London Burning: Something Wicked This Way Comes?

August 9, 2011

Coming soon to a neighborhood near you? Source: AP/PA

London is burning. Following the shooting death (by police) of a young black man suspected of being a gang member,  thugs and looters have taken to the streets en masse, baring the ugly side of humanity by employing random violence throughout the Tottenham area in North London. On some streets, not a single business has been left un-looted.  

In some ways, it’s not unlike similar riots we have seen here in America: A police action against a minority that is seen as questionable (or, in the eyes of the minority community, racially motivated). And before all the facts are uncovered, a few members in that minority community rush to judgement and take matters into their own hands. The result? Rioting, looting, and unfortunately, casualties.

But there is a difference in London’s rioting; and I fear it may be a harbinger of something far darker.  And I fear even more that it may well spread world-wide, including here in America. Call it the perfect storm of societal breakdown. And it crosses all racial, ethnic, and religious lines. 

Feeding my fear is that, even as I write this, the rioting is now spreading, not just to other parts of London, but also to other cities in England as reported in the Christian Science Monitor… including  Birmingham, Bristol, Nottingham, Liverpool, Oxford and Reading… all cities that have no direct connection with the shooting incident. 

That raises the question: At this point, is the rioting just about the shooting? Or has society simply reached a flash point where thugs (regardless of background) are becoming so brazen they are taking the attitude of  ‘Let’s just do it! There ain’t enough cops to stop us all”?

The next few days will most likely disclose an answer. For if the British authorities are not able to stop the violence before it spreads throughout the rest of London and to even more cities, it will be seen as an opportunity by the large underclass of all nations who may decide to throw caution under the  bus and live by the old adages, “Might makes right!” and “There’s strength in numbers.”

Worse, if our law enforcement isn’t prepared to deal with this quickly and effectively (as London’s law enforcement has so far failed to do), we could see the complete breakdown of society we have long feared might eventually come.

Pay close attention to England, folks. As Fox News reported this morning,  British Prime Minister David Cameron has taken pro-active steps by recalling Parliament from its summer recess as well as boosting the number of police on the streets tonight to almost triple the amount of previous nights. This follows three days of rioting in London which has now spread to other cities, creatinging a full-blown political crisis.

Pray the authorities are able to stop the rioting and thug brutality. Otherwise, expect something wicked to reach our shores.

Gerry Ashley


From Ground Zero Japan: A Moving Display Of Loyalty

March 17, 2011

There are some who just don’t get the bond between a man and his dog. But even I was unprepared for the level of “humanity, compassion and loyalty” within the canine community you’re about to witness below.

It’s a video that will move any animal lover to tears: Rescuers searching the remains of the debris that was once a seacoast town in the Arahama area of Japan come upon a dog that has somehow managed to survive the earthquake and the tsunami that followed. The animal is clearly in shock, disoriented and in distress.

The workers attempt to get the dog to come to them so they can take it for food, water and medical treatment. But the dog steadfastly refuses to leave with them. He turns and walks away, walking in a stagger that seems to confirm the exhaustion and confusion that has engulfed it.   

As the rescuers watch the dog walk away, they discuss his plight:

We are in Arahama area. Looks like there is a dog. There is a dog. He looks tired and dirty. He must have been caught in the tsunami. He looks very dirty.

He has a collar. He must be someone’s pet. He has a silver collar. He is shaking. He seems very afraid.

Then, they notice why the dog has walked away from them. There, some 50 feet away from them, another dog lies in the debris motionless.

             Oh, there is another dog! I wonder if he is dead.

Where?

Right there. There is another dog right next to the one sitting down. He is not moving. I wonder. I wonder if he is alright.

The dog is protecting him.

Yes. He is protecting the dog. That is why he did not want us to approach them. He was trying to keep us at bay.

I can’t watch this! This is a very difficult to watch.

Oh… Look! He is moving!  He is alive! I am so happy to see that he is alive!

Yes! Yes! He is alive!

He looks to be weakened. We need to them to be rescued soon. We really want them rescued soon.

Oh good. He’s getting up!

Let me assure you, that there IS a happy ending to this story: Both dogs have now been rescued and taken for treatment and are recovering.

In the military, soldiers take a great deal of pride in “never leaving a  brother behind…”

It would appear that’s true also in the canine world.

I hope, for some of you, watching this video will bring you one step closer to understanding that there’s no such thing as “just a dog.” They come from God, like us, equipped with a heart that is capable of loving, with the courage to defend that which he/she believes in and the compassion and loyalty to NOT leave a friend behind to die alone.

Do they have the same reasoning power of humans? That is, perhaps, open to debate. But they share the basic elements that supposedly make us “human.” They know joy. Sorrow. Happiness, Contentment, Fear, Anger. And for those of you who suffer from one form of depression or another, dogs also share that state of mind.

Watch the video and you’ll witness a prime example of canine loyalty.

Then, to put it into some perspective, think about how many other humans, dogs and other assorted pets didn’t make it through or, worse, made it through but are in a place where time will run out before they are rescued. Welcome to the real toll in terms of human and animal life.

H/T Theblaze.com

Gerry Ashley

Addendum: Having a better understanding about the loyalty of dogs and their ability to experience confusion, disorientation, loneliness, loss and depression, now think about the dogs  who sit in shelters waiting for someone to give them a new lease on life. If you are in a position to provide a home for such a loving animal, I hope this video will move you to do so. I did three years ago last month and my life is forever changed for the better because of it.

If you are not in a position to do that, however, a donation to your local humane society or no-kill shelter is always put to good use.

As for the two dogs in this video… well, I certainly believe in the power of prayer. And that doesn’t cost a dime.


Everyday Heroes: Paying Homage To 1st Responders

October 4, 2010

This past week,  Congress passed (and President Obama signed) H.R. 3978 which is also known as the “First Responder Anti-Terrorism Training Resources Act.” It is essentially, “… An act to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security to accept and use gifts for otherwise authorized activities of the Center for Domestic Preparedness that are related to preparedness for a response to terrorism, and for other purposes.” Source: govtrack.us

The new law expands the ability for first responders to train under more realistic conditions so that in the event of such an attack, they are better prepared to successfully provide critical care at a time when desperately needed.

However, mention the term “First Responder” to many people and you might just be surprised at the look of confusion in their eyes. It’s not a term we use every day. And, sadly, it seems that the only time we pay much attention to first responders is when a tragedy befalls one (or more) of them. Our friend, Canadian Singer/Songwriter Dave Carroll (of United Breaks Guitars fame) has set out to change all that in a big way. More on that in a moment. But first, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page:

Who are “First Responders?”

They are the men and women of our local communities who put their lives on the line for each of us on a daily basis by responding to emergency (911) calls. They are Firemen, Police, EMTs and others who have promised each of us that no matter what the emergency, they will be there for us. And it’s a promise they keep every day of their (and our) lives.

Dave Carroll knows a lot about this from first-hand experience. He’s been a volunteer fireman in his home town of Waverly, Nova Scotia while building his musical career. His brother Don (who shares singing roles with Dave in the band, “Sons of Maxwell“) is a full-time fireman in that same town.

Over the past two years, I’ve written several articles about tragedies that have taken the lives of a number of these hometown heroes. Fortunately, these are not every day occurrences. However, the emergencies in our communities that expose first responders to the danger of accidents, fires, violence, disease (and now, sadly, terrorism) happen on a daily basis. While writing this article, there have been several separate occurrences of sirens screaming past my home. The first was a police car and, later another police car followed by a firetruck and ambulance. None of these first responders know what awaits them, yet they respond without hesitation when needed.

It’s important that we never allow ourselves to forget how fortunate we are that whenever someone is in peril, there are men and women who are our friends, neighbors, brothers and sisters professionally trained in emergency procedures  keeping that promise to “be there” when needed.

Even though the heroes are the first responders, YOU and I play an important role as well: Whenever you’re driving, if you see an ambulance, fire truck or police car with emergency lights flashing in the rear-view mirror, pull over as soon as possible to let them pass. Someone’s life is in the balance and, most likely, seconds count.

Dave Carroll has written and recorded a new song in tribute to First Responders. Appropriately entitled, “Everyday Heroes,” it’s sponsored by Intrado Inc., in Longmart Colorado. For over 30 years, Intrado has been a pioneer in the development of enhanced 911 services used throughout the United States and, now, Canada.  While the song speaks for itself with Dave’s usual musical excellence, the story of how Intrado got involved with him is a fascinating one, best told by Dave himself.

So in another Grand Rants First, here’s Dave Carroll to introduce his tribute, “Everyday Heroes”:

And here’s the video:

Dave’s project to help spread awareness and to pay homage to First Responders is just beginning. Stay tuned for more on this as it develops throughout the US and Canada.

Gerry Ashley


Sow, Reap

July 19, 2010


What goes around comes around. You reap what you sow. No good deed goes unrewarded. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

That’s pretty much the sum total “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” version of how people should treat each other. While I certainly don’t rejoice in what is described in the article below, I can’t help but wonder if the cosmic scales are sometimes adjusted in ways that even we mere mortals can understand and should heed:

NEW YORK — Authorities say an emergency medical technician accused of refusing to help a dying pregnant woman during his coffee break was fatally shot near a New York City nightclub…

Police say Jason Green was shot in the face near the Greenhouse club Sunday morning. There have been no arrests.

Green and fellow EMT Melisa Jackson had been under criminal investigation for their handling of a distressed woman at a Brooklyn bakery Dec. 9. They were in line at the bakery when 25-year-old Eutisha Rennix collapsed.

Witnesses say the EMTs told workers to call 911 and left without helping the woman, whose prematurely born baby also died…

Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin. Karma’s a bitch, baby.

Stoutcat


Can Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani Be Saved?

July 6, 2010

Before NASA rushes to expand its horizons to include reaching out to Muslims (see Doug Powers article over at MichelleMalkin.com) as ordered by the President (or is it Ayatollah now?), it might be more productive to stop and realize just who we’re getting into bed with. Literally.

While we were celebrating our independence here in America over the weekend, a mother of two is expected to be executed soon in Iran, in as horrific a fashion as one can imagine. It’s a death sentence ordered by the Muslim judicial system, stuck on 14th century barbarism.

Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani

42 year-old Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, sentenced to be stoned to death, could have her execution carried out at any time.  She had been interrogated in 2006 for her husband’s murder. In May of that year,  branch 101 of the Criminal Court of Oskoo in the province of Eastern Azerbaijan (in northwestern Iran) sentenced Sakineh to 99 lashes for committing adultery even though there was no proof or evidence to support it.  She reported that she was forced into making a confession during the punishment. This is not an uncommon event according to prominent human rights lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei (who, himself, is at risk for torture due to his efforts regarding human rights and amnesty in Iran).

Regardless, Ashtiani was lashed 99  times, a horribly painful experience and one that scars you both physically and mentally for life.

Four months after her lashing, a different court (branch 6 of the Criminal Court of Azerbaijan) sentenced Ashtiani to death by stoning for the same offense.

According to the web site Women Living Under Muslim Laws:

Sakineh’s case, like others pertaining to stoning, has some serious errors and objectionable problems. For example, two of the five judges, Kazemi and Hamdollahi, presiding over the case in branch 6 of the provincial Criminal Court, believed in her acquittal.

In an interview with Rooz, Mohammad Mostafaei, Sakineh’s laywer, stated, “When two, or even one of the magistrates presiding over a case in the Criminal Court, believe in an acquittal and find errors in the presented evidence, then the defendant should not be sentenced to death. When the life of a human being is in question, there must be more hesitation and contemplation. One’s life should not be taken away so easily or be subjected to [excruciating] death.”

But apparently three out of the five Muslim judges disagreed. According to the Islamic Penal Code, four fair witnesses are required to have seen the act first-hand, in full, and from close up. In this case there are no witnesses, but that does not matter to the judges: without the four witnesses required, they still imposed the sentence of death by stones.

Source: missionfreeiran.wordpress.com

The execution is done in barbaric fashion as described by Amnesty International: The woman is bound and covered with a shroud. She is then buried up to her upper chest so she cannot move and her head  is exposed. At that point, small rocks – small enough not to kill on their own, but large enough to inflict horrific pain, are hurled at her until, eventually, she dies from accumulative wounds.

Her two children have turned their appeal to the world. In an open letter, they write:

Today, we stretch out our hands to the whole world. It is now five years that we have lived in fear and in horror, deprived of motherly love. Is the world so cruel that it can watch this catastrophe and do nothing about it?

We resort to the people of the world, no matter who you are and where in the world you live. Help to prevent this nightmare from becoming reality. Save our mother…

We are unable to explain the anguish of every moment, every second of our lives. Words are unable to articulate our fear.

What You Can Do To Help Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani:

While several amnesty groups are trying to save Sakineh, their efforts may fall on deaf ears unless those with the power to stop the execution see how much support there is for amnesty throughout the world.

But time is absolutely of the essence. If you would like to help push for amnesty in what is clearly a case of barbarism, please click HERE and follow the instructions. Political and public pressure is about all Sakineh has left to hope for.

Gerry Ashley


The White House Fly And Obama’s Golf Crisis

June 21, 2010

 

Gerry Ashley


Hell In Haiti – How You Can Help

January 13, 2010

“Complete And Utter Chaos!”  - Eyewitness

Update: According to a Red Cross official, Haiti’s devastating earthquake has left an estimated 3 million people in need of emergency aid. Much of the world is putting aside political differences and rushing to help. Countries pledging their immediate support in terms of personnel, cash and supplies to Haiti include the United States, Iceland, Britain, France, Canada, Germany, China, Mexico and Venezuela. 

The Face Of Haiti - Source: AP

Once again, natural disaster has brought its wrath to Planet Earth; this time it is Haiti that must bear the brunt of nature’s fury. An earthquake registering 7.0+ on the Richter scale has devastated the tiny Caribbean country. Once again, America’s heart opens to the victims. We will respond as we always do: with compassion and utter disregard for politics.

As demonstrated by the diverse countries responding, this is no time for politics. These are innocent people who are suffering now.  Children, babies. Parents, the elderly. Hospitals and clinics where they might seek medical treatment have vanished into the debris.

The call has gone out to the world for help. As is usually the case in times of turmoil, America will lead the way in aid to Haiti. And President Obama has stepped up to pledge assistance from the American Government.

Still, it is often the private sector from which much of the aid comes. We are Americans… it’s what we do.

If you’re asking, “How can I help?” the following is a list of various organizations whose charters are to provide aid and comfort. I would advise you to look at each one before determining, for yourself which organization is likely to have the most direct impact on the people in Haiti who can only turn to the outside world in this time of utter need.

Click on the following links for more information on each organization:

International Medical Corps
Direct Relief International
World Vision
International Relief Teams
Yéle Haiti
American Red Cross
Operation USA
CARE
Catholic Relief Services
World Food Programme
World Concern
Save the Children
UNICEF USA

List source: CNN.com

Keep the people of Haiti in your thoughts and prayers in this time of need and desperation.

Gerry Ashley


We Must All Be Sentinels, Lest We Lose What’s Left Of Freedom

November 10, 2009

 

Living history is more treacherous than merely witnessing it.”

Flag and Eagle

As a somewhat impudent young man when I was in school, I didn’t really apply myself to history class. After all, history was about things that happened in the past, and I was contemptuously obsessed with “now” and what mysteries lay ahead.  But when a “D” on my report card in history caught my parents’ eyes, they knew it was time to make sure I appreciated the significance of understanding history and, more importantly, our place in it.

My mother’s contribution was the short but time-tested phrase, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” I’ll get back to that in a moment. But my father chose to deliver his message in his own words, and those are the ones that ultimately haunt me to this day. He said, “We must all be sentinels to history, or else this fragile freedom we enjoy will be snatched away from us… and we won’t see it coming until it’s too late.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Breaking News: “Mass Casualty Event” – Two Metro DC Trains Collide

June 22, 2009

This just in: Confirmation has been received that two Washington DC Commuter Trains have collided on the Red Line between the Takoma and Fort Totten stations. It happened close to the Fort Totten station, a Metro spokesperson said.

According to D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Alan Etter, one train ended up on top of another and this is “developing into a mass casualty event.” Etter added, “We’re expecting a number of injuries. We’re not aware of any fatalities at this point.”

Check the ABC 7 News web site for latest breaking details.

Grand Rants Team

Update:  11:52 PM EST, 6/22/09…  6 killed, 70 injured


Kentucky Fried FEMA

February 2, 2009

 

Back in August of 2005, there was a hurricane, perhaps you remember it–Hurricane Katrina?

Remember all the headlines about FEMA failing in the emergency? FEMA’s lack of response proved that Bush hated black people? Remember? For months, the drumbeat was absolutely relentless.

Never mind the Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool. Never mind all the idiotic and just plain incorrect initial reports coming out of New Orleans.  Never mind the fact that most of the rest of the area devastated by the storm managed to pull itself together and start rebuilding almost immediately and have mostly entirely recovered. Never mind the fact that President Bush, in true “the buck stops here” mode assumed the blame for the failings of his underlings. The key take-away from the whole situation was (and still is) that President Bush failed the people of New Orleans.

So what are we to assume from the lack of FEMA response in Kentucky, where massive ice storms over a week ago knocked out power to more than 600,000 people? Where Governor Steve Beshear was required to call out the largest mobilization of both the Army and Air National Guard in the state’s history?

Where is FEMA? Nowhere to be seen.

Where is President Obama? Partying in an 80-degree White House rather than out surveying the frozen wasteland. 

Where is the press? Sucking up to President Obama.

And where, oh where, are the bleeding heart rappers and movie stars, like Kanye West and Sean Penn, who were so invested in pointing the finger of blame (and getting press coverage for themselves) rather than actually helping out? Nowhere to be seen, of course. After all, this is Kentucky we’re talking about. Flyover country. Land of the redneck. Bitter Americans clinging bitterly to their guns and their religion.

Well, I’ll bet you that the good folks in Kentucky will get through this disaster just fine without FEMA, without the lens of the press, without the nuisance of the Hollywood elite looking for the next photo-op, without a visit–without a mention!–from the President of the United States. They’ll do just fine. They’ll get through and survive.

And they’ll remember just who helped. And who didn’t.

Stoutcat


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