Random thoughts from flyover country

Monday, September 20

Convenience store shooting has robber's family asking questions

Unbelieveable. Two masked men armed with rifles enter a convenience store in North Tulsa, start shooting, and the clerk shoots back with a handgun, killing one of the robbers, and the robber's family has questions?

The deceased robber, identified as 14-year-old(!) Qualynn Dabney, was an eighth grader in an alternative school program operated through a partnership between the Tulsa County Juvenile Bureau and the Tulsa Public Schools, indicating that he was not a stranger to the justice system. By accounts in the article, he was a wonderful student, well-liked, and energetic, yet he ended up dead on the floor of a convenience store with a .22 rifle next to his body.

His grandmother, who was not identified as a witness, said the "other boy" had the rifle and fled, leaving her grandson alone and unarmed. She doesn't think he should have been shot and wants a thorough investigation. I think that's a wonderful idea.

Questions need to be asked all right. How about we find out from the family:
1) Why was a 14-year-old boy out on the streets at 10:45 PM on a school night?
2) What was a 14-year-old boy doing robbing a convenience store?
3) What was a 14-year-old boy doing with a gun, despite his family's claim that he didn't have a gun?
4) What should the clerk have done when two men burst into his store shooting?
5) Would they rather have had the clerk, just a man working for a living, been shot by the 14-year-old boy?
6) Will they identify the "other boy" since they seem to know so much about the crime?
7) Are there any other questions they want to ask in an attempt to deflect interest away from their failure to control their child and prevent him from meeting his untimely end?

I seriously doubt that the clerk had time to determine how old his assailants were nor that it would have mattered since they apparently came in the door shooting. It is enough that he was in fear for his life and returned fire. The fact that a 14-year-old child who should have been home in bed died is a tragedy, but he made bad choice, a choice from which his family should have protected him.

I just hope the "culture of silence" doesn't protect his partner in crime who also is responsible for this young man's death.


Monday, September 13

September 11, then and now

On September 11, 2001, I was at work in Tulsa preparing one of our corporate classrooms for a new group of employees. When I went back into our L&D office one of my coworkers asked me to turn on the radio in my cubicle because a plane had hit the World Trade Center.

With my first thought that it was a replay of the B-25 hitting the Empire State Building during WW2, I turned on my portable radio. We listened in growing horror as events unfolded.

Moving to the theater/auditorium where someone had put the television on the main screen, we watched, some in horror, some in anger, as the second plane hit the second tower. I stayed to watch people jumping to escape the flames, to hear about the Pentagon attack, and to see both towers collapse. I was one of the angry ones.

We had an office in one of the towers.

We were all released for the rest of the day. By the time I left the building, the sky was empty of aircraft and what contrails crossed the sky were fading.

I went to get my corporate-length hair cropped, shaved my beard, and trimmed my mustache back to military regs. I called the Army and had a nice young sergeant advise me the that they weren’t currently accepting applications from members of the Retired Reserve to return to active duty.

On Saturday, September 11, 2010, I flew my flag and attended our neighborhood block party. Now too old to be recalled to active duty, having been too high mileage and beat up to be recalled before reaching the magic age 55, I listened to my neighbors chatter and the children play. In the nine years since the attack on our country, people seem to have forgotten.

I haven’t forgotten. I haven’t forgiven. Every time I see people shaking their fists in rage screaming, “Death to America!” for some presumed or pretended slight to their religion or culture, I get angry all over again.

I’m tired of waiting for “moderate Muslims” in the United States to decry the violence and demonic behavior by their co-religionists. I’m tired of being “deemed” a racist and hater by people who hate me because I don’t believe as they do. I’m tired of being treated like some barbarian because I advocate defending our country, our borders, and our families from anyone who would do us harm.

I’m not sure when the change took place, the lessening of the anger, the numbness that replaced the shock, the complacency that replaced the calls to action, but I don’t like it one bit. What has happened in this country is like losing interest in WW2 sometime after Operation Torch and before Operation Overlord.

It’s time to replay the images of that day, complete and uncensored. People need to be reminded of exactly what happened and why. Those foreigners who demand that we honor the freedom of religion of their co-religionists need to be told to do the same in their own countries, allow freedom of religion. Those who don’t want their holy books burned should stop burning holy books. Oh, and the next time someone claims that I am a member of the “Taliban wing of the Republican Party,” I may just punch his lights out.

Captain, Armor
Army of the United States (Retired)