Tuesday, December 29, 2015

American Resilience In Redlands

On December 26th, my family and I traveled to Redlands, California to visit some family that we weren't able to see on Christmas Day. We loaded up the car and drove the usual way. As we approached, on the same street that our family lives on but about two blocks away, we drove past some apartments that we'd seen many times before.

This apartment was recently made famous by a horrible incident not far away in San Bernardino. Yes, this is where the husband and wife lived who were Islamic extremists that shot up a Christmas party. We had driven past these apartments just a couple of days before the shooting, but, like everyone else passing by, we had no clue of the evil being plotted inside.
American Flag Nailed To The Door of Barbarity - Redlands, California
I'm not going to rehash the gory details that have been endlessly repeated on the news networks. I'm not going to say the names of the husband and wife involved, because they don't deserve the attention that they wanted. I don't want to bring any additional fame to them and what they did. It's not worth my time or my words.

After the shooting in San Bernardino, the President of the United States came out and said, "We will not be terrorized." I said aloud in response, "Too late."

Islamic extremists are targeting workplaces, commuter trains, rock concerts, holiday parties, and normal places where everyday people exist. This is where we live, work and play. It's in the back of my mind as I go about my daily routine. Is this the site of the next terror attack? Am I safe here?

I am already feeling terrorized.

We will be terrorized because we've already been terrorized and because we're not doing enough to prevent future terrorism. Our system is full of gaping holes. Unfortunately, there will be more attacks and attempted attacks.

It's not politically correct to stop terrorism. There are politicians who won't even verbally acknowledge that there is a problem in the first place (at least they won't say it in public). Or, if they do acknowledge that a problem exists, they'll never say what the problem actually is. There is a bigger fear of how some people will personally respond to violent radicalism than the evil plans that are being devised right now to kill innocent people.

Political correctness (which is a nicer way of saying censorship) is a big problem. The neighbor of the shooters who knew that those two were up to no good did not report it to authorities because of fear of backlash. The authorities, who already knew who these two were and that they were up to no good, did nothing because of fear of backlash.

It's not politically correct to say that most acts of terrorism worldwide are committed by those practicing Islam (even though this is true). In fact, there is a bill right now in Congress (currently in the Judiciary Committee) that makes it illegal to say so--it would be considered "hate speech." I suppose the 1st Amendment doesn't exist anymore.

There is also a general decline in morality in America. Earlier this year Vladimir Putin criticized our nation's lack of morals, and, while it may seem like a case of hypocrisy, he actually had a very valid point. We don't hold dear the virtues that once were our foundation, and on occasion have down right rejected them. In addition, we don't have the same fortitude that once made us strong.

Yet, despite the political correctness, despite our immorality, despite our cowardice, we still somehow have resilience. A whole bunch of it, in fact. I was surprised.

When we drove past the now-vacant apartment that the shooters had once lived--the place where they plotted murder and constructed bombs--which is now boarded up, some anonymous person has nailed an American flag to the door.

It was such a simple yet bold statement. And it really struck me. We will bounce back. We will recover. We will survive. We will overcome. We will move forward. We are tough as nails. We are Americans.

It doesn't matter if nobody superimposes an American flag over their Facebook profile picture (like so many did for France). That's not real. That's the fake world of social media.

People rarely consider what the colors--red, white and blue--of the American flag symbolize. Over the years it has meant different things, but in 1986 President Ronald Reagan put it this way: "Red for courage and readiness to sacrifice; white for pure intentions and high ideals; and blue for vigilance and justice."

That definition is what America is all about. That's what we celebrate. That's is why we are so darn resilient. You may be able to wound us, but we will most certainly overcome your hate and destruction.

There are plenty of people who don't like Reagan's definition. Some people ask what their country can do for them (instead of what they can do for their country). Some dislike our high ideals, or, at least resent where the high ideals came from. Some would argue that vigilance is narrow-mindedness and that justice isn't about character. These people sabotage our resilience.

The American flag is nailed to the boarded-up front door where two barbaric individuals once lived. Their actions are despised. Their names will be forgotten. Thanks to courageous people who are ready to sacrifice with pure intentions and high ideals, with vigilance for justice, we have a strong resilience. And, because of that, it is true, we will not be terrorized.

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