Saturday, November 11, 2006

An evening with my son

He had a pass for the weekend, and we had dinner with friends of mine; the husband has known him pretty much his whole life, the wife had never met him. Between assisting in garage cleaning, playing with their dogs and dinner it was a nice evening.

Not much longer before he finishes AIT. He'll have some leave before he heads off to his first duty station, which will be God knows where at this point: could be somewhere in the US or Korea or Japan or Europe or the sandbox.

Time does go by. Sometimes it seems a short time ago, sometimes forever that I was holding this wrinkled, squalling baby that had just drawn his first breaths. His sister and he were both premature, and it was touch-and-go for both getting as far along as they did before entering the world. Now my daughter works in a nearby area, but between jobs and her actually having a life I don't get to see her much; son has signed on for a soldier with all that entails. Which means I don't see him very often either.

You fear as they grow that you're falling down on the job and not teaching them the things to do and things not to do as you should and hoping they get the message. And now you find out that, whether you did it right or not, overall they did get the points. So one's still nearby and the other will be going somewhere. 'Somewhere' quite possibly including unfriendly people who will try to kill him. Which makes me wish we'd had more time at the range. Yeah, the Army teaches them, but there are some bits & pieces that may not be in the standard Basic Rifle Marksmanship book.

In their different ways they're both carrying that training, daughter for self-defense in the civilian world and son in the military. Odd thing is, depending in where & when he could be at less risk than her in some neighborhoods, or things could go completely to hell when he sets foot on the ground. His MOS is one that would usually put him somewhere behind friendly lines, but I stressed to him when discussing the infantry work that he'd better get damn good at it: the bad guys can pop up from damn near anywhere.

Which holds true for daughter, too. What a lot of people don't recognize- or don't want to recognize- is that the enemy would just love to pop up in a store, a restaurant, an office building, and kill everybody there.

In the Posleen Invasion series John Ringo wrote that he feared the result of our having lived in something of a Golden Age. The people who fought WWII had been through the Depression, many had come from farms and ranches where living was hard at best, factories where crippling injury was always lurking, and the peace and security and ease of many things that we take for granted, didn't exist. We had quite a while before 9/11 with relative ease: nobody went without an education unless they didn't bother to learn, nobody who was willing to work needed to go hungry, medical care of quality unbelievable to our ancestors available. Yeah, definate problems in all areas, but many of the biggest problems were our own doing, not because the opportunity wasn't there. And because of the security and ease we got soft. Not everybody, but enough- especially among those with money and/or influence- to really screw some things up. So we have people who think a murderer or rapist deserves more sympathy than the victim, and that this country is almost always at fault when something doesn't work, and that you can't blame someone for not helping himself because the Government should have taken care of him.

I can't remember where I first heard the phrase "honor the threat". What I think is happening is that a lot of people cannot or will not honor the threat: they cannot- or will not- let themselves believe that someone means what they say when what they say is "You will convert to our way or we will kill you". They obviously don't really mean that, of course. They only want to discuss things and compromise, and if we just give a little and talk enough it'll all be ok.

So we wind up with a Speaker of the House telling us that the situation in Iraq is 'not a war to be won, but a problem to be solved', and people thinking that if you disarm the honest the dishonest will honor that and stop being violent and nasty. Freakin' insane, but these people actually believe it. They BELIEVE it, with more fervor than they put into any religeon they claim.

I don't claim to be all-knowing, or all that damn smart outside certain areas. I do know that the islamists mean every damn word: people who cut a screaming victims head off on tape do NOT do it because they just want to negotiate. So one of the things I taught my kids is that when someone threatens you, you believe they mean it and act accordingly, which can range from telling them to piss off to telling them that if they try it they'll die. I really fear for this entire nation if we don't overall wake up to the threat coming at us and honor the threat.

And for now, I spend time with the kids when I can, enjoy it, and hope they're indeed smart enough and tough enough to do what needs be done when the time comes.

The folks we had dinner with have a baby, born oddly enough on my birthday. She's almost nine months old now, and she reminds me of the thing I thought when mine were small: "If somebody tries to hurt them, the bastard's dead". I may be a relic, but I feel the same about my country, in a not quite so personal way. It's worth defending, too.

No comments: