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Kyle, Texas
February 13, 2013     Hays Free Press
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February 13, 2013

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THEY REALLY SAID THAT? "I couM have been better. But l think I've done a fair job. But it's time for me to go. Ttn'ngs haven't worked out." -Kyle Fire Chief Glenn Whitaker Page 4A Hays Free Press * February 13, 2013 GODAND The President of the United States, Barack Obama, kills American citizens on foreign soil, with no judicial process whatsoev- er, solely on the advice of the CIA, and his own judgment. Would a Republican Presi- dent do any differently? The Justice Department has issued an opinion calling this practice "wise," "ethical," and "legal." Okay, so if it's legal, ethical and wise to kill them overseas, just because the CIA says they are terror- ists, why not kill them with hit squads, right here on American soil? Are they any less dangerous here than they are overseas? Can we really trust a secretive, organization like the CIA, which is account- able only to the President, to always include on its hit list only people are genuinely terrorists? What exactly is a terrorist, anyway? What's to stop the CIA from telling the President that someone is a terrorist, when in reality they are only people who are inconvenient to the CIA? How could the President tell the difference? Why does it have to be the CIA that creates the hit list? Why couldn't the FBI or Homeland Security or the Joint Chiefs of Staff create lists of their own? For that matter, why couldn't the President appoint his own in- house council to decide who to target for death? Didn't President Bush allow Dick Cheney to set up his own in- telligence group in competi- tion with the CIA? How about letting Dick Cheney decide? Is it possible for someone to be worse than a terrorist, in the eyes of the President? If it's okay for the President to kill "terrorists" without any judicial process, then wouldn't it be even more okay to kill someone who is "worse than a terrorist"? If we are to simply trust the judgment of the President on who is a terrorist deserving death, then would we not also have to trust the President's judg- ment on who is worse than a terrorist? Are you aware that no less respectable a head of state than Winston Churchill con- sidered Mahatma Gandhi to be a "bad man and an enemy of the empire" who deserved to die? What if Churchill had had drones and the power to declare Gandhi a terrorist? Have we ever had a presi- dent who considered his own reelection to be a matter of national security? Who con- sidered his political enemies to be enemies of the United States? What would Richard M. Nixon have done, given the power to designate any- one as a terrorist, and simply kill them? What would future Presidents do? What is to stop the Presi- dent - present or future - from naming you as a terror- ist and having you killed? And if you can be killed without any judicial process what- soever, what effect does that have on free speech? What ef- fect on your other freedoms? What effect on the electoral process? Has Congress ever declared a "War on Terror"? If not, does the "War on Terror" have any legal standing under the Con- stitution? Does the Constitu- tion have any meaning at all? Do we really want to open this Pandora's Box, in the name of anti-terrorism? Does the so-called "War on Terror" really justify all this? If so, then what other depradations of liberty and due process are also justified? If so, then in the eyes of the Eternal God, is the United States still worth saving? t/ N0r "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of- ah, the hell with it." "My country tis of thee; sweet land of- Obamacare? I'm walking." It's been nearly a century and a half since, in a courthouse beside a bloody battlefield, a severed union was stitched whole. If I read things correct- ly, in 2013 part of that whole has grown tired of cohabitation. It wants its own generals again. A few weeks on the heels of petitions to secede from the union after Barack Obama's re-election, we are awash in warlike threats. Has someone secured Fort Sumter? It didn't seem like a wartime speech the other day when our president, at his second inauguration, talked about the promise of the 21st century, calling for the nation to bridge the meaning of the founders' words about equality "with the realities of our time." Unacknowledged by President Obama, however, was a threat to the space-time continuum: an opposition bitterly pining for a return to the '50s -- the 1850s. Those were the good old days before Lincoln and the Union Army stepped in to enforce the founders' intentions for one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice even for slaves. And here we are in 2013, and in vari- ous points around the country, includ- ing statehouses, with rumblings that the union has grown untenable. Indeed, some state lawmakers have issued calls to turn the time machine back to 1832. That's when South Caroli- na announced it would obey federal law no more. The Ordinance of Nullification it was called. Before cannon balls flew, it was the Civil War's first shot. We know who won. The latest separatist retort is pro- posed legislation in states from Texas to Wyoming to Montana to Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, South Carolina and Indiana, initiating efforts to "nul- lify" any attempts by federal authorities to enforce new gun restrictions. Before that: nullification-style ef- forts aimed at ignoring federal health care reforms such as health insurance exchanges to lower the cost of health coverage, and federal assistance to expand Medicaid. In the meantime, we have a discon- certing split forming between two sep- arate brands of law enforcement. On one hand, we have largely urban police organizations supporting steps to tamp down the proliferation of military-style guns and massive clips. On the other hand, we have mostly rural sheriffs saying they wil! refuse to enforce new gun-control laws. Epitomizing that brand of petulance in Texas is McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara. The Waco Republi- can said he would enforce no law "I feel to be unconstitutional." Newly elected, McNamara appar- ently doesn't understand that courts decide those matters. His job is to follow what they dictate. But you know what a shiny badge and a horse not made of two-by-fours will do to one's sense of stature. One sheriff who isn't marching to that tune is Grayson Robinson. His jurisdiction is Colorado's Arapahoe County. In a recent letter, he compared statements like McNamara's to the ac- tions of long-ago lawmen who served as judge and jury, with ropes and nooses. Robinson could also have mentioned the individual who, in his jurisdiction, took the law into his own hands in an Aurora theater last year and, after firing a spray of bullets, left 12 people dead and 58 wounded. Judge. Jury. Execfi- tioner. You tell me the difference ultimately between that one man, and another, albeit an elected sheriff, announcing, "I am the law." Once again, we reflect in wonder at the contrast: such a hopeful, uplifting presidential inauguration, and such militant resistance to what, based on the voters' wishes, shall emanate for four more years from the nation's capital. You're right, Sheriff. Maybe one country isn't big enough for the both of us. Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. , I, "t surprised me to find a friend of mine, Phil Savoy, in the obituary . column of the Hays Free Press last week. The last time we talked, I thanked him for possibly saving my life by halting me from being inactive and letting events take their course. He seemed puzzled that what he said one time had so much effect on what happened to me after college graduation. We met through friends in common because I had met several of his high school (Mac Arthur in San Antonio) buds before and right after I transferred from another university to Southwest Texas. We were on a first name basis and laughed at each other's foibles. He and his friends were crazy and I'd laugh until my face hurt. And then he was gone. He reappeared two years later with a more serious mien than when he'd left. Turns out he'd been in Viet Nam on our side; he got drafted, Read in the obit about his Purple Hearts and other medals. He was in the thick of it. My lottery number was 52. I was a goner to the draft after graduation. I wasn't going to think about it until later, like Scarlett O'Hara. For years I listened to news bits about the war and gleaned two major points: We weren't trying to win and our soldiers' lives were being leveraged for no goals. A tremendous amount of money and war materials were being wasted. Oh, they told us about the domino theory and how we had to put the brakes on Communism in the Far East or all the countries there would eventually be in Communists' dominance. I believed them because they were honorable men and would never lie. Here, people were marching, protesting the immorality of the war. That wasn't my concern then. I knew that I did not want to risk my life and limb for so nebulous a cause. One sunny day on the Quad I came up to Phil and some of his pals and greeted them. The Quad was a fantastic place to absorb the college ambience. Friends found each other there and plotted and planned. I parked my self-restored Triumph 650 at the crosswalk and basked in the self-perceived jealousy I felt oozing from the pores of fellow students. But that Spring I wondered what plans our government had for me after graduation. They were asking Phil about Viet Nam. He gave answers in a tone that was soft and without any tinge of boast.Then came the question that silenced us all. "What's it like being in a firefight?" Phil's eyes went dull. He stared through us like there was something behind us that we couldn't see; like a petit mal seizure of sorts, or a drift into a bad dream. Then in a barely audible voice that trembled, he said, "I was never so scared in all my life." I went numb at his answer. I then realized the seriousness of the decision I had to make. He had friends die there and nearly died himself. I did not end up in Canada. I joined the Army Reserves. The draft board told me about a unit that just got back from Nam with a lot of early "outs" they were trying to refill. I raised my right hand and for six years I tried to stay unnoticed. Later, Robert McNamara and I agreed together that Viet Nam was a mistake. Thanks, Phil, for what you did for us all. COMMENTS FROM THE WEBSITE If this young man said he was going to stab someone then why didn't anyone call the cops? It didn't give him the right to kill someone by any means but ff people at the party heard this they may have been able to help prevent it from happening. - Linda Hamilton on "Police make arrest in San Marcos fatal stabbing" Well done Hemphlll Elementary School Faculty and Students. Australians believe in "mateship" so this is a bonza message and beaut performance. Congratulations from DownUnder - Jo Spanhel on "Hemphill Elementary in Kyle made awesom no bullying rap video" No, I haven't, I'm not stupid. Anyone who does it is asking for trouble. - Angle N Ernie Schulze on "Have you ever texted or surfed the web while driving?" MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBLICATIONS, INC. Publisher Cyndy Slovak-Barton NEWSROOM Editor Cyndy Slovak-Barton Sports Reporter Moses Leos III Features & Education Editor Kim Hitsenbeck Staff Reporter Andy Sevilla Community Columnists Sandra Grizzle Pauline Tom Columnists Bartee Halle Clint Younts Will Durst John Young Danny Tyree Proofreaders Jane Kirkham OFFICE MANAGER Connie Brewer ADVERTISING Tracy Mack Dioni Gomez CIRCULATION/CLASSIFIEDS Suzanne Hallam PRODUCTION Production Mgr. David White Assistant Designer Melinda Helt Distribution Gigi Hayes Pete Sizemore Contact Us: FAX: 512-268-0262 BUDA 512-295-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397 113 W. Center Street Kyle, Texas 78640