JEBWizard Publishing Newsletter Summer 2020

I am excited to announce Edition 1 of JEBWizard Publishing quarterly newsletter. Depending on what’s happening there will be book release announcements, upcoming projects, media appearances, and book signing notices.

To download the newsletter, click this link

Thanks for reading, please share with everyone!

Follow this blog for upcoming information on all new book releases. And please share this with readers everywhere. All comments are welcome. Or if you would like write a piece to be posted on my blog please send me a message.

Signup here for my email list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

And for all my books to add to your memories of great reads…https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Broadmeadow/e/B00OWPE9GU

Ten Commandments For…

…Avoiding or Surviving a Police Encounter

  • I. Thou shalt not commit a crime
  • II. If thou dost commit a crime, thou shalt not protest when caught, that is for thine lawyer to do for you
  • III. Thou shalt not spout legal knowledge from a google search and argue with an officer
  • IV. Thou shalt not drive without a license nor flee when thou is signalled to stop by the police
  • V. Remember to keep holy thy court date
  • VI.. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s car
  • VII. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s big screen TV
  • VIII. Thou shalt not carry a gun without a permit, a gun does not bring strength but shows cowardice
  • IX. Thou shalt not argue finer points of law in the middle of the night, in a dark alley, while holding a crowbar, standing next to a pried open door
  • X. Thou shalt not do unto others as you would not have done to yourself

If thou would be faithful to these commandments thou shall live long and prosper. If thou can but remember one, remember the First Commandment, it will keep thee well

…Police Officers

  • I. Remember that thou art a servant of justice, not an avenging angel
  • II. Thou shalt treat all with dignity and fairness
  • III. Thy Rod and Thy Sword are to Protect when all else fails not punish for things thou are not endowed with the authority to inflict
  • IV. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy fellow human
  • V. Thou shall not bear enmity toward any
  • VI. Thou shall remember that thou art fallible as are all thou shall encounter
  • VII. Thou shall endeavor to save all, including thyself, from all harm
  • VIII. Remember to keep holy the word, and the spirit, of the law
  • IX. Thou shall carry thy purpose with pride, dignity, and courage with empathy toward all
  • X. Thou are not the instrument of vengeance but the keeper of the peace

Remember these wise words spoken by an officer of great wisdom and experience.

“Always bear in mind that the difference between the officer driving the police car and the person under arrest in the back seat is that the driver never got caught”

The Gospel of Detective Joe Ford

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Thanks for reading, please share with everyone!

Follow this blog for upcoming information on all new book releases. And please share this with readers everywhere. All comments are welcome. Or if you would like write a piece to be posted on my blog please send me a message.

Signup here for my email list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

And for all my books to add to your memories of great reads…https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Broadmeadow/e/B00OWPE9GU

JEBWizard Publishing: A New Adventure

As some of you may know, I have branched out to start my own publishing company working with independent authors, co-writing collaboration projects, script development, and other exciting new ventures.

I am excited to announce the release of the latest projects by JEBWizard Publishing. Two amazing authors with books you will love to read.

Forbidden Emotions: The Key to Healing

Forbidden Emotions: The Key to Healing by Marti Murphy is an intriguing look at how our “forbidden” emotions, those we’ve learned to suppress, can affect our health and happiness.

“In this groundbreaking book, Marti Murphy takes us on a deep dive into our emotional landscape. We come installed with a full palette of emotions, but our culture teaches us that some are bad and should not be felt.

Marti calls them forbidden emotions.

Emotions we tell ourselves it is not okay to feel because we learned to reject them. Hatred. Rage. Despair. Even joy. The list goes on.

What happens when you slowly feel deeper? It frees your physical body from all your suppressed emotions. You heal emotionally, spiritually, even physically.

Marti’s story of how-after a client delved deeper into her emotions and negative beliefs helped heal a deadly physical ailment-is a testament to the power of feeling your emotions.

In Forbidden Emotions, Marti unmasks what emotional health can mean and shows how a surprising, slightly strange, but highly effective mind-body technique assists in creating inner freedom.

This book is real, raw, and rewarding. It is a must-read, but only if you want improved health, better relationships, and a more fulfilled life.”

Order it here https://www.amazon.com/Marti-Murphy/e/B08C763NZW/ or from your local bookstore. Coming soon to Audiobooks.

*****

A Miracle at Dachau

A Miracle at Dachau by Laurin Haupt.

We all have heard the terrible stories of the ordeals faced by the victims of Hitler’s Final Solution. What many of us never knew is how many ordinary German citizens opposed the Nazis and became the first victims, political prisoners, of the Konzentrationslager—the Concentration Camps at Dachau, Auschwitz, and many others.

In A Miracle at Dachau by Laurin Haupt, Laurin tells the riveting story of her grandfather (her Opa) and his time in the Dachau prison camp. A French gentile, Simon Johann Haupt lived a happy life in Germany with his wife and daughters, the loves of his life. But in 1933, he and some friends dared to resist the terrorism of the Third Reich destroying the fabric of their peaceful community.

His subsequent arrest and imprisonment in Dachau, and the miracle that saved his life, make this one of the most compelling stories of that awful period in history.

Most of us know about the atrocities by the Nazis against the Jews of Germany. Yet few know how the Third Reich turned against anyone that dared defy them, regardless of religious beliefs. Those who joined Hitler went against friends, neighbors, shopkeepers, even Catholic priests they had known their whole lives. The Nazis imprisoned or killed anyone with the courage to oppose them.

Opa unfolds his story to his beloved granddaughter, Laurin, as they travel by train through Germany years after his time at Dachau. As Laurin imagined the kindly old man would have told the story, if he’d been able to bring himself to remember the horrors.  This is a book everyone should read, and Simon’s story is a cautionary tale of the dangers in forgetting history.

View the promotional video here.

Pre-order the Kindle version here https://www.amazon.com/Miracle-at-Dachau-Laurin-Haupt-ebook/dp/B08C4LQ4DJ  Publication release date July 30, 2020. Coming soon to Audiobooks.

If you would like to be notified of new releases by JEBWizard Publishing, discount codes, and opportunities to get a pre-release review copy, click here to be added to the mailing list.

American Impatience: Blessing and Curse

“Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic diseases of the twentieth century.”

― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

Americans are an impatient people. It seems it is a characteristic we’ve borne since the very founding of this nation. When the Europeans first set foot upon the land, driven here by several factors, impatience for change played a major part.

The original colonists sought tolerance for their differences in religious tenets. They were impatient with a government unwilling to change and accommodate them. Their impatience with conditions in Europe took hold in America. They grew impatient with Native American resistance to their usurping of traditional tribal lands.

This impatience grew under the boot heel of English domination, erupting in open rebellion to the crown. It led to the creation of a new experiment in self-governing, disdain of royalty, and loathing the concept of divine ascension to the throne.

Our impatience drove us to ignore many of the founding principles—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—as we exterminated Native Americans in a quest to seize their land to satisfy our impatience with the status quo.

Yet, over time, despite sometimes violent changes, we came to tame our impatience and learn to direct it toward the common good.

When our impatience clashed with the resistance to abolishing slavery and the secession of those who refused to release their fellow humans from bondage, we went to war.

Our impatience with the continuous bloodshed faced an ever more powerful force in the commitment and dedication of one of the greatest Presidents we have ever had, Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln understood our impatience and turned it to accomplish the goal. It was our most costly war, yet we survived.

In 1939, the world plunged into a global conflagration. Our impatience with the last vestiges of the depression caused us to turn away from the battle as something outside our concern. Roosevelt understood this and sought to help those affected European nations without coming up against our intransigence to get involved.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and the Axis powers declared war on the United States, Americans put aside their impatience. For four long years, we fought and died to save the world.

Yet, an element of our impatience drove us to victory—and set the stage for our potential destruction. Seeking an end to the war ignited an effort to develop a weapon so terrible no one would want to use it.

And we succeeded and failed. We built the weapon and, in our impatience with waiting for the inevitable fall of Japan, became the only nation to use atomic weapons.

By July 1945, the defeat of the Axis powers was inevitable. Germany had surrendered, the Japanese were starving, surrounded, and running out of oil. When the Japanese refused to believe we had such a devastating weapon, despite efforts to convince them, our impatience compelled us to grant them a view of Armageddon.

Thus came the destruction of Hiroshima, followed by the obliteration of Nagasaki. Our impatience had ended the war and opened a new chapter in world history. Soon, the atomic bomb gave way to ICBMs—missiles equipped with thermonuclear warheads.

The dawn of MAD—Mutually Assured Destruction — was upon us.

This same impatience has accomplished much good. It drove us to put a man on the moon. To be the first people to leave the planet in the dawn of a new age, the age of exploring the universe. The directing of our impatience into a defined goal should have shown us the power within ourselves.

Instead, we grew impatient with the slow progress and turned away. We turned our efforts inward to more self-gratifying pursuits. Our drive for the moon ended with Apollo 17. While we have the ISS, and Americans are in orbit almost all the time, we are just now recapturing the ability to launch our own astronauts.

Youth have always been impatient, wanting each day to come sooner, to flyby, and then move on to the future they view as both destiny and a better place. Impatience fueled by the mistaken belief they have all the time in the world.

The folly of youth unfettered by the inevitability of death.

In a time when the simplest actions—wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, minimizing the risk to our fellow Americans—are all that is needed to ride out the storm, we can’t manage even a few months of patience and determination.

With age comes the desire to slow down time, savor the moment, fend off the rapidity with which it passes. Yet when confronted with a challenge, we’ve forgotten all the lessons of history. We ignore the benefit of tempering impatience despite the hard lessons of our history.

America’s impatience is a dual-edged sword. Driving us to achieve when others urged caution or sending us on fool’s missions toward disasters.

We are living in a time of a pandemic—a time that tests our mettle. Our impatience may kill us if we do not choose our path with care. We forget we are people capable of patient determination in the face of adversity. We forget the legacy of two World Wars, lost to the fog of the past. We forget the fallacy of our mistakes, lost in the noise of our loathing any inconvenience.

We may have the right to pursue happiness, but often that path is paved with challenges requiring patience.

In a time when the simplest actions—wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, minimizing the risk to our fellow Americans—are all that is needed to ride out the storm, we can’t manage even a few months of patience and determination.

Our impatience as Americans drives us to accomplish many things. Yet if we fail to temper that impatience with rationality, it will be our demise. It has already caused the death of 131,509 Americans. If we want to be impatient, be impatient with those who refuse to perform such simple acts out of pure selfishness.

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Thanks for reading, please share with everyone!

Follow this blog for upcoming information on all new book releases. And please share this with readers everywhere. All comments are welcome. Or if you would like write a piece to be posted on my blog please send me a message.

Signup here for my email list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

And for all my books to add to your memories of great reads…https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Broadmeadow/e/B00OWPE9GU

Who Needs College? You Can Learn Everything on YouTube

In a solution to reducing the cost of a good education and the burden of student loans hanging like an albatross around the neck, I have found a more expedient and cost-effective method of learning.

YouTube.

There is nothing one cannot learn to do on YouTube Video.  Need actual proof, say a picture or two? Well, here you go.

First, a little background. While I consider myself a fairly intelligent person with adequate writing skills, I have never been handy with tools. We’re talking about a guy who once melted the vinyl siding off the house while installing an outside water faucet.

For most of my adult life—at least the married part—I have been banned from using power tools. Not so much out of fear of lopping off a limb or bleeding to death, but out of concern I would do irreparable damage to our property.

But no more.

Through the wonders of YouTube and a leap of faith (or faded memory) allowing me once again to acquire and play with power tools. I am proud to announce two things. 

I still have all my limbs and suffered no injuries requiring stitches, ambulances, or Med flights to emergency rooms.

And I built this—the world’s most amazing chicken coop.

My next YouTube exploration will involve Brain Surgery.  I figure I will start with people of a certain political persuasion. Lots of room to work with and what’s the worst that could happen?  I’ll take pictures if I find any brains still functioning.

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Thanks for reading, please share with everyone!

Follow this blog for upcoming information on all new book releases. And please share this with readers everywhere. All comments are welcome. Or if you would like write a piece to be posted on my blog please send me a message.

Signup here for my email list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

And for all my books to add to your memories of great reads…https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Broadmeadow/e/B00OWPE9GU

Defund (Elements) of the Police but Let Cops BE Cops

The movement toward defunding or, in the extreme, eliminating the police has a fundamental logic to it. Although I’m certain many proponents miss the point because they are caught in the fog of emotion. There are public funds allocated to police departments that could be better directed to other programs. Some of my suggestions will be met with outrage, but the simple fact is the most effective departments are those who let cops BE cops. They catch bad guys (in the universal, non-gender specific way.)

Changing police departments without keeping this fundamental truth in mind is Utopian idiocy. These foolish experiments with “autonomous” zones excluding the police are living examples of the Lord of the Flies phenomenon. They will fail, and innocent people will suffer and die amid the anarchy.

Let me state a universal truth.

As long as there are humans, there will be bad guys and the need for those brave enough to stand between them and society.

If one is rational enough to understand this point, then certain corollaries follow. We can no more eliminate the police than we can stop burning fossil fuel without a realistic alternative. But we can get back to basics with police departments. Refocus them on their core functions, and reallocate resources to other services more suited to social welfare agencies.

Over the last few decades, there have been several divergent trends within law enforcement. One toward militarization and one toward a “touchy-feely” gentleness. Neither added to the elemental function nor improved the effectiveness of police departments

Starting back in the days of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, the federal government offered surplus military equipment to police departments.

I recall the glee among many of my fellow officers, including me, over this bonanza of toys. M-16 rifles, night-vision equipment, armored personnel carriers, and more. We thought this was the coolest thing in the world. I mean, come on. Is there anything better than firing automatic weapons and seeing in the dark?

To make it even more palatable, President Reagan reinvigorated the War on Drugs. We had the stuff, we had the war, all we needed was an enemy. Like all wars, most casualties were civilians. We tried to arrest our way out of a health crisis. If you think someone who would steal from their grandmother to buy heroin gave any thought to being caught by the police, you are remarkably naive.

Then, we came up with mandatory sentences, three-strike laws, and asset forfeiture statutes. All well-intentioned, like the proverbial road to hell. The net result? We turned whole swaths of society into convicts and filled our prisons with society’s most disadvantaged.

No one embraced the concept of the war on drugs more than me, and the many officers I worked with. But most cops are an intuitive bunch. We came to see the fallacy and contradiction in what we were doing. Like the war in Vietnam, we had to destroy the village to save it. We lost the enthusiasm for a failed policy.

Back then, no one made the connection that turning police departments, at least in appearance, into what were essentially armies of occupation was a dangerous thing. They held entire training conferences teaching agencies what language to use in the applications.

No one questioned the wisdom or consequences.

These programs were followed by the COPS Grant program, designed to put more officers on the street through technology. And there were others. Each had, what seemed, a logical and beneficial purpose.

They became a classic case of the tail wagging the dog.

In parallel with these programs, a kinder and gentler approach took hold. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program rose to prominence in Los Angeles and spread across the country. Community Policing quickly followed on the heels of DARE.

The problem was, in many agencies, these programs became specialized units rather than philosophical changes.

DARE put cops in schools as teachers when most lacked a fundamental understanding of educational theory. No matter how well-intentioned, DARE would prove marginally effective, if at all. Studies show contradictory results from DARE training. One five-year study showed no significant results between schools implementing DARE programs and those that did not. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/dope/dare/effectiveness.html

Community policing, one of the most promising of all the “New Age” programs, had the most potential. Police Departments formed “Community Policing Units” as a way of embracing this new paradigm. This presented a contradiction to the purpose of the philosophy. Community policing is not a thing, not a specialization like CSI or Homicide investigations. To treat it as such is to hobble the beneficial effect.

Community Policing is a philosophy, a paradigm, and a practice to be ingrained within an agency’s approach to police work. But many issues addressed by community policing are better handled by other agencies. In some agencies, Community Policing became little more than a central collection point of information about quality of life issues—loud congregations of youths, trash on the streets, burned-out streetlights, noisy business establishments, road maintenance. The officers then referred this information to the responsible agency. It drew personnel away from the core function of the police. That is not what cops—by training or design— are best suited to do.

Once again, a well-intentioned program clouding the fundamental responsibilities of cops. As a matter of normal course of operations, cops should pay attention to such issues. Small annoyances can escalate into major problems. While the “broken window” theory of law enforcement is largely discounted, an element of its validity persists. Focusing on the small things before they become major issues works.

But cops need to focus on what they do best.

Community Policing drew personnel away from the core function of the police with limited beneficial improvement to the community. The reality is, all policing is intended toward protecting the community. Crime prevention through police presence, apprehending criminals, suppressing disturbances, responding to accidents, all take place within the community.

Attitudes and expectations, both by the police and by the community, need to change. The cops are not the enemy, and the community is not the problem. Community Policing should comprise merging the responsibility of both the community and the police into a partnership to catch bad guys. https://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/What_Works_in_Community_Policing.pdf

There was once an effort to combine the functions of public safety, i.e., police, fire, ems, into a single agency. In theory, it seemed to make sense. Have those first on the scene cross-trained in all aspects of public safety.

In reality, it was a dismal failure.

When an EMT responds to a shooting, their focus needs to be on treating the victim. When the Fire Department responds to a fire, its focus needs to be on putting out the fire, rescuing individuals, and saving property.

When cops respond to these same incidents, an element of each comes into play—preserving life being the most important. But the officer must also focus on determining if a crime occurred, preserving evidence, and apprehending those who committed the crime.

Differentiation and separation of responsibilities make all public safety operations more effective.

The problem is, in many cities and towns, the police are the agency of last resort. If the trash in the street is infested with rats, if the neighborhood bar blares music to all hours, if the kids on the corner block the way, cops are the simplest solution. If a homeless person, suffering from mental illness, is blocking the entrance to a business, call the police.

Even if they can only deal with the issue temporarily.

There is another, more sinister aspect to things police departments are tasked with performing. The enforcement of traffic laws—intended to save lives and prevent accidents—has become a source of revenue critical to state and municipal budgets. Every department in the country will say they do not mandate a quota for officers. Yet, most agencies use the number of tickets written as a measure of officer performance.

Like the contradiction in government warnings about the dangers of smoking and their dependency on the tax revenue from the sale of tobacco, police department generate revenue from tickets. It is a tax disguised as a public safety function.

If one wants to understand the danger of such dependency on traffic ticket revenue by a municipal government, all one has to do is look at the level of traffic enforcement in Ferguson, MO. The shooting of Michael Brown wasn’t the reason for the unrest and riots in that city, it was the spark that lit the fuse.

The recent revolts across the country are not just because of unjustified police shootings of people of color. They are a reaction to a complex range of issues. Police departments are being forced to contend with many of these, mostly outside their control, and doing it poorly.

We wouldn’t send a carpenter to fix a plumbing problem, why do we expect cops to solve societal issues beyond their control or expertise?

Redirecting funds from police departments to social service agencies make sense. But this is a long-term strategy. We still need to deal with the practical realities of crime. Cops prevent, investigate, and solve crimes. They apprehend bad guys. They should do so with professionalism within the confines of the law. Sometimes, this will involve the use of deadly force. We can set our sights on eliminating that necessity someday. However, we still need to have cops being cops for the foreseeable future.

Before we rush headlong into such irrational actions of disbanding the police. Before we just slash and cut police budgets to satisfy an incensed, but uninformed public. Before we commit ourselves in a rush to judgment to do something, anything, we need to step back and analyze what purpose police departments serve.

The cops are not the adversaries of the public. This is not an us versus them situation. Cops are humans, subject to the same frailties and foibles as everyone else.

We need to let police departments get back to the fundamentals. We need to stop relying on the police as the agency of last resort in dealing with issues outside their skill set. We need to recognize the problems we face are all our responsibility, not just the police departments because they are a convenient 911 call away.

Let cops be cops. Not social workers, not teachers, not mental health providers, not counselors. Let cops do what they signed up to do, stand on the thin blue line, and catch bad guys.

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Thanks for reading, please share with everyone!

Follow this blog for upcoming information on all new book releases. And please share this with readers everywhere. All comments are welcome. Or if you would like write a piece to be posted on my blog please send me a message.

Signup here for my email list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

And for all my books to add to your memories of great reads…https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Broadmeadow/e/B00OWPE9GU

Ennui will Destroy America

I checked the calendar today, twice, to make sure it really was the year 2020. Turns out, it is. No matter how hard that is to believe.

This is the most modern age in America so far. But despite all our technology, all our vast capabilities, all these attempts at either recovering or finding American greatness, we still cannot run an election. We fail at the most fundamental aspect of self-government; wherein the people determine the course of government.

This should happen without lengthy delays in counting votes, serious doubts over integrity, or an embarrassing level of non-participation.

We have little faith in our fellow Americans—seeing them all (or at least the ones who hold different beliefs or political philosophies) as willing to commit voter fraud—and we have no faith in our government. A government installed by VOTERS. We don’t trust the system and we see little benefit in making the effort to vote.

We are trapped between an irresistible force and an immovable object. Our own intransigence and inertia will be our demise.

A country that once challenged the greatest military power in the world on the sheer courage of our citizen-soldiers runs elections like a kindergarten class in North Korea.

A country that once put a man on the moon cannot guarantee every citizen the opportunity to vote and instill in them the obligation to exercise that right as a sacred duty.

We should be a country certain that the outcome of elections represents the will of the people. All the people.

But, alas, as the latest debacle out of Kentucky demonstrates, we may be a world leader in some things, yet we are barely competent in the most critical—supporting and fostering our Democracy.

Kentucky, in a preview of the coming national elections, reduced polling locations. One location covered almost 800,000 voters. This was ostensibly to manage exposure to COVID-19. It defies logic.  Wouldn’t MORE sites reduce numbers and the risk of exposure?  They also either failed to anticipate or exhibited just plain ‘ole stupidity in their plan for dealing with mail-in ballots.

I know the pressures on poll workers is enormous. They have to spend an entire DAY at the polls. Would it be too much to ask if we made them work, for the sake of argument, an entire week to increase opportunities for voting?  These elections only happen every two years. I would think one week of work and two years off, even if they have to add two extra days to prepare, isn’t an unreasonable request.

Perhaps working at polling sites should be akin to jury duty. Everybody required to participate. Now I know some of you are rolling your eyes. Jury duty! How awful a comparison. But jury duty, no matter how inconvenient, is the foundation of the justice system. As is staffing election operations to allow all to vote.

Perhaps we should demand that the position of Secretary of State be more than just a launch pad for the politically ambitious. As Draconian as this may sound, we should insist they actually deal with making voting accessible for all.

Of all the ills facing this country, sometimes we need to triage the most critical and put aside the others.  And I can think of nothing more important than making sure every eligible American votes. It is something we should instill as part of our education system. Not only do you have the Right to Vote, but you have a civic obligation to do so.

A truly representative government, populated with responsible individuals elected by open voter participation, is the best way to address all the other issues facing America.

Here’s another incentive for those of you who distrust government, incumbents fear large voter turnout. They understand if circumstances can drive the normally oblivious to the polls, change is in the air.

If you are serious about Making America Great Again, then vote. And demand those who manage our elections work to support that goal.

If you don’t think it matters, you have only to look at what happened in 2016. The time for Americans to reclaim our destiny, self-respect, and standing as a beacon of Democracy is upon us.

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Thanks for reading, please share with everyone!

Follow this blog for upcoming information on all new book releases. And please share this with readers everywhere. All comments are welcome. Or if you would like write a piece to be posted on my blog please send me a message.

Signup here for my email list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

And for all my books to add to your memories of great reads…https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Broadmeadow/e/B00OWPE9GU

Recalculating: Life, the Universe, and Everything. 46 not 42

42, the famous answer offered by the brilliant writer, Douglas Adams, in his book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe, to the question what is the meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything, may be slightly incorrect.

What’s this, you might ask? Isn’t this presumptive of you? Bear with me, there is some rationale behind my idea, or delusion if you prefer.

Looking up in a night sky, especially away from cities and light pollution, the simple vastness of the Universe is overwhelming. What we see with the naked eye is an infinitesimally tiny portion of the stars and galaxies in the observable Universe, The most distant light from objects we can observe with radio telescopes is from 13.5 billion years ago, the time of the big bang. (Although there are now objects scientists believe are even further away—a scientific paradox if the speed of light is an actual limit, but I digress.)

When one looks at those stars, you are looking into the past. The closest star, not counting the sun, is actually two stars orbiting each other, Alpha and Proxima Centauri. They lie 4.5 light-years away. If one were to look at the stars today, June 22, 2020, you would see light that left the stars sometime in 2015-6.

You are actually looking back in time, and perhaps someone on an exoplanet is doing the same thing with our sun.

When I was growing up, there were nine planets. Since then, we have demoted Pluto to a sub-planet, leaving only eight in our solar system. We may have a finite number here, although there is a suspected planet X far beyond Pluto, but there are plenty of planets elsewhere.

Almost everywhere we look, we have found extraterrestrial planets orbiting stars, including an earth-sized planet, perhaps in the Goldilocks zone, which could support life, orbiting Proxima Centauri.

We have neighbors!

At last count, there were over 4000 confirmed exoplanets with thousands of more “candidate” objects yet to be confirmed.

It turns out planets are fairly common.

So, what does this have to do with my premise of changing 42 to 46 for the answer to the question? Bear with me a bit more.

A recent revision of the Drake Equation (I won’t bore you with an explanation, you can read about it here (https://www.britannica.com/science/Drake-equation) speculates there are thirty-six extraterrestrial intelligent communicating civilizations in our galaxy. (https://www.advancedsciencenews.com/astronomers-estimate-there-are-36-communicating-civilizations-in-our-galaxy/)

This estimate is on the low end of the process, there could be many more. Or none. But let us assume there are at least thirty-six.The chance of our finding them—or conversely their finding us—is, well, astronomical.

But what if?

In the Star Trek series, one of the biggest objections from a biological-scientific perspective (aside from faster than light travel) is Mr. Spock, a blended creature with a Vulcan father and a human mother. The likelihood of the chromosomes from an extraterrestrial species being compatible enough to permit reproduction with us is low.

But suppose, like our once certain science there were only nine planets, we are wrong? Suppose planets are a common object in the Universe and that intelligent life will develop given the proper conditions. What if the “right conditions” for developing intelligent life is 46 chromosomes?

What if, given this requirement for developing intelligent life, we could crossbreed with ET?

Perhaps not this particular species

If we can find them, that is.

I am an optimist. But I’ve long ago abandoned my childhood dream of flying to the stars. Yet, it may happen for my grandchildren (whenever they arrive… hint, hint.) But I still hope to live long enough to see the day when we actually communicate with another intelligent civilization.

Or at least know they exist.

Perhaps, generations from now, a blend of the 46 chromosomes from the Broadmeadow lineage will fly to those very stars, taking me existentially along into the Universe.

Here’s to 46 and all the possibilities of imagination.

Erasing History

The recent decision of the United States Marine Corps to ban displays of the Confederate flag is a necessary and welcome policy. I am proud to say, my cousin, Lieutenant General John Broadmeadow, was the senior Marine officer signing and issuing the official command.

Banning symbols associated with those who once fought to preserve slavery is a worthwhile goal. The flag represents two fundamental and undeniable legacies, slavery and a once lethal enemy of the United States of America.

Some have tried to spin the past into a less sinister reality. But the states that seceded from the Union did so to preserve and protect slavery. Every other rationale was ancillary and tangential to the cause.

These are the words three states publicized in justifying their secession.

Georgia

The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic…”

Mississippi

“Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.”

South Carolina

“But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution.”

Let there be no doubt about it, the argument for secession by the confederate states was based on slavery. They considered slaves to be nothing more than property. They saw the rising tide of abolition as an unlawful deprivation of their rights to this property by the government. There was no consideration of the black race as anything near as valuable as the white race. The south saw slaves as little more than two-legged pack animals.

 No alteration of facts, or creative interpretation of history, can change that reality.

Yet, the clamor to remove monuments to those who supported the south as a way of cleansing the stain of slavery is an exercise in contradictions and a fool’s mission.

These statues and artifacts represent a period in history important for us to remember. Removing them will not alter the past anymore than denying the reality behind it.

To remove the name of General Braxton Bragg from Fort Bragg, North Carolina cannot stand scrutiny without removing all those who may have held slaves.

One cannot erase history, no matter how unpleasant, unless one will wipe out all of it. And that is impossible.

If we tear down the statues to Robert E. Lee or Jefferson Davis because they fought in the cause of slavery, should we also remove statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, or the sixteen other Presidents who owned slaves?

Jefferson himself, while troubled by the institution of slavery, vacillated in his position. While he lamented the practice, he still held onto his slaves.

“I can say with conscious truth that there is not a man on earth who would sacrifice more than I would, to relieve us from this heavy reproach [slavery], in any practicable way. the cession of that kind of property, for so it is misnamed, is a bagatelle which would not cost me in a second thought, if, in that way, a general emancipation and expatriation could be effected: and, gradually, and with due sacrifices, I think it might be. but, as it is, we have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other”

If we are to remove the name Bragg from the fort, should we rename Washington, DC?

Do we erase from the history books the actions of William Tecumseh Sherman because of his total war in Georgia? Sherman was not an abolitionist. He didn’t care if the south held slaves, he fought to preserve the Union. Are those motivations admirable absent a revulsion to slavery?

Sherman’s own words expressed the nature of his conduct of the Southern Campaign.

“I confess, without shame, I am sick and tired of fighting—its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands and fathers … tis only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated … that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation.”

Sherman may have detested the realities of “hard war” but he did not shy away from visiting it in all its terror upon his enemies. Is his memorial something to preserve while we demolish those of Robert E. Lee?

Where do we stop trying to whitewash history? Do we remove all the names of soldiers memorialized in Forts and military posts who took part in the genocide of Native Americans?

Much of our history is written in blood. We shouldn’t try to obliterate these histories but learn from them. These statues and portraits represent Americans who lived during a much different time. They stood by their convictions, no matter how we view them now, and their fellow countrymen saw fit to memorialize them.

They are a part of history that is undeniable, unchangeable, and unerasable. Trying to understand the motivations of those who supported the southern cause is important, so such misguided endeavors never happen again.

They also remind us that slavery was the precursor to something many Americans still endure. They carry scars not from the whip but from the crippling pain of racism and discrimination.

The Confederate Flag should be on display in museums and history books. The legacy of slavery should be an important element of every American’s education.

For someone to display the Confederate Flag today is equal to displaying a Nazi flag. We do not celebrate the causes of our enemies. Despite efforts to recharacterize the motivations of secession, the fact remains that the Confederate States took up arms against the United States of America to preserve slavery. One of the most hateful legacies of human history.

Yet it is important, when those enemies were fellow Americans, that we don’t bury history because it is painful to recall it. Remembering something, in its proper perspective, is different than celebrating or endorsing it.

History is a valued teacher if we learn to appreciate and put the lessons into context.

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Freedom of Speech: The FIRST Amendment

I do not write this piece without trepidation. I hope to convey the point without feeding into the adversarial generalizations some believe this requires. I seek to cause no harm to the many sincere people who support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and the worthwhile goals of changing the impact of implicit bias within society.

Yet, the reason the founding fathers made Freedom of Speech the First Amendment was to ensure the government silences no one for holding or expressing an opinion. Even if that opinion criticizes an important movement for change in America.

More so, because that is the very basis for any progress; change tempered by a rational discussion of all aspects.

The founding fathers believed in the ability of Americans to discern the valid and righteous from the vain and vicious. It would seem we have forgotten the goal of the First Amendment in our pursuit of finding solutions to the issues raised by organizations such as BLM.

I was troubled by a news story out of Vermont reporting the suspension of a school principal for a post done on her personal time expressing her opinion about the BLM.

Tiffany Riley wrote:

“I firmly believe that Black Lives Matter, but I DO NOT agree with the coercive measures taken to get to this point across; some of which are falsified in an attempt to prove a point. While I want to get behind BLM, I do not think people should be made to feel they have to choose black race over human race. While I understand the urgency to feel compelled to advocate for black lives, what about our fellow law enforcement? What about all others who advocate for and demand equity for all? Just because I don’t walk around with a BLM sign should not mean I am a racist.”

The School board in Mount Ascutney held an emergency meeting, suspended Riley and now seek to terminate her. The board’s statement characterized Riley’s post thusly,

the ignorance, prejudice, and lack of judgment in these statements are utterly contrary to the values we espouse as a school board and district.”

This trend to suppressing those who would dare criticize the BLM movement, for it is happening all over the country, is as dangerous as the very issues BLM seeks to address.

It was once the majority of the country that tried to suppress voices such as BLM and other aspects of the equality movement, using all the tools of censorship and oppression to oppose racial justice.

Now, it would seem, the standard for Free Speech is “as long as it is in keeping with the most politically correct movements.”

Instead of taking the opportunity for a public discussion of Ms. Riley’s opinion—perhaps exposing implicit bias and teaching a valuable lesson to the students in the school and across the county—the school took the politically expedient way out.

This is not about BLM and the many valid changes they seek to bring about. But I find it troubling that an organization using the power of Free Speech to bring about change would demand to be exempt from criticism, or that political entities would seize on the moment to restrict Freedom of Speech.

Failing to unequivocally support Freedom of Speech is a danger to all. Groups like BLM are often the catalyst for progress. As Margaret Mead said,

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

But this should not make them immune from criticism.

I also find it troubling that an organization such as BLM, which rightfully argues blacks as a group are targeted solely on the color of their skin, would apply the same generalizations to all Police Officers.

Those who seek the protection of the First Amendment as a means to redress their grievances cannot deny it to others. Nor should they stand idly by when it is.

Ensuring justice and equality for all is a righteous cause. But seeking ways to bring it about does not immunize you from criticism. Fair treatment need be applied without reservation or conditions. Leaving aside the valid institutional changes necessary within society and law enforcement, justice without equality, no matter how worthy the goal, is contradictory to change.

Whether you are a black man or woman, or a police officer wearing a badge, one need by judged by the content of your soul, your character, and your conduct, not by the actions of others who happen to belong to the same group.

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Thanks for reading, please share with everyone!

Follow this blog for upcoming information on all new book releases. And please share this with readers everywhere. All comments are welcome. Or if you would like write a piece to be posted on my blog please send me a message.

Signup here for my email list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

And for all my books to add to your memories of great reads…https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Broadmeadow/e/B00OWPE9GU