Tag: Patriotism

Boundaries: Please respect mine?

boundaries

Personal Boundaries

We all have our boundaries. And we expect people to respect them. For instance, people should respect the privacy of your home. You have the right to lock your doors and windows, not because you hate what is outside, but because you love what is inside … your spouse, your children, your dog, your car, your DVD collection. Whatever it is, you have a right to secure and protect it.

Your personal boundaries protect the inner core of your identity and your right to choose

Gerard Manley Hopkins

You might even put up a fence to contain and protect your dog. Or, you may want to keep intruders out. Perhaps it just serves as a privacy screen. However, it is your right to put up your fence and it is not, in any way, an immoral act.

Thoughts on Scale

Boundaries are not complete inviolable. You have neighbors. You might take a casserole over to a neighbor who is ill, or share your grill for a neighborhood July 4th block party.

boundaries

On the other side of the coin, if you see your neighbor’s house being burglarized you might call the police. If you see the neighbor’s children having a spat, you might observe just to ensure it doesn’t get out of hand. If somebody is about to get hurt, you might even step in to cool things off. In a worse case scenario, where a child is being abused, you might step up and go to the aid of the child. It is nice to be able to look at yourself in the mirror.

What is the difference in personal boundaries and those between countries? It is only a difference of scale. Why? Because countries are made up of people. People need their boundaries. And, so do countries.

Boundaries are a Separation of Ideas!

I recently heard someone say, “Boundaries are a physical manifestation of the line between good and bad ideas. That statement really struck me. And, after thinking about it, I had to agree. Here is an example of what I mean.

In the controversy over our border with Mexico, some have compared the wall being built along sections of our border to the wall around West Berlin, which was finally torn down.

To put it plainly, this is a terrible and totally dishonest comparison.

At the end of World War II, Europe was carved up into two portions. One portion was allowed to continue on as before. However, the other portion fell under the control of the Soviet Union. This was done to placate Joseph Stalin, whose military forces had indeed helped defeat Adolf Hitler’s armies.
As part of the peace plan, Stalin was granted half of Germany and half of Berlin. However, Berlin was deep inside what would become known as East Germany

boundaries

The Berlin Wall, or Berliner Mauer in German, was a barrier that surrounded West Berlin and prevented access to it from East Berlin and adjacent areas of East Germany during the period from 1961 to 1989. From 1949 to 1961, approximately 2.5 million East Germans fled from East to West Germany. This included many skilled workers, professionals, and intellectuals. Their loss threatened to destroy the economic viability of the East German state. In response, East Germany built a barrier to close off East Germans’ access to West Berlin and hence West Germany.

The original wall, built of barbed wire and cinder blocks, was subsequently replaced by a series of 15 foot concrete walls, topped with barbed wire and guarded with watchtowers, gun emplacements, and mines. By the 1980s that system of walls, electrified fences, and fortifications extended 28 miles dividing the city of Berlin into two parts, and extending a further 75 miles around West Berlin, separating it from the rest of East Germany.

The point is the Berlin wall was not built to keep illegal immigration under control, or to try and block shipments of drugs, or to help prevent human and child sex trafficking by criminal cartels. It was built to keep East Germans in! Nobody, with the possible exception of western spies or the occasional crazies, was ever shot trying to get into East Germany or East Berlin. However, between 1961 and 1989, over 239 people were killed trying to get out. As a child, I remember we would get occasional letters from a relative trapped in East Germany. I remember when the letters stopped. We have no idea what happened.

The Berlin Wall separated ideas of freedom, democracy, and individual rights from the iron hand of totalitarianism. collectivism. and individual subjugation.

A Lack of Boundaries Invites a Lack of Respect

Mexico has a fascinating history and culture, and one that should be respected and appreciated. Then again, so does the United States. But, our cultures are different.

Most Americans would probably say they do not want the Unites States to become another Mexico. Despite Mexico’s interesting history and culture, the country has a long history of governmental corruption and criminal cartels engaged in drug smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, and human trafficking. Hopefully, improvements are being made, but only the passage of time will tell.

Human Trafficking is an abomination. In my opinion, anyone who “just cannot seem too understand” the role border security plays in helping to prevent human trafficking (or any of these other crimes) from occurring is either willfully ignorant or has another agenda, one that is not in the best interests of the United States and its citizens. Or, the victims of these horrific crimes.

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Legal … Not Illegal Immigration

Yes. America is a country built on immigration. It was built by immigrants. My ancestors came here from Germany and Switzerland, and possibly England. They worked hard to become good Americans. They did not try to turn America into another Germany or Switzerland; … because they believed in the American dream and wanted to be part of it. Not destroy it!

America has become a force for good on this planet. Does that mean we have never made mistakes. Of course not. But more Americans have given their lives in the defense of other people and countries than any nation on this planet. More American taxpayer dollars have been spent in foreign aid than any other countries. And of course, America should continue to be a force for good! But there is nothing wrong in asking other countries to step up and do their share.

boundaries

It is neither economically nor physically feasible for the United States to become the refugee camp for the entire planet.

The people of Honduras, El Savador, Guatemala, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, and Somalia, or any other country need to stand up and fight for their country and their people’s interests, just as Americans did over 243 years ago.

America and other countries can certainly help, just as France helped us. But there is an old saying, “You can’t help someone who won’t help themselves.” That saying still holds true today.

Keep America Healthy and Strong

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You also cannot help anyone if you are sick, unstable, emotionally, or intellectually bankrupt yourself. The same holds true for a country. In order to be a force for good on the planet, America must be healthy and strong. That means economically, militarily, and emotionally.

Patriotism is not a bad thing.

Patriotism is the driving force behind the success of any country. Patriotism is also what allows a people to withstand periods of trouble and turmoil for the good of the nation. Do you remember the victory gardens or Rosie the Riveter from WW II?

And, perhaps more importantly:

Patriotism is not obedience to government. Patriotism is obedience to the principles for which the government is supposed to stand.

Howard Zinn

The Circle is Complete …

So America needs to be healthy to maintain its role as a force for good on this planet. America is a defender of freedom, liberty, and human rights around the world.

Boundaries are healthy, normal and necessary for people. This would also include groups of people … and even countries. Boundaries (and borders) are neither immoral nor a “manhood thing” as some want to suggest. They are essential to the health of this Nation.

Clear and healthy borders keep us from selfish desires and wanting to control others. They also protect us from those who lack self-control and yet still want to control us.

Brace Yourself: You’re Going to be Offended!

offended
Offended much?

Well, it finally happened. I offended somebody simply by wearing my “Unapologetically American” T-shirt! I really don’t give a crap. If you are offended by someone who is proud of the country you are living in, you are the one with the problem. And besides, you can always move.

offended

No, that’s not me in the T-shirt. I didn’t want to offend anyone!

That’s the T-shirt model from Ranger Up where I ordered the shirt sometime ago. And, this is not really a plug for the shirt or Ranger Up. I just wanted you to see exactly what it was this snowflake was offended by. But, if you want to order a shirt to see who you can offend, click here!

What really offends me is how people are now so easily offended!

I have just a couple of things to say about people who are that easily offended.

  • Being offended doesn’t make you right
  • If you are shocked by what I say, then you really have no clue as to who I am.
  • If you don’t care enough to learn about who I am, why should I waste anytime on you?

So, boys and girls, buck up … and put your adult underwear on. This country would not exist today if early explorers, our Founding Fathers, or those who fought to build and protect this great nation were offended every time they heard an opinion that differed from their own.

Put down your cocoa, turn loose that puppy, wipe away those tears, hitch up your britches, and get out into the real world. Develop some backbone and a thicker skin. You will be happier, healthier, and probably live longer.

And, that’s about all I have to say about that!

By the way, if I haven’t offended you so much that you are now quivering in your Nikes, on the verge of tears, and hear the cocoa calling your name, check out the cover to my new book and let me know what you think. Just click here!

Inspiration: The Story Behind Serpents Underfoot.

Why do authors write what they write?

books by dc gilbert

In discussions with some of my readers, the inspiration behind my military action thriller Serpents Underfoot comes up quite often. When I think about it, there are several factors that inspired me to write this novel.

While inspiration can certainly come from a lot of places, I will discuss what I think inspired me the most in writing this book, as well as what helped to shape how the story unfolds within the book’s pages.

In the battle between good and evil …

One point I would like to make before delving into the things that inspired me to write Serpents Underfoot, is that I believe good and evil are real and exist in this world. There are great many good men and women walking this planet. But, there are some evil men and women walking this planet as well.

What do I mean by “good?”

In my mind, it is important to never confuse a true character trait, such as being a good man or woman, with social skills. Social skills are things like charm, niceness, rapport, well-groomed, or personable. People use these social skills to achieve a result. But, they are tools people can turn on and off.

A character trait is something different. A character trait is deeply ingrained in who we are as a human being. It is part of our core belief system. There is a real difference.

For example, Jeffrey Dahmer could certainly be charming, nice, personable or well-groomed to get what he wanted; namely a new victim. He was not, however, what you would call a good man.

And, this matters because …

Sometimes, good men and women have to do things that are not nice. But they do them to protect the rest of us. They stand between the people they care about and the evil that exists in the world. It is their “code” that allows them to remain “good” while battling to protect the people and values they hold most dear.

My main protagonist in Serpents Underfoot, JD Cordell, is a U.S. Navy SEAL. His father is a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran. His grandfathers were veterans of WWII and Korea. Many of his ancestors fought to protect their country. JD’s mother is the daughter of an honorable and respected Vietnamese village leader butchered by the Viet Cong.

JD is a good man battling evil in the world because that is his job. And because for him, it is also a family tradition.

Inspiration from other authors

My love of reading certainly inspired me. First and foremost, I have always loved to read. I jokingly tell people that I could read before I could walk.

Second, I love books dealing with the struggle between good and evil; books that have a strong protagonist who overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to go on and save the day.

Lastly, I firmly believe in many old-fashioned ideals that we seem to be in danger of losing in our society today. These ideals include things like honesty, integrity, truth, love, courage, honor, loyalty, and family. These are the ideals that define and create true heroes. And, these ideals, or lack there of, shape the actions of several of the characters in my book, Serpents Underfoot.

Inspiration from favorite books

It is because of this dynamic struggle between good and evil, and my respect for the men and women who are willing to put themselves between us and that evil, that I love books like Lone Survivor and American Sniper. Marcus Luttrell and Chris Kyle, whose stories are told in these books, are real people. And, they live by a code, a code based on the ideals mentioned above. That code helps makes them the men they are. And, it allows them to go bravely into the dark places of the world while still remaining “good men” at their core.

And, of course, there are events in my life …

When I was a youngster, I wanted to be Batman when I grew up. Wouldn’t that be the greatest job ever? Imagine my disappointment in finding out I would probably never be rich enough to afford all those cool gadgets or a Bat Mobile! Obviously, I would have to do something else instead. Maybe James Bond?

Military service

Later, I enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the infantry for four years. I served with a mechanized infantry unit in Germany, a straight-leg infantry unit in South Korea, and the 101st Air Assault Division at Ft. Campbell, KY. During my time with the 101st, we deployed to Panama where I graduated from the Jungle Warfare School.

Martial Arts

Over the years, I developed a keen interest in the Martial Arts and studied Isshin-ryu Karate for over 35 years. I never had much interest in tournaments or sport karate, but focused on self-defense and personal combat techniques. I still train today and currently hold a 5th Degree Black Belt.

Additional inspiration …

In my early forties, I graduated from the Advanced Executive Protection Program offered by Executive Security International as a Level I Certified Protection Specialist. It was fantastic training and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The program delved into the psychology of VIP protection, legal issues surrounding VIP protection, security details, courtroom defensible self-defense techniques, and defensive firearms training.

All of these things helped inspire and shape the story that grew into Serpents Underfoot. I suspect that, on some level, there is a little bit of me patrolling through the jungles of Vietnam, snatching a wanted terrorist in the mountains of Afghanistan, or battling terrorist assassins invading my family home in Knoxville, Tennessee.

I need to mention one final source of inspiration. That was my mother. My mother was a strong woman. She was independent, self-reliant, and had an indomitable spirit. She came from true Adirondack pioneer stock and was always ready for a new adventure.

While I did not plan it this way, several of the female characters in Serpents Underfoot evolved into very strong characters. JD’s mother, Mai, and Julie, who works for the CIA, both have a quiet strength that serves them very well in the situations in which they find themselves. Even Fatima, a deadly female Syrian assassin and cold-blooded killer, is a strong woman. But, unfortunately shaped by the environment in which she came of age. Perhaps that is why I get so many good reviews from women readers.

As I look at the America we now live in …

The last twenty or so years have ushered in some amazing changes in our society. Many have been good. However, some have not.

Ideals such as honor, integrity, honesty, family, loyalty, or just doing the right thing even when nobody is looking, often seem to be lacking in our current leadership. Certainly not all. But, with enough regularity that it has become alarming to me. These ideals predate even Christianity, going back to early Greek philosophy. They are the corner stones of western civilization and are essential elements of successful self-government.

Part of the inspiration for my writing this book was to fight back just a little bit by addressing some of these ideas through the events that unfold in a thrilling tale readers don’t want to put down. I wanted to remind people that good and evil do exist.

We all suffer from the condition of being human. Therefore, none of us are perfect. And, that comes out in the story as well. But I believe these values are very important to our identity as Americans and if we lose them, America as we know and love it, will cease to exist.

Edmund Burke once said, ”
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!

I believe truer words have never been spoken.

Order your copy now!

If you would like to purchase a copy of Serpents Underfoot, click here for paperback or here for the Kindle version. Click here to read more of my blog posts.

Happy Veterans Day Giveaway: Thank our veterans!

Kindle give away for Serpents Underfoot!

Happy Veterans Day! In honor of Veterans Day, the Kindle version of Serpents Underfoot will be available from Amazon.com for free on Sunday, November 11th and Monday, November 12th. There are no gimmicks or requirements! However, if you were to enjoy the book and want to give me a review on Amazon, I would not strenuously object.
happy veterans

A few Happy Veterans Day quotes:

I’m trying to raise the awareness of the troops that, when they deploy and go to war, it’s not just them at war – it’s also their family. Their family is having to go through all the hardships and the stresses. ~ Chis Kyle
The U.S. Military is us. There is no truer representation of a country than the people that it sends into the field to fight for it. The people who wear our uniform and carry our rifles into combat are our kids, and our job is to support them, because they’re protecting us. ~ Tom Clancy
The valor and courage of our young women and men in the armed services are a shining example to all of the world, and we owe them and their families our deepest respect. ~ Bill Frist

And, a few Happy Veterans Day cartoons!

happy veterans
Gary Varvel, The Indianopolis Star, garyvarvel.com
happy veterans
Dave Granlund, http://www.davegranlund.com
happy veterans
Dave Granlund, davegranlund.com, politicalcartoons.com

On a more personal note:

We all need to give Veterans Day and our veterans the respect they deserve. Members of my family have served this nation going all the way back to the Revolutionary War. Several of my best friends have been Vietnam Vets. This is not unique and I am sure there are many families like mine. People who love this country and are willing to write that blank check to serve and protect it. When you see a veteran … thank him, shake his hand, or even buy his lunch. He has certainly earned it!

Freedom … And Three Simple Steps to Something Free!

Freedom  And Sacrifice … And Thanks!

giveaway

Memorial Day Weekend Giveaway

Freedom is a wonderful thing, but it is certainly not free. Memorial Day is not a day to honor Veterans who are still here although we certainly appreciate it. Instead, Memorial Day is a day to honor those who give the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of our Freedom. In honor of those who have made this sacrifice, I am giving away free Kindle versions of my book, Serpents Underfoot, over Memorial Day weekend. Starting at midnight tonight and ending midnight on Monday the 28th, the Kindle version of my book will be available to download for free.

A Great Read!

Serpents Underfoot floored me!

Serpents Underfoot is a thrilling, compelling, exciting mystery that will keep its readers hooked from the very beginning. The plot of Serpents Underfoot is thrilling and incredibly clever. Serpents Underfoot is different because at the heart of its story is genuine proudness and respect for the military.

~Red Headed Book Lover Blog

4.5 Out of Five Stars

This novel starts with the deep background story of Cordell’s father when he was serving in Viet Nam. It carries forward to JD Cordell’s SEAL Team and other major characters in the plot. Far more background is developed in this novel than you would normally find. I also liked that the characters are down to earth with no “over the top” scenes of heroic combat.

~ John’s Notes

You can read other reviews (10 Five Star) on Amazon.com or here on my website. There are no strings attached or gimmicks involved. However, if you download a free Kindle version of Serpents Underfoot, enjoy it,  and feel compelled to give me a review on Amazon, I will not complain!

So here are the three steps:

  1. Click on the Serpents Underfoot Link!
  2. Download the Kindle book!
  3. Enjoy!

Thank you recent Serpents Underfoot purchasers!

Thank you very much!

Wowsers!!! Whoever the two people were who were bought the Kindle version of Serpents Underfoot over the last two days … Thank You! Seeing that was a great way to start off my morning.  It is one thing to write a book. Something else entirely to have people actually read it and hopefully, enjoy it! Thank You Very Much!!! 😎

Should have the paperback version out in a week or two! Proof copies are due to arrive any day now. Already have several requests for autographed copies!  I plan to shortly thank youhave a link on this site to order autographed copies.

By the way, If you do read my book and enjoy it … Please take a few minutes to review my book on Amazon.com. I would really appreciate that. I have set an initial goal of achieving 50 positive ratings.

In addition, my book should be soon listed on Goodreads. I am working on that now.

Serpents Underfoot: A New Novel by DC Gilbert

Serpents Underfoot by DC Gilbert: The Count Down

DC Gilbert - Serpents UnderfootHello!  I am DC Gilbert. I have been editing my book, Serpents Underfoot, for weeks. I think my eyes are ready to go on strike. Finally, late last night I uploaded the interior PDF and the cover PDF at CreateSpace! I have gone through their review process and now await their review process to complete.  It is exciting!

I am sure that when I get a copy in my hands, I will find some typo I missed. It will jump off the page and hit me squarely between the eyes. But maybe not … I guess if that happens, I will just fix it and move on … a revised edition. After all, Serpents Underfoot is my first novel! I am sure there will be some newbie mistakes.

Meet JD Cordell and His Family

JD Cordell’s family paid in blood to make this country what it is … a land of the Free and the home of the Brave! JD’s family fought in every conflict that the United States has been involved in going back as far as the French and Indian War. This includes JD’s father, Curtis Cordell, who fought in Vietnam,  Curtis married the beautiful South Vietnamese woman who nursed him back to health in a Montagnard village while his was MIA deep in the jungles of Vietnam.

A U.S. Navy SEAL

JD grew up believing that honor, loyalty, devotion to duty, and compassion are part of being a man. This was reinforced with his years of training in Isshin-ryu Karate and Vovinam, a Vietnamese martial art, from his years of martial arts training. All this molded JD into the man he is and the accomplished Navy SEAL he has become.

While on a mission in Afghanistan, JD’s SEAL team unexpectedly discover a deadly terrorist plot being orchestrated by a radical mastermind living in Iran, which if successful, could spell disaster for the United States. Receiving a message from an old school friend who now works for the CIA, JD finds himself suddenly catapulted into the center of this sinister plot. When terrorists kill his friend, JD jumps feet first right into the action. In addition to working to avenge his friend’s death, JD uncovers a trail of treachery and betrayal that reaches from the mountains of Iran to the highest levels of the U.S. Government. What can JD do prevent a major terrorist strike which has the potential to destroy the entire American way of life? Read the book to find out … but, JD’s honor will not allow him to simply walk away.

 

I hope you will give my book a read. It will be available very soon now. And, if you like it … please give me a good review on Amazon.com.

Thank you, DC Gilbert

 

Coming Soon to Amazon.com