"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Monday, November 24, 2014

Terry Bressi on Qualified Immunity

Our nation's point man in the fight against unlawful Border Patrol activity in the nation's interior, Terry Bressi of CheckPointUSA.org, recently blogged about my civil suit against two Border Patrol agents.  He takes on the government's claim that the requirement for brevity, absent consent or probable cause, is not clearly established.  The government's argument hinges on the fact that our nation's courts chose to merely use the word "brief" to limit these interior checkpoint encounters, and declined to numerically spell out the term so that it might be measured with a stopwatch.  The courts have, in fact, explicitly refused to provide a time standard, which makes sense in a situation where facts and circumstances are as different as the individuals driving through the checkpoints.  It would be strange, however, if the courts' diction decision were meant to provide immunity to government agents, being that those same courts have also stated that brevity would be the principal protection of Fourth Amendment rights during these exception-to-the-Fourth-Amendment's-individual-suspicion-standard checkpoint intrusions.

Terry Bressi appears to believe, as it would appear our country's courts also have, that public servants can, and should be expected to understand what a requirement for brevity means without having it spelled out on a time piece.  The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals now has an important decision to make.  If they continue with court precedent to not provide a stopwatch time limit to these checkpoints, then they must expect our public servants to understand terms like "brief" and "reasonably necessary to determine immigration status," and the court must consider multiple court rulings using those terms as equating to fair warning and clearly established law.  If they do not, then the "principal protection" of our rights at these checkpoints amounts to absolutely no protection at all - and these brief, limited, minimally intrusive stops envisioned as a limited exception to our Fourth Amendment rights, will be solidified as being far more intrusive and ironically even less limited than stops based on individualized suspicion of a crime.

It would be an Alice-in-Wonderland development if the court were to rule that 1) brevity is the principal protection of rights, but 2) they will not use a stopwatch to measure brevity, and 3) they can offer no protection of rights because no stopwatch measurement exists.  Such a ruling would make no sense.

Fortunately, I am confident our public servants on the Fifth Circuit bench will get this decision right.  I've reproduced Bressi's recent blog post below:

On March 18, 2010 Major Richard Rynearson, an active duty air force pilot, was illegally detained for over 34 minutes at an internal immigration checkpoint near Uvalde, Texas despite answering all immigration related questions and showing multiple forms of identification to Border Patrol agents. Agents who were far more interested in harassing Mr. Rynearson than verifying his immigration status. Instead of disciplining his subordinates for violating Border Patrol legal guidance, violating the law and violating Mr. Rynearson's rights, Chief Patrol Agent Robert Harris (depicted below) doubled down by writing a letter to Rynearson's command complaining about Rynearson actually exercising some of those rights Harris is responsible for protecting.

Not being one to standby and do nothing while authoritarians like Harris & his band of highwaymen bully the traveling public, Rynearson filed suit in August of 2012 against the Border Patrol agents who violated their oath of office. Not unsurprisingly, the district court dismissed the lawsuit without allowing discovery and under false pretenses that weren't even raised by the Border Patrol defendants in their filings.

Rynearson appealed the lower court's decision to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on February 28, 2014 and was joined by the Texas Civil Rights Project which filed an Amicus Curai Brief in support of the appeal. In response, the 5th circuit not only agreed to review the case but also allow oral argument. The video appearing above contains the audio from that oral argument which was heard on September 2, 2014. Currently Rynearson awaits the appellate court's decision.

While the above represents a quick overview of the checkpoint incident and its aftermath, I wanted to bring special attention to the position of the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the case. DOJ attorney Steven Frank represented the Border Patrol agents during oral argument and as such Mr. Frank's position represents that of the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security.

Frank argued that no clearly established rights had been violated because a thirty four minute detention absent consent or probable cause at an immigration checkpoint should be considered perfectly reasonable. When pressed on the matter by the three judge panel, Frank essentially claimed that the court should adopt the same standard for internal immigration checkpoints that had been adopted for cases involving the actual border or its functional equivalent. Cases where the courts had upheld detentions ranging between ten and twenty four hours. This despite the fact that the legal standard of review for cases involving the border or its functional equivalent is very different from that of cases involving immigration checkpoints inside the country.

Since the cases Frank cited to hadn't been referenced in any filings to date, the three judge panel ordered Frank to submit a 28J letter to the court within twenty four hours. That letter and Rynearson's response is available online here.

What's disturbing about all this is not only Frank's apparent cavalier disregard for the truth as pointed out by this article:

Federal Appellate Judge Slams Justice Department Over Immigration Checkpoint Detention -The Newspaper
But also Frank's false claim to the court regarding an alleged lack of clearly established law on the permissible length of detentions at internal immigration checkpoints. To the contrary, several cases have spoken loud and clear on the issue:
The justified scope of the stop was immigration-related questions. Therefore, the permissible duration of the stop was the amount of time reasonably necessary for Agent Holt to ask a few questions about immigration status.” - U.S. V Machuca-Barrera
If Machuca-Barrera had not consented to the requested search, Agent Holt would not have been able to extend the stop beyond its permissible duration. The mere fact that a person refuses to consent to search cannot be used as evidence in support of reasonable suspicion. See United States v. Hunnicutt, 135 F.3d 1345, 1350-51 (10th Cir. 1998) (noting that it "would make a mockery of the reasonable suspicion and probable cause requirements . . . if citizens' insistence that searches and seizures be conducted in conformity with constitutional norms could create the suspicion or cause that renders their consent unnecessary"); Karnes v. Skrutski, 62 F.3d 485, 495 (3d Cir. 1995) (holding that refusal to consent to search "cannot support a finding of reasonable suspicion"); see also United States v. Moreno, 233 F.3d 937, 941 (7th Cir. 2000) (collecting related cases). - U.S. V Machuca-Barrera
"The principal protection of Fourth Amendment rights at checkpoints lies in appropriate limitations on the scope of the stop." - U.S. v. Martinez-Fuerte
"Our prior cases have limited significantly the reach of this congressional authorization, requiring probable cause for any vehicle search in the interior & reasonable suspicion for inquiry stops by roving patrols. Our holding today, approving routine stops for brief questioning is confined to permanent checkpoints. We understand, of course, that neither longstanding congressional authorization nor widely prevailing practice justifies a constitutional violation" - U.S. v. Martinez-Fuerte
"...We have held that checkpoint searches are constitutional only if justified by consent or probable cause to search....& our holding today is limited to the type of stops described in this opinion. -'[A]ny further detention...must be based on consent or probable cause.' " United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, supra, at 882. None of the defendants in these cases argues that the stopping officers exceeded these limitations.” - U.S. v. Martinez-Fuerte
The reasonableness of checkpoint stops, however, turns on factors such as the location & method of operation of the checkpoint, factors that are not susceptible to the distortion of hindsight, & therefore will be open to post-stop review notwithstanding [428 U.S. 543, 566] the absence of a warrant.” - U.S. v Martinez-Fuerte
Because of the important governmental interest in preventing the illegal entry of aliens at the border, the minimal intrusion of a brief stop, & the absence of practical alternatives for policing the border, an officer, whose observations lead him reasonably to suspect that a particular vehicle may contain aliens who are illegally in the country, may stop the car briefly, question the driver & passengers about their citizenship & immigration status, & ask them to explain suspicious circumstances; but any further detention or search must be based on consent or probable cause.” - U.S. v Brignoni-Ponce
The price of that effectiveness, however, is intrusion on individual interests protected by the Fourth Amendment. We have held that the intrusiveness of even these brief stops for purposes of questioning is sufficient to render them "seizures" under the Fourth Amendment. See Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S., at 16 . For precisely that reason, the scope of seizures of the person on less than probable cause that Terry [461 U.S. 352, 365] permits is strictly circumscribed to limit the degree of intrusion they cause. Terry encounters must be brief; the suspect must not be moved or asked to move more than a short distance; physical searches are permitted only to the extent necessary to protect the police officers involved during the encounter; &, most importantly, the suspect must be free to leave after a short time & to decline to answer the questions put to him." - Kolender v. Lawson
The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that refusal to answer law enforcement questions cannot form the basis of reasonable suspicion. See Florida v. Bostick, 501 U.S. 429, 437, 111 S.Ct. 2382, 115 L.Ed.2d 389 (1991) ("We have consistently held that a refusal to cooperate, without more, does not furnish the minimal level of objective justification needed for a detention or seizure.") (citing INS v. Delgado, 466 U.S. 210, 216-17, 104 S.Ct. 1758, 80 L.Ed.2d 247 (1984); Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 498, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 75 L.Ed.2d 229 (1983) (plurality); Brown v. Texas, 443 U.S. 47, 52-53, 99 S.Ct. 2637, 61 L.Ed.2d 357 (1979)). Vague answers may sometimes be a polite way to sidestep impertinent questions." - U.S. v. Santos 403 F.3d 1120 (2005)
And these are just a few quotes from cases that directly address the reasonable length of time that individuals can be detained absent consent or probable cause - be they at internal immigration checkpoints or walking down a public street. While there has been no hard and fast times defined by the courts on when a checkpoint detention becomes unreasonable, court case after court case have made it clear that detentions must be BRIEF in the absence of consent or probable cause and that refusal to cooperate or answer questions can't be used as a basis for reasonable suspicion let alone probable cause.

Frank's embarrassing and ethically questionable testimony to the 5th circuit court of appeals should stand as a stark reminder to all of us regarding just how little regard the DOJ and DHS has for the rule of law and individual rights when the law and those rights conflict with federal interests.

A few additional articles related to the appeal can be found at:
For previous Roadblock Revelations articles regarding this case, see:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bridging the Civilian-Military Gap on the Air

Your humble blogger had the opportunity to discuss military accountability on a local radio show last night.  The conversation centered on whether citizens should hold their military accountable as they also attempt to hold their police forces accountable.  A discussion of military adulation and hero worship, the role of the military, constitutional authority for war, the duty to refuse unlawful orders, the concept of "just war," free speech and the military member, and a brief discussion of anarchy ensued.

Those interested can listen to the radio show here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Time to Be a Great American

In the sands of time, we are less than a blink.  Even the history of America is little more.  But in terms of the human experience, America stands as the pinnacle of lessons learned, of liberty earned.  Each one of us will be one foot in the grave soon enough, and we will look back and we will honestly ponder, despite our rationalizations and justifications utilized up until that point, whether or not we used the time we had to do good.

Did we honor the sacrifices of those who came before us?  Did we do right by those who had less, worked harder, and who gave more than ourselves?  Do we honorably stand on the shoulders of greater generations?  Or do we merely pay those greater generations lip service while "playing the game" and using our fortunate positions for our own advancement?  Have we earned our place in America?

We will ponder whether or not we furthered the cause of America and helped make it the lamp on the hill.  Some of us will be unable to escape the reality that, when tested, we failed to do so and instead dimmed that precious light.  Given so much, in debt to those came before us, some will depart knowing they added nothing.  We are all measured.

Words and faint-hearted professions will not make for a comfortable departure.  When the clock strikes midnight, and you are recounting your life, and asking what was it all for - and you will - are you going to be able to say that you did right by your countrymen?  Did you leave the world a better place than it was left to you?

Did you give back according to what you received from the blood and sweat of those who came before?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Knock It Off, Knock it Off, Knock it Off

Please, please, let me visit my blog soon, and see that this embedded video above no longer works. (ETA: outstanding to see this video has now been removed). This is fail on so many levels, and some on significant levels.  Can you imagine what our enemies who have announced they want to attack our service members on our soil would think after viewing this?  Seriously?  It's no roll on the floor and giggle in your military uniform like a fourth grader matter.  Show some damn pride.

Knock it off, knock if off, knock it off.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Happy Veterans Day - Make Sure You Earn It

Tomorrow those of us in uniform will get thanks from strangers who assume we are protecting them and their rights.  Make sure you deserve the gratitude.  Remember that your oath and your duty applies domestically, just as much as it applies overseas.  The nation needs you to make good on your oath now more then ever.

As David Masciotra wrote recently:
It is undeniable that there are police officers who heroically uphold their motto and mission to “serve and protect,” just as it is indisputable that there are members of the military who valiantly sacrifice themselves for the sake of others. Reviewing the research proving cruelty and mendacity within law enforcement and the military, and reading the stories of trauma and tragedy caused by officers and soldiers, does not mean that no cop or troop qualifies as a hero, but it certainly means that many of them are not heroes.
It is incumbent upon us to ensure we deserve their thanks.  We need to ground ourselves in public service, study our thin Constitution, and ensure when we are tested with the choice between serving our countrymen or enhancing our own career or convenience that we make the choice of a faithful public servant.

Gratitude is not warranted simply by donning a uniform.  Make sure you deserve their thanks.

Friday, November 7, 2014

RIP Fumiko Hayashida

Once upon a time, in a land not far away, a bad king instructed his soldiers to forcibly arrest seventy-thousand innocent, men, women, children, and babies and put them in prison camps despite them having done nothing wrong.  Why?  Because the king said so, that's why.  The king's name was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the victims were ordinary hard working innocent American citizens, and the king's armed soldiers were our men of the United States Army.

Ms. Hayashida was one of those women forcibly removed from her home at the point of a soldier's bayonet, and forced onto a train taking her to an American concentration camp.  She was an American citizen who had a Fifth Amendment right to not have government take her life or liberty or property without the due process of law, but the government was of course unconcerned.  She saw no jury and there was no charge or conviction for any crime, not a shred of her right to due process, and the soldiers who stole her life and liberty were as worthless as their fascist president.  Congress didn't even pass a law mandating this unconstitutional violation of rights, it was simply done via Executive Order number 9066.  The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) tucked tail and declined to represent these Americans in the courts, to attempt to restore the tattered Constitution.  The Supreme Court of the United States got it wrong at any rate, repeatedly, as when tyranny reigns over a nation suddenly clear law and rights become complicated and grey, and not so easily understood without being read into the higher mysteries of a legal priesthood.

It would be wonderful to say that we Americans, and especially those of us who swore an oath to the Constitution, have learned from our history and are resolute to not let such tyrannical acts happen again in the land of the so-called free, and the home of the so-called brave.  But that isn't the case.  It has gotten much worse since the 1940s and Ms. Hayashida is fortunate that she was not murdered by a drone.  Our military officers today lack the concern, character, and courage required to make good on their oaths.  Simply put, they don't care about the rights of Ms. Hayashida or the American baby in her arms.  We have become a police state where our king's men will arrest a ninety-year old World War II veteran for feeding the homeless, just as quickly as they will push a button and remotely kill an American simply because they were told to do so.

Yet Ms. Hayashida's beautiful memorial will help the lesson not be lost on those very few Americans who still inhabit our nation.

Her internment was sad, her death is sad, but what is by far the most sad is that our nation has gone backward since even that dark period.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Not That There is Anything Wrong with Cannon AFB, But...

I told an airman in the squadron just yesterday, after he started talking to me about a fancy car, that he should invest his money and live as cheap as possible, and once his net worth grew to where he could afford that car, buy a model of it.  Paint it, make it sweet, put it on the mantle piece as a symbol of what you could purchase with cash.  As the net worth grows, the collection and quality of model cars also grows.  Then years later you'd have wealth, and you could still buy such a car if you wanted, with cash, but your frugality would give you far more valuable options than simply sporting some vehicle.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Living The Dream

For work today, I flew a two-ship formation out and back.  Departed NAS Pensacola out to the MOA and did a full bag of formation work over the beautiful beaches.  After a great time doing formation aerobatics over the blue waters, we dropped into BFM for an overhead, rejoined, flew the battleship tour over the Navy's big guns in the bay, and then did a wing landing at MOB.  Then we grabbed some Chipotle burrito gut bombs for lunch and hung out at the FBO while watching Uncle Spooky beat up the pattern.  Then we did another wing takeoff and flew back into the MOA for more glorious fun, before penetrating weather that had rolled over Pensacola.  Flew an instrument approach to another wing landing back into the NAS.  One debrief later, and I'm back home on my balcony on the beach listening to the fish jump, and watching dolphins cruise by our dock.

This truly is... living the dream.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Communication Style & The Military Officer

"The charge of vanity is the last refuge of little wits and of mercenary quacks! I have long learned, that a man may give offense, and he may still succeed!"

- President John Adams' character in "John Adams"

A commenter on this blog brought up a valuable discussion and various criticisms of your not-so humble blogger, on my recent post discussing how the message of public service brings about disdain and insult from military officers.  The essence of his criticism is that yours truly is not an effective communicator.  He may very well be right.  It's a criticism I have heard repeatedly over the years, and I have thought if there is one area where I could use some growth, it is in the art of persuasion and communication.

More specifically, my critic claims, "You lose your audience not with your argument but with your presentation" and "[i]rregardless, while I think you often have valid, sometimes even excellent points, you marginalize yourself with your methods of communication."  He further states, "I encourage you to acknowledge that simply because you feel yourself to be right does not necessarily make others immoral or wrong.”  He continues, "You owe it to your own stances to be more forgiving, more accepting, and more accommodating in your rebuttals.   Acknowledging opposing viewpoints is strength not weakness. Argue, do not belittle. Accept, do not marginalize."  He offers up, “Josh Billings, a famous 19th Century American writer, wrote that 'Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute.'”  He goes on to explain that, "Edward Gibbon (the author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire), wrote that he 'never make[s] the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinion I have no respect.' Unless you wish to further marginalize yourself, either respectfully acknowledge or simply ignore the opinions of those people and those forums for whom you have little to no respect."

To sum up my critic's argument, he suggests that 1) an argument can be won or lost not on argument, but on presentation and 2) methods of communication can marginalize a person and therefore make their message ineffective, and 3) feeling you are right does not make others wrong, 4) a communicator should be forgiving, accepting, and accommodating in rebuttals, and 5) sometimes silence is the best response to opinions offered in public discourse.

The context of these criticisms comes from this blogger's assertion that military officers must faithfully and sincerely honor their oaths to support and defend the Constitution and bear true faith and allegiance to it, refuse unlawful orders should one be encountered, and put their nation's defense and the rights of their countrymen above their own career ambitions and personal comfort.  Service before self.  And the context stems from this blogger's judgments that those who treat their oath to the Constitution with disdain are not fit for military service, and those who think it appropriate to use machines of war against American citizens are treasonous in their thought, if not their action.  With this context in mind, I'll respond to the various criticisms while acknowledging the truth that my communication could be better.

Argument can be won or lost on presentation.  To tackle this point, we would need an answer to the question, what is winning and losing?  I won't presume to define this for my critic, but I will share that I don't think of argument as a matter of winning or losing.  I wouldn't know how to gauge a victory or defeat in any case.  I have seen many officers who say the right things, who in a discussion of officership would "agree" with me, and I have seen them betray those values when tested in the most grave manner.  Words mean nothing.  Action means everything.  And until a person is tested, there is no measuring a win or loss.  Character is the center of gravity.  Words are often the armament of politicians and scoundrels, they cannot be trusted.

I don't attempt to mentor my peers in order to win or lose.  Rather, I seek to be a cause in a complex and unknowable calculus of causes and effects, in hopes that a person who was raised with some semblance of character, will develop the courage to do right by their nation should they be tested.  Based on my experience of the character of those in uniform, it seems a fool's errand, but the stakes are too high not to try.  Beyond that, the service has requested that I add my voice to the blogosphere, and so I do what I can, limited as my abilities may be.

I also realize that discussion is a team sport.  It's not unlike my college days as an opener.  Guys who were less confident than myself would go out with me, because I would brashly introduce myself to women in a cocky manner.  Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.  When my communication style didn't work, another guy could quickly move in and apologize for his buddy.  An opening was created.  While that approach was not nearly as successful as mine, sometimes it worked.  It was a team sport between guys who shared the same goal.  It's the same in discourse as it was with that other kind of "course" - although "winning" is much less measurable.

Despite my limited communication abilities, I have seen them work.  I have seen them have an effect on individuals and even groups.  I have seen my inputs shape a message.  I have seen positive effects from the causes I have offered the causal chain.  Admittedly, not often.

But I'm no magician or great persuader, and my viewpoint and my communication style is simply one offered among others.  Nothing prevents other officers from offering their more "effective" communication style, assuming they have the same goal to mentor frat boys in uniform to put away the beer bongs and turn off the football halftime show and develop into public servants.  And two causal factors with the same goal are surely better than one.  Especially on our very herd mentality peers.  They may not have the character required, and one person promoting public service may be marginalized.  But two voices?  Half a squadron?  A majority?  Getting the herd to refrain from unlawful acts, even if merely out of social pressure, is still a success.  So I invite those who are more effective in their communications to join the discussion.  Sadly, I certainly don't see such voices at present.  Perhaps there are some in lofty journals, but down here in the digital trenches, to say nothing of the hallways at work, the message of courageous public service seems to be extremely underrepresented.  Fascist viewpoints, once reserved for the enemies we fought in battle, have instead become the fashion.

Methods of communication can marginalize a person and therefore make their message ineffective.  This brings up, again, the fact that the herd mentality officers of Jonathan Dowty's characterization in his book on fighter pilot culture, and of my own experience of our service culture more broadly, do in fact act as a herd.  A person is marginalized because his message is unpopular or challenges the status quo.  It is the inevitable result of speaking truth to power, and while it may take a toll on the person, it doesn't damage his message.  The message that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights is in no way sullied by the fact that Jefferson owned slaves.  Adams' many professions on liberty are no less true, because he signed the Alien & Sedition Act and violated the Constitution as Jefferson pointed out to him.  Both may have been hypocrites, but that doesn't change the truth, or falsity, of their particular messages.  Those who are concerned with truth are able to distinguish between the message and the man uttering it.  Those who are not able to distinguish, are not interested in truth and are therefore unreachable by any message of truth, though they can be pressured to act with social pressure as the herd animals they are.

Regardless of Jefferson and Adams, I have walked the walk, and not just talked the talk.  I am a faithful public servant, and even those who do not like me and who not agree with me, will pronounce that to be the case.  Weeks ago one airman criticized my communication style.  But his criticism began by mentioning having the "utmost respect" for me, and stating that "I have spoken openly about my support for what you did...and I have stated up and down the chain that it is the single most courageous action of any officer that I have ever worked with."  He then proceeded to criticize my communication style.  Another airman graduated top of his PME course, and gave a presentation about me as an example of moral courage while he was there.  He described me as "the only Airman [he] know[s] who has demonstrated the moral courage and conviction to follow what [he] believe[s], even if it may come at [his] own detriment."  Yet we are not friends, and he criticizes my communication style.  The reason is because I have standards for those who wear the uniform, and I'm not looking for popularity, and I don't play favorites in my criticisms.  And I believe those in the profession of arms should be able to handle, and should expect, direct communication--not the soft sensitive new age communication offered on a pillow that so many in our ranks seem to think is appropriate these days.  We are the most lethal force in human history, and we must set and enforce a high standard to include being able to handle direct feedback (gasp!).  Agree or disagree with my communication style, but there is no doubt I have an impact and regardless of my words, my example and my fidelity as a public servant is unquestioned.  Those who do not like me will say the same.

But those who would marginalize are not interested in the truth of words, or the righteousness of action.  Franklin Spinney, friend of John Boyd, explained in his book, "The Plans Reality Mismatch" that in the DoD budget office, those who pointed out the faults of the weapons procurement process were "dismissed as a pessimist, critic, or obstructionist."  Marginalization is not concerned with truth, it's concerned with power and status quo.

For my part, I'm unconcerned with being marginalized while attempting to mentor my peers to be prepared for the challenges of public service we are seeing today, and will most certainly face tomorrow.  I'm not a politician who requires a nod from above, or support from the masses.  I'm not attempting to build a following for financial or other gain.  Being exceptional and having high standards prevents that as a possibility at any rate.  I'm simply a public servant and I understand that public service means sacrifice.  I adjust my communication style to my audience.  I use this blog to comment in a civil fashion for civil discussions, and I use my M&M page when the discourse is less civil.  My audience is known for lofty more academic discussions at times, and crude swagger-filled, machismo infested back and forth in other instances.  I speak both languages, and I endeavor to be a part of the discussion on either level.  While some may insinuate otherwise, there is no doubt that my voice is heard.

But as previously mentioned, I eagerly await the voices of my peers who are not marginalized, who are "effective" communicators, to publicly discuss the need of officers to be willing to lose their careers and convenience to support and defend the Constitution, and to refuse unlawful orders.  Nothing would prove my critic's point like seeing that.  But I don't see it as of present.

Feeling you are right does not make others wrong.  This is a true statement.  Likewise, feeling you are right does not mean others are not wrong.

A communicator should be forgiving, accepting, and accommodating in rebuttals.  This is where I part ways completely with my critic.  I do not believe certain viewpoints deserve forgiveness, acceptance, or accommodation.

The Saudi who believes he may beat his wife, the slave master who believes other human beings are his property, the Klansman who believes black Americans are not human and should be killed like dogs, the child molester who believes it is an act of love to violate defenseless children, and the military officer who believes it is okay to use the most powerful technology in human history against his countrymen in violation of their constitutional rights are all persons who do not deserve my forgiveness, acceptance, or accommodation.  All those individuals, to include the military officer, are people who prey on the vulnerable and violate their rights.

The military officer does so after swearing an oath before God not to do so, and while being paid a tidy sum to make good on that oath.

No, I reject my critic's claim here utterly and completely.

Sometimes silence is the best response to opinions offered in public discourse.  I am sure that is the view from those who disagree with a message, that silence is better.  They don't wish to be challenged or exposed.  They don't want to feel convicted for their failures and their treasonous characters.  My critics can rest easy though, knowing that I am not a very effective communicator.

I appreciate the criticisms.  It's a valuable discussion, and I recognize that my communication could be better.  I tend to believe the impotence of my communication is better described by the words of Frederick Douglass, who said, "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."  I could, however, be wrong and regardless my communication can no doubt be improved.  I therefore thank my critic, and I will endeavor to keep practicing until I get communication right.