terrorists” by the same government who cut our orders, please do me a favor:  Please spread the word. Please SHARE this, and not only with your Facebook friends, but with your other friends and family, via e-mail and even snail mail, if you have to.  I’m sure this will touch a nerve with more of them than you might imagine. But don’t stop there – PLEASE share this with Congress, an agency whom I think is being populated by too many of the “give me” crowd and who hasn’t heard from YOU, the honest-to-God American Voter, in quite a while. Write them! Don’t be afraid of being labeled – that’s what our enemy wants you to fear.  That’s why they’re doing what they’re doing.

Instead, remember this:  If we’re all labeled, I’ve got your back, and you have mine. If you don’t speak up, no one will have either of our backs, so yes, the fight for freedom has come to our door, and it’s our time.

May God bless you and keep you! May He order your thoughts, desires, and passions, and may He bless our nation and our people through and through. I pray for common sense, for rational thought, and for lawful order and justice throughout our society, provided, of course, those laws and that justice are firmly compliant with our Constitution and only those laws which properly derive their authority from the “law of the land,” the founding document of our nation, the U.S. Constitution.  It is upon that foundation alone, and all laws properly deriving their authority therefrom, which I stand.

Please join the discussion of this article in RYOC Forums!

Red Tails, Part Deux – A Slight Against the Tuskegee Airmen

Laurence Fishburne played the part of Hannibal Lee in The Tuskegee Airmen with aplomb.  In my opinion, he and his co-actors did their level best to accurately portray the rise of the African American Airmen, and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

Enter George Lucas’ attempt to resurrect his studio efforts with a rewrite of history in “Red Tails.”

I’m sorry, but the first three minutes simply don’t ring true.  I’ve flown with outstanding airmen of all races, creeds, and gender.  We referred to ourselves by our crew positions, not our “call signs,” and certainly not by our race, creed, or belief.  I thoroughly enjoyed The Tuskegee Airmen, and based upon my limited knowledge of the time, believed it to be a fairly accurate portrayal.

The next ten minutes didn’t ring true, and neither did the rest of the movie.  Put simply, it’s sensationalistic movie-making at it’s best.  While the graphics might be flashier than those found in The Tuskegee Airmen, the movie with Lawrence Fishburne painted a far more accurate picture of what our brothers in arms went through back then.  Red Tails wasn’t just rough.  It was ridiculous.

I think folks who try to over-sensationalize whatever the “topic of the day” might be wind up undermining the better interests of the American people at large.  Misinformation is always a disservice.  I think George Lucas is reaching for new ground, and can’t quite figure out how to get there.  Reinventing world history via over-sensationalistic cinema-drama isn’t the right approach.  It just doesn’t ring true with any of us who’ve been there, or who’ve studied it, or who’ve had parents, aunts, uncles, grandfathers, grandmothers, or anyone else we know of whose been there.

Bottom line, one way or another, we’ve all been there.  This was a snow white job, trying to make things seem something more than they ought.  On top of it all, the graphics were freshman, at best.  We could see 1980’s quality graphics throughout the movie, so definitely not a step up.

Red Tails needs to turn tails between their legs.  If you want a far more authentic flick of these outstanding airmen during WWII, catch The Tuskegee Airmen.  Well worth a look!

– Patriot

Please join the discussion of this article on RYOC Forums!

It’s Our Birthright! Why the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is So Important

Each and every one one us has the right to keep and bear arms.*  It’s our birthright as an American.  We also have a corresponding obligation to know both our rights as well as what they mean to ourselves and others, if for no other reason than to avoid falling prey to the significant volumes of misinformation being spread by those who’re largely ignorant of our nation’s rights and freedoms.  More ominously, it is our duty to be knowledgeable, so we don’t fall pray to those who would undermine our liberties.

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” – Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Please enjoy the remaining quotes, from those who signed our Second Amendment into law:

James Madison: “As the greatest danger to liberty is from large standing armies, it is best to prevent them by an effectual provision for a good militia.”

Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts: “What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.”

George Mason: “I ask you sir, who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people.”

George Washington: “A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”

Patrick Henry: “The people have a right to keep and bear arms.”

Tenche Coxe: “Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American… The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”

*U.S. citizens who have not forfeited that right due to a qualifying offense (usually involving a felony or domestic violence conviction).

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Why Gun Control Laws and No Firearms Signs Do NOT Work

I’m writing this in the wake of this morning’s shootings at an after-midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado. Deranged gunman James Holmes entered the theater, shot 71 people, killing 12 of them, before police arrived just 90 seconds later.I’m also writing this as a graduate of Virginia Tech, where a similarly deranged gunman Seung-Hui Cho shot 49 people, killing 32 of them. The Virginia Tech massacre remains the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history, and occurred in the same halls in which I spent many hours myself.

The victims in both instances had something in common: They were unarmed. In the case of the theater, they have a no firearms policy. Cinemark’s official firearms policy is no OC/CC except for LEOs. If you want to watch a movie in their theater, you must forfeit your Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, your right to protect yourself and your loved ones from harm. In the case of Virginia Tech, their “gun-free zone” was seen by Cho as a “free-fire zone,” for some simple reason: When you disarm honest, law-abiding citizens, you remove a powerful deterrent to crime — the most powerful deterrent, according to violent criminals.

Some people opinion if we were to get rid of all firearms, we wouldn’t have this problem, yet when England followed this course of action, their rate of violent crime soared by 77%.2 Why? Simple — because their victims were now unarmed. Apparently Australia thought they could do better than their former warden and enacted the same measures, with similarly dismal results. Put simply, gun control is a naive and idealistic attempt to lesson one’s fear of guns or gun-related crimes. The problem is, not only is gun control futile, it actually increases the likelihood of violent crime.

Our Founding Fathers knew this well. Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms is widely recognized throughout the annuls of American History. Thomas Jefferson said “No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms.”3 In their 24-page 1982 Report on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, our U.S. Congress concluded, “The conclusion is thus inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by every major commentator and court in the first half century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner.” (attached) Furthermore, “The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, … or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press.”4
The laying down of arms in any manner, whether through gun control laws or frequenting establishments sporting “No Firearms” signs, is counterproductive to a peaceful society. Perhaps the most insightful treatise on why this is so was well-explained by Thomas Paine in his “Thoughts on Defensive War” in 1775:

[A]rms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not others dare not lay them aside. And while a single nation refuses to lay them down, it is proper that all should keep them up. Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them; for while avarice and ambition have a place in the heart of man, the weak will become a prey to the strong. The history of every age and nation establishes these truths, and facts need but little arguments when they prove themselves.
The soundness of this wisdom has repeatedly been echoed throughout our nation’s history, even in recent times: “I cannot consider the Bill of Rights to be an outworn 18th Century ‘strait jacket’…Its provisions may be thought outdated abstractions by some. And it is true that they were designed to meet ancient evils. But they are the same kind of human evils that have emerged from century to century wherever excessive power is sought by the few at the expense of the many. In my judgement the people of no nation can lose their basic liberty so long as a Bill of Rights like ours survives and its basic purposes are conscientiously interpreted, enforced and respected so as to afford continuous protection against old, as well as new, devices and practices which might thwart those purposes.”5

In fact, our Supreme Court reaffirms this as well. In District of Columbia vs Heller, they held that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for lawful purposes such as self-defense, even in federal enclaves. Later, in McDonald v. Chicago, the Court held that the right of an individual to “keep and bear arms” protected by the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to the states.

Why then is Hollywood Theaters erecting “No Firearms” signs at all their theaters today? Are they merely ignorant of the fact that it’s not only a Constitutional right, but that the exercise of that right is actually a known, proven deterrent to violent crime, even in the case where the perpetrator is criminally insane? Do they not understand that the mere act of posting a “No Firearms” sign greatly increases the likelihood that their establishment will be targeted by criminals, mass shooters, and Islamic extremists?  Don’t know they that they are actually — and significantly — increasing the risks of loss of life, limb, and property for themselves, their employees, and their customers?

For that matter, why does any institution restrict or prohibit the ability of honest, law-abiding citizens to protect themselves against these events?

That’s just stupid!

I both open carry (OC) and concealed carry (CC). In recent years I’ve been waffling about whether or not I should carry at all when I’m at the movies. They’re so peaceful and safe, right? I mean no one would ever go on a rampage in a crowded theater…

As we learned today, we never know where these events will happen. They can and have happened at the movies. They can and have happened at public areas, college campuses, supermarkets, post offices, and public parks. Despite the fact that people can legally carry a firearm in most areas throughout 49 states, these events seem to happen most often where people are prohibited from carrying firearms, areas those who claim are “safe” call “no-gun zones.” Those of us who’re more knowledgeable about how and why criminals choose their targets refer to them as “free-fire zones,” and we do our best to avoid them!

Why is it, then, that the most common knee-jerk reaction to these incidents are to create more such zones, thereby increasing the likelihood of such an event? If a course of action continually proves to have the opposite outcome than the one that’s desired, it’s time to change the course of action. The relaxation of gun control laws over the last twenty years has had a tremendously positive impact on the reduction of crime! Criminals, even insane ones, don’t target a well-armed populace.

Hollywood Theaters and others who throw up knee-jerk “No Firearms” signs are doing their honest, law-abiding customers a grave disservice. What they should be doing is posting the following sign:

firearms welcome

References
1
Link to MSNBC article

2James Slack, “The most violent crime rate in Europe: Britain is also worst than South Africa and the U.S.,” Daily Mail U.K., July 2, 2009. Link.

3Draft Constitution for Virginia, 1776

4Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Major John Cartwright (5 June 1824).

5Justice Hugo Black, dissenting in Adamson v. California (1947)

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What is RYOC? It is the answer to the question…

The answer begins with what RYOC is not. It is not about terrorism, revolution, or subversion. Here at RYOC, we work within the rules to effect change. Whether that’s change for the future or for the restoration of the way our country to its Constitutional basis is up to all citizens. Most people see these sides in conflict. I believe the two sides can collaborate, and in so doing accomplish more good for our country and humankind together than they could ever hope to achieve separately, or worse, as antagonists.  As Dr. Benjamin Carson mentioned during his recent keynote speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, lawyers are all about winning, no matter what, and right now our government is full of lawyers.  That doesn’t work.  We need to knock that off and find real solutions to some very real problems facing America today.

We remain a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”1 WE are “the people.” If we leave everything up to our government, they will continue to distance themselves until they hold all the power and hold all the keys. Humanity has been down that road before, however, and we know where it leads. Our government cannot survive. We cannot survive.

It is up to us. No politician can or will restore our country. They are still a part of that system. They are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, they will fight to protect it. We’re better than this. We must not think we are — we must know we are. It is up to us to restore our country, one politician at a time. That process begins here. That process begins now.

RYOC is more than a blog or an Internet forum. It’s a collaborative matrix where we can work to improve current and proposed legislation, executive orders, court decisions, and other current issues. While it uses the best message forum software on the planet, running on one of the best hosting companies, RYOC has a unique structure and set of tools.  Here you’ll find the resources where you can collaborate on what’s real, what’s right for our country. Here you can organize specific efforts focusing on specific issues, in ways designed to wake others and our politicians up from their dream world, from the bondage into which they were born. RYOC is the answer to the question that drives you mad.

We are all here to do what we are all here to do. Just remember – there is no spoon.

Addendum:  I chose the user name “patriot” not out of vain or selfish ambition, but from a quote by George Washington:

“While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” – General Orders (2 May 1778); published in Writings of George Washington (1932), Vol.XI, pp. 342-343.

1U.S. Declaration of Independence, 1776