Too Much Violence

There is too much violence in the world.

Physical violence.

Verbal violence.

Emotional violence.

When there aren’t body sores.

There are emotional and mental ones.

So much suffering.

The silent masses.

Their doors close.

But behind them.

And outside.

In the chaos of the streets and on the subways.

You can see it in the eyes.

And hear it in their voices.

Maybe they are black and blue.

The people are troubled.

The world is insane.

The children are especially innocent.

The weak at the hands of the strong.

Anarchy reigns where G-dliness is absent.

Why? Why? Why?

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Anti-Semitism: Preparedness Can’t Be Blind

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Anti-Semitism: Preparedness Can’t Be Blind.”

As I’m standing there, I feel someone coming up behind me and then running into me. Of course, with anti-Semitic attacks prominent and growing, I may have been at a slightly higher state of alert, and I turn around ready for whatever or to give someone a few choice words…And then I see the cane from a blind person.


So even in these times, when there are gangs, drugs, violence, and anti-Semitism, and “we can’t be careful enough” (especially given our long, deep history of religious persecution), at the same time, we need to judge our fellow man favorably first and foremost, and still we must be prepared for, G-d forbid, the worst at any time.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Celebrating With Security

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Celebrating With Security.”

Take a look around you at the new security measures and people risking their lives for yours and your family. Take a moment to thank them. But also, recognize that the security isn’t there just for show, it’s there because the hatred and threats have tangibly increased along with the ever present means to carry them out. It is critical that we continue our vigilance and the strengthening of our security measures, because those that hate us for who we are and for our faith are not going away, and unfortunately, they may even continue to grow in numbers and resolve. However, none of us should live in fear and be forced to stay away from our religious institutions, our Torah study, and prayer, but rather to the contrary, we need to stand up strongly–in defiance and in faith!


While I don’t know what specific security measures we will see next Rosh Hashanah, I can say with almost absolute certainty that it will be more and not less and that you should definitely be taking notice.

(Image by Robert-Owen-Wahl from Pixabay)

Shootings in El Paso and Dayton

Another bloody weekend…this time in El Paso and Dayton. 


With at least 29 dead and 53 injured in mass shootings.


We still don’t seem to be able to get a state of security in our country. 


Whether it’s gangs and violence in our decaying cities (yes, like Baltimore). 


Or mass shootings by racists and nut jobs attacking our schools, houses of worship, shopping malls, and places of work. 


People can buy assault rifles with mega mags of ammunition and go crazy.


And they do!


While I was impressed with the response in Dayton especially, they killed the perpetrator within 30 seconds of the start to his killing spree, in other cases it takes considerably longer,


Moreover, while generally the first responders are brave and heroic in going after and taking out the bad guys, in places like the Parkland shooting, the officer apparently hid behind a tree while the students got massacred. 


We need a rethinking of how we deal with these terror situations. 


Can technology help (and I know these may sound crazy, but we have to think out-of-the-box at some point)?


We have the ShotSpotter technology to pinpoint where shootings are occurring. 


Why can’t we have persistent armed drones on patrol with AI ready to swoop in (even through an open door or window) and respond and neutralize the shooter (while law enforcement makes their way through our busy city streets). 


Other ideas…embedded chips in humans (yes, it is coming) that would drive the privacy wonks nuts, but can identify occurrences of extreme violence and potentially stop it.  


I am sure there are other technology ideas out there.


Certainly, we do need to balance privacy with safety, and it will be tricky to make sure the AI is getting it right, but as we figure this out, tragically there are fathers, mothers, children not coming home because they are dead.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Border Security – The Facts

So in this longest of U.S. government shutdowns, one thing that is missing from the debate are an articulation of the facts. 


All I hear day-in and -out is that President Trump wants to build a wall or barrier on the Southern border because there is a crisis. And the Democrats in turn say it’s not necessary, it’s a waste of money, and even that it’s immoral, and that they will resist Trump!


But this is not a reasoned debate!


Who cares who wants what and who hates who in politics.


We need to be presented with a solid communication of facts, figures, and why should we support a position or not. 


Yes, an endorsement by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is helpful, but the opposition can just claim partisan politics. 


So here are some simple facts to inform the discussion:


Gun Trafficking:

– Over 253,000 guns annually cross the border from the U.S. to Mexico.


Drug Trafficking:

– Cartels send $64,000,000,000 of drugs annually from Mexico to U.S. 


Human Trafficking:

– Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked annually into the U.S. 


Gang Members:

– Almost 6,000 gang members in 2018 were deported by ICE.


Illegal Immigrants:

– The U.S. and Customer and Border Protection apprehended more than 500,000 illegals trying to enter in 2008, and there are between 12 to 22 million illegals in the U.S, today


Looking at these numbers, I am not sure how anyone can say that the current border situation is secure–it isn’t. 


So whatever we are doing with agents, sensors, surveillance, intelligence, inspection, and interdiction –no matter how good it is–it is not enough. 


Certainly a request for Border Wall funding for $5 billion out of a $4.4 trillion dollar budget and placing barriers on hundreds of miles out of a 2,000 mile border, does not seem at all extreme!


While I do not like to be on a government shutdown, I certainly don’t see why this can’t be resolved with some reasoned border security funding that includes among the other security measures, a wall/barrier. 


A strategically-placed border barrier only stands to reason in a layered defense/system of systems approach to security. 


For some of those that don’t want the wall, and only want votes from a broken immigration system, this is a fight for power, rather than a genuine argument on how to help secure the country. 


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Outnumbered Yes


I liked this saying that I heard:


“Outnumbered and outgunned, but not outsmarted.”


I think there is a lot of truth to this. 


Might does not make right. 


Right makes right. 


There is a G-d above who watches over us. 


Those with the big guns may just end up shooting themselves in the foot. 


G-d reigns supreme and he gives wisdom and courage to his faithful. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Spiked Battle Hammer

Saw this at the Maryland Renaissance Festival and thought this was a notable weapon/art piece. 


It’s a War (Battle) Hammer with a spike on one side and an animal head for the hammer on the other. 


TV shows like Vikings and Z(i.e. zombie) Nation have made these sort of famous again.


It’s sort of crazy the things people used in the past to fight and kill with. 


Imagine getting clobbered with one of these…ugly!


But before guns, when the battle was up close and personal, what choice did people really have to defend themselves with.


It was life or death…and many in the most gruesome ways ended up the latter. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Calling BS on Germany’s BDS

Guns.jpeg

So I think this is the definition of irony and more blatant anti-Semitism out there. 


Hitler’s Germany committed genocide and murdered 6,000,000 Jewish men, women, and children during the Holocaust–1 out of every 3 Jews in the entire world–and killed tens of millions more in their fight of World War II. 


And now one of Germany’s top gun manufacturers, Heckler and Koch, has put democratic Israel, the Jewish Homeland, which is surrounded by hostile neighbors–on their banned list of countries to sell guns to because of war zones and corruption. 


— Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black???


BDS is anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, and a form of terrorism!


My own family–from Germany–suffered at the hands of Hitler and his henchman, and no more Jews should suffer the same. 


Germany, please put a lid on resurgent anti-Semitism, and respect Israel’s right to self-defense, and to peace and security. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Planning For The End Of The World

ammo

I have never heard so much about the coming of the end of the world, Armageddon, the Apocalypse, and World War III as I am hearing these days…


The world seems to truly be going mad. 


And that MAD is as in CRAZY and as in Mutually Assured Destruction. 


– 25 years after the end of the Cold War, we are back in a nuclear arms race with Russia!


– Despite being our largest trading and economic partner, we are now going head-to-head confronting China over trade, Taiwan, and the South China Sea! 


– While setting some near-term constraints, we have in effect solidified Iran’s getting the nuclear bomb!


– As North Korea continues developing and testing nukes and ballistic missiles, we have no answers for how to deal with them!


Not only have we failed to contain the many threats we face, but also in many or most cases, we have made them worse.


– The Middle East has gone from the promise of an Arab Spring to instead raging in flames and becoming the modern-day killing fields


– Even as ISIS becomes more dangerous despite having less territory, they are likely eclipsed by Iran’s global terror expansion as a threat to the world order


– The refugee crisis has meant that ISIS terrorists have infiltrated our borders and are now living among us ready to strike at will. 


– There is a real documented threat of a terrorist attack using radiological, chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons of mass destruction


– The European Union is falling apart and it’s future is unknown. 


– Increasing border attacks and escalating tensions are creating a risk of a dangerous Indian-Pakistani War


Obama has alienated our allies, reduced our stature among the nations, and destabilized the world


– While people are arguing over the state of hopelessness since the election or from before it, either way, there is huge divisiveness in America. 


– Gun ownership is soaring and people are stockpiling ammo


– Videos have emerged from people in near-death experiences claiming to have vividly seen the coming World War III and the prelude to the coming of the messiah. 


– There is even widespread recognition by our space experts that we are woefully unprepared for an errant asteroid or comet hitting the Earth


Clergy is warning and encouraging us to repent and do good deeds to merit G-d saving us from the coming cataclysm, whatever it ends up being.


I am certainly not a forecaster of doom and gloom, but always try to remain hopeful and encourage everyone to do their best to improve the world.


But I also must reflect on the voices of anger, frustration, and exasperation around the world that are growing ever louder and scarier daily…the latest with Obama’s betrayal of Israel at the United Nations Security Council.  


What comes next politically may very well determine whether the end is near or the future gets bright again. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Matter Of Vigilance

Handprints.jpeg

Getting around town, I have noticed a stark and scary hands-off absence of security. 


So different than the immediate vigilance after the attacks of 9/11 is the sleepiness of our security establishment now. 


Recently, I noticed a security guard not on lookout, but rather on video games on his smartphone while standing post. 


And then again coming down the street today, another guard (no child that is) was putting up handprints on the fogged up glass instead of having their hands safely on (or off) their trigger. 


What was even more frightening was that the guard abruptly turns around while handprinting the windows, as if I did something wrong just walking by, and says to me, “You scared me!”


To which I promptly replied, “Really, you’re the one with the gun!”


It’s incredible how far we have fallen security-wise after the attacks from New York to Paris and Orlando to Kiryat Arba.


In the Wall Street Journal today, Bret Stephens writes, “It’s depressing to think that the only way the world might understand the truth about terrorism is to have some experience of it.” 


Why do we have to be lazy and lackadaisical, playing around with people’s lives, instead of with it and ready to prevent the next one and the next one?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)