U-Haul Rental Truck Terrorism

u-haul

So true story…

This week I was walking in Downtown, D.C.

I see something strange, not usually there. 

There is a U-Haul van parked in front of the GW University School of Science and Engineering. 

Literally in front of the main doors.

A couple of it’s wheels are actually sloppily on the sidewalk and it is in front of a fire hydrant in front of the very doors to the school.

But that’s not all. 

All around the vehicle are oddly taped on posters as you see above. 

On some of the posters are antagonistic words about DOJ (the Department of Justice) and some even use the word “terrorist.”

Well, after the devastating terror attack in 1995 against the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building with a massive homemade bomb concealed in a rental truck that killed 168 people and wounded almost 700, I decided it’s probably a good idea to call the police. 

In the time that it took them to come, I was able to walk to the market place and to coffee…I know they are busy, but it seemed like forever. 

Finally, two patrol cars pull up…that’s good. 

I go outside to meet them. 

The officer after briefly looking around (and not in) the vehicle looks at me as I walk over to him. 

I said, “I called you about this suspicious vehicle.”

He goes sternly, “Well, what’s suspicious about it?”

I described the obvious…how it was parked with wheels on the sidewalk, at a fire hydrant, right in front of the main doors to the school, and with all those (crazy) posters all around it and uses the word “terrorist”.

Surprisingly to me, the officer responds, “That’s not suspicious!” Then he concedes, “but I will give it a ticket.”

He must’ve seen my face go into this contorted questioning look, but I thought the better of the situation and said with deference to him, “Well Sir, you’re the expert!”

I thank him for coming out and walk away feeling disheartened at this security response just 15 years after 9/11 and when we are still fighting a gruesome war with ISIS and against global terrorism. 

Then just a few days later, look at the article I came across with a homeland security warning:

“ISIS Guide: Rent a U-Haul As A Weapon, Target Thanksgiving Day Parade or Political Rallies.”

In the ISIS instructions, there is a picture of a U-Haul truck with the caption, “An Affordable Weapon” and the statement that “low security” gatherings “are fair game and more devastating to Crusader nations.”

With all due respect for our esteemed law enforcement, perhaps we need to take these terrorist warnings more seriously, and frankly even without the explicit warning, a suspicious U-Haul in downtown DC in front of a major university probably deserves more than just a parking ticket! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Politicized Justice

fullsizerender

DC is in partisanship chaos once again, but this time it’s our very justice system at the heart of it. 


There is widely publicized internal fighting at the FBI and Department of Justice over whether and how far to investigate, let alone ever prosecute, emails and foundation issues from a presidential candidate. 


As the FBI can only investigate, they have no jurisdiction over whether prosecutors are willing to then take the case forward. 


Downtown today, there were signs that said:


“I Need Some Good News.com”


This was referencing the new soundtrack of “Good News” by Ocean Park Standoff, but it could easily summarize the standoff between the FBI and Justice Department and the political parties lining up behind them. 

So there is certainly the need for some good news, as a dour mood settles over the capital and the people around the nation watching this play out so awfully, where politics have gotten in between us and our candidates and doing what’s right. 


From the song:


“I need some good news baby ’cause the world’s gone crazy.”


When even our law enforcement authorities can no longer function without impediment, and when there is no core impunity from political infringement and recriminations, we know even our most basic system of justice has gone awry with political dysfunction. 


Yes, it’s crazy and it’s definitely not good news for the progress and righteousness of this great nation. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Alarming Graffiti Message

I actually stopped to read and photograph this graffiti or should I all it a cry for help.


First of all the “artist” was considerate and put it on paper (that was taped up), and not directly on the street pole.


Second, there are some incredibly thoughtful, alarming, and prayer messages on this in both English (as well as in Asian, and Hebrew languages), such as:


– “Jewish prayer for no rape.”


–  “Abusive bee.” “Bee pose,” “Queen bee,” “Bee wisdom,” and “Bee Sting”


– “Abusive spiritual teachers being arrested”


– “We are angelic”


– “I pray for diversity in the bee colony”


– “I pray for a well taught dog”


– “Goddess may the dog be happy”


– “Hashem [G-d] causes the generations to realize they are one”


– “Temple of the animist”


– “Freedom of religion.”


– “Kosher U.S.A. Government”


– “Thanks MD/DC Service Dog.”


There is more, but I couldn’t make out all of it.


There is a also a drawing of a girl in a sitting position with her knees up and sort of smiling.


What strikes me most in this are the numerous references to some sort of abuse, likely sexual with the references to things like prayer for no rape, abusive bee, bee sting, bee pose, and abusive spiritual teachers being arrested.


I feel very unsettled by this, like someone is in trouble and this is a call for help from the community.


All the identification with religion, spirituality, and G-d make this even more significant in terms of the spiritual questioning and perhaps confusion from it all.


Also, is this person disabled/blind–note the reference to the service dog.


I hope that this person(s) are okay and that if they are in danger and need help: go immediately to your parents, the police, school authorities, or a social worker.


People in the community care, and especially G-d hears your prayers.


Whoever might be hurting you needs to be dealt with by the authorities, and please G-d, you will be alright. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Building An Appropriate Wall

Border

Ok, let’s be honest, Trump is right about the border.  

And no, I do not believe that he is fascist and evil like the social engineers in politics would like you to believe for their own motives. 

Let’s face it, the border needs to be appropriately secured once and for all from illegal immigration. 

We need to support our law enforcement agents such as the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in protecting this great country. 

Why all the argument about “illegal” Immigration…it’s illegal!

By all means, provide amble and robust ways for peaceful-loving people to come to this country legally, especially for family, refuge, asylum, and to escape violence, persecution, and war.  

But if someone is here illegally, then Trump is right, we need to see that valid moral law and order is reestablished and not permit violence, crime, and chaos to continue by edict, closing our eyes to it, or even tacit permission. 

Whoever calls this fascism is either a liar or possibly some sort of anarchist and dangerous to a civilized way of life, plain and simple. 

How do any of our politicians who take the oath of office and swear to uphold our constitution try to get around this?

Here are some statistics relevant to the issue of secure borders:

Human Trafficking: There are 29.8 people in the world trapped in modern slavery or 1 out of every 236!  And there are 60,000 victims reported in the United States of America.  

Drug Trafficking: Drug trafficking in Mexico is a $50 billion business, and as of 2009, 23.5 million people in the U.S. age 12 and over needed treatment for illicit drug or alcohol abuse. 

Deadly Terrorism: The deadly toll of Terrorism has increased 800% since 2010 with an average of 30,000 people killed annually. “More attacks are happening and they tend to be deadlier than ever.”

Violent Crime and Murders:  In the five states of California, Texas, Arizona, Florida, and New York, illegal aliens accounted for 38% of all murder convictions, equating to over 7,000 of the murders. 

Economic Effects:  While undocumented workers do obviously help perform work particularly in some important lower wage jobs for us, there are also many negative economic effects of illegal aliens to consider such as undercutting wages or taking jobs from other who are legally entitled to the work. Additionally, the cost for their healthcare and education that is covered by the American people contributes to the overall staggering national debt. 

Overall, while “who we are” and want to be is a compassionate and generous people, there is no reason to circumvent the law and to let people into the country who have not duly applied and been permitted entry and stay.  

Shenanigans of “catch and release” or not to deport illegal immigrants “who don’t have a criminal record”–is completely nonsensical since being illegal is criminal!

We need to secure our country from human trafficking, drug trafficking, terrorism, murders, as well as the negative economic effects of illegal immigration, while at the same time opening our hearts and the process for vetted legal immigrants to make their way here and become productive citizens. 

We are and should be good people, but that doesn’t mean we need to be stupid and irresponsible and put at risk our nation’s security through unnecessarily reckless open and porous borders. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Climbing The Tower, Remembering 9/11

 
Never Forget Tower Fire Truck Firefighter Little Firefighter

It’s the weekend before the anniversary of 9/11, and today in full gear, about 100 firefighters and police officers climbed the 28-story tower in Rockville 4 1/2 times today equaling the 2,000 stairs in the World Trade Centers.

This to remember the 343 firefighter and 71 police officer heroes that fell that fateful day.

Also, to raise funds for the firefighter burn fund. 

While some are war weary and would rather forget or pretend it never even happened…

It is so important that we not forget the devastating terrorist attack by Islamic extremists on 9/11 that took us by surprise and cost this nation so dearly. 

Reckless pacifism, appeasement, cowardice, and running from the fight without defeating the enemy and restoring societal order will only bring the fight to us. 

We need ongoing vigilance, investment and improvements to homeland security and our national defense, and the spread of freedom and human rights across the globe.

(The interview with the firefighter was narrated by me, Andy Blumenthal)

(Source Photos: Me as well). 

Stop Harassment Now

Harassment 2

I took this photo on the Washington, D.C. Metro. 


“If It’s Unwanted, It’s Harassment.”


Only a day or two later, some ladies came to me complaining that they had been harassed on the Metro.


Apparently, they had been on the platform waiting for a train and a young man was first staring at them, then coming around them menancingly, and then following them. 


Thank G-d, they got away, but it was a frightening situation that left them wanting to actually move away. 


Residents in the metro D.C area and customers of Metro should not have to ride in fear. 


We need more police and surveillance cameras on the Metro system now!


Signs are a great reminder, but law enforcement action is what is really needed and called for. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Drones Neighbor Against Neighbor

Drones
Fascinating perspective in the New York Times today on the future diabolical use of drones.



Yes, drones can be used for defense, law enforcement, search and rescue, neighborhood watch, agriculture, and even Amazon or Pizza Hut deliveries. 



But what about the darker side of drones–used neighbor against neighbor, where anyone can buy a fairly sophisticated drone for merely hundreds of dollars and use it against others in the community.



– Want to use the (surveillance) camera to spy on your neighbor?



– Want to use its claws to pick up and steal something?



– Want to airlift and plant evidence or contraband and frame someone unjustly?



– Want to distract someone or cause an accident or fatality?



Ok, I am going a lot further than the NYT article…but really what prevents people from doing these things and more?



The article does mention new FAA policies “prohibiting drones from flying [over stadiums] near major sporting events.”



But think about a drone in the hands of a terrorist with a dirty bomb or G-d forbid, even a WMD, and the drone swooping into a densely populated area like a stadium or even Times Square…what would prevent this–perhaps, nothing?



Think about it…this is about to become a lot more dangerous world because drones are not just for the good guys anymore, and the bad guys may not care about FAA regulations and penalties. 



(Source Photo: here with attribution to outacontext)

100 Times Harassed


After my last blog on stopping sexual assault, a colleague brought this other video to my attention.



32 million views and 120 thousand comments and counting. 


This young lady walks around the streets of New York for 10 hours in jeans and a t-shirt and is verbally harassed a 100 times–not including winks and whistles. 



Women (and men) should not have to live in fear, shame, or be abused doing nothing but living their lives peacefully and respectfully. 



Darn, can the folks out there show some respect and decency.



This could be your mother, wife, sister, or daughter…think about it.



Video sponsored by IHollaback

Stop Sexual Assault

Abuse
Saw this poster coming off the Metro today in Washington D.C. 

 
“It’s on all of us to stop sexual assault.”
 
It reminded me of this article I read in the DailyMail about this father of a 14-year girl in India that was raped in her home by a medical supply salesman. 
 
The young girl was raped and impregnated by a 45-year old man who boasted that he was “too well-connected” to ever be prosecuted. 
 
After some time passed, the father invited the rapist to dinner!
 
The rapist came. 
 
The father overcame the rapist, and repeatedly burned the man’s genitals with hot thongs.
 
The rapist died.
 
This one rapist will certainly not be doing this again. 
 
While blatant violation of the law and vigilantism is not okay, the poster is right that we need to “stop sexual assault.”
 
Statistics in this country are that 20% of college women are sexually assaulted before they graduate. 
 
Unacceptable!
 
Laws protecting women (and men) from sexual assault need to be strengthened, penalties stiffened, and we all need to be on the lookout for inappropriate behavior and speedily report this to law enforcement.
 
And no one should be above the law and basic morality. 
 
It’s on us.”  
 
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Fell, Jumped, Or Pushed

Humpty Dumpty
Maybe the jury is still out on whether Humpty Dumpty fell, jumped, or was pushed. 



Of course, it’s very easy to say affirmatively any one of these, but that doesn’t necessarily make it true (even when there is a children’s rhyme or bumper sticker that goes with it). 



I think the point is that this is what investigations, witnesses, evidence, and a trial is for…to figure out the truth. 



He says, she says…or as Judge Judy says, “It’s a lot of who shot John!”



It’s good not to jump to conclusions, especially when opinions may be subjective, biased, or have hidden agendas. 



Heck, even if Humpty Dumpty was pushed, they still couldn’t put him back together again, but at least someone should pay for the bad yoke. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)