Showing posts with label Attacks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Attacks. Show all posts

July 4, 2019

Countdown To Iran

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Countdown To Iran."

For two decades the cat and mouse game with Iran's development of nuclear weapons has gone on while Iran is leading State sponsor of terrorism and one of the worst human rights abusers.  Iran has marched forward with its desire for a global caliphate and has gone on threatening death and destruction in the Middle East and beyond and murdering with impunity. 

Now the end game is almost here...

The U.S. and Israel are committed to preventing Iran's existential threat and may G-d help us. 

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 13, 2016

U-Haul Rental Truck Terrorism

So true story...

This week I was walking in Downtown, D.C.

I see something strange, not usually there. 

There is a U-Haul van parked in front of the GW University School of Science and Engineering. 

Literally in front of the main doors.

A couple of it's wheels are actually sloppily on the sidewalk and it is in front of a fire hydrant in front of the very doors to the school.

But that's not all. 

All around the vehicle are oddly taped on posters as you see above. 

On some of the posters are antagonistic words about DOJ (the Department of Justice) and some even use the word "terrorist."

Well, after the devastating terror attack in 1995 against the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building with a massive homemade bomb concealed in a rental truck that killed 168 people and wounded almost 700, I decided it's probably a good idea to call the police. 

In the time that it took them to come, I was able to walk to the market place and to coffee...I know they are busy, but it seemed like forever. 

Finally, two patrol cars pull up...that's good. 

I go outside to meet them. 

The officer after briefly looking around (and not in) the vehicle looks at me as I walk over to him. 

I said, "I called you about this suspicious vehicle."

He goes sternly, "Well, what's suspicious about it?"

I described the obvious...how it was parked with wheels on the sidewalk, at a fire hydrant, right in front of the main doors to the school, and with all those (crazy) posters all around it and uses the word "terrorist".

Surprisingly to me, the officer responds, "That's not suspicious!" Then he concedes, "but I will give it a ticket."

He must've seen my face go into this contorted questioning look, but I thought the better of the situation and said with deference to him, "Well Sir, you're the expert!"

I thank him for coming out and walk away feeling disheartened at this security response just 15 years after 9/11 and when we are still fighting a gruesome war with ISIS and against global terrorism. 

Then just a few days later, look at the article I came across with a homeland security warning:

"ISIS Guide: Rent a U-Haul As A Weapon, Target Thanksgiving Day Parade or Political Rallies."

In the ISIS instructions, there is a picture of a U-Haul truck with the caption, "An Affordable Weapon" and the statement that "low security" gatherings "are fair game and more devastating to Crusader nations."

With all due respect for our esteemed law enforcement, perhaps we need to take these terrorist warnings more seriously, and frankly even without the explicit warning, a suspicious U-Haul in downtown DC in front of a major university probably deserves more than just a parking ticket! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 28, 2016

What The Pope Knows That Our Leadership Doesn't

In response to the deluge of terrorist attacks across Europe, but also all around the world, culminating this week in the murder of an 85-year old Christian priest in France (his throat was slit in church by ISIS), the pope said the following:


But at the same time, our leader is self-congratulating himself, declaring his next in line for the Pennsylvania Avenue throne, and mocking the daily terror threats we face, calling ISIS the "JV [junior varsity] team" declaring them "not an existential threat, and insisting "no boots on the ground." 

From the attacks on 9/11 to Orlando and Fort Hood, from the attacks on Charlie Hebdo to Paris and Nice, from the multiple attacks on Germany this past week to those in Belgium in March, from the Madrid train bombing in 2004 to the London bombing in 2005, to the daily terrorist attacks throughout the Holy Land of Israel, and the non-stop violent killing of  millions around the Arab countries of the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and beyond, I ask:

Why is the Pope better informed than our leadership, and who will fight for us? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 14, 2016

Refugees or Terrorists--How Do You Really Know?


The news about the refugee crisis is truly heartwrenching.  

My own parents and grandparents were refugees from the Holocaust who came to this beautiful country to start fresh and live in freedom and peace.  

So one one hand, I like so many others want to do the right thing from a humanitarian perspective and help people in need.  

But on the other hand, with this new wave of refugees something seems vastly different...

- 18 of 31 people identified so far in mass New Year's Eve attacks (sexual molesting, raping, and robbing) of over 500 women in German...were refugees that had already applied for asylum.

- At least one of the Paris terrorists who killed more than 130 people in November is alleged to have been a Syrian refugee. 

- At least 3 refugees resettled in the U.S. since 9/11 (from Iraq and Uzbek) have been arrested on terrorism charges and there have been dozens of other counter-terrorism investigations for those resettled here. 

- The ISIS suicide bomber that killed 10 German tourists in Istanbul this week was registered as a Syrian refugee "without setting off security alerts."

- And again this week, a group of refugees with rocks, bats, knives, attack a Frenchman

- ISIS is already asserting that they will use the refugee crisis to get attackers into the West and are bragging that already thousands have successfully infiltrated

Surely, no refugee vetting process is going to be ironclad--processing mistakes, system errors, and errors of judgement are bound to happen.

Some have also suggested that politics is playing a larger role here in wanting to get as many refugees and immigrants as possible into the country for the purpose of simply getting their cold hard votes...so this is a possible darker side of DC. 

In the end, we need to put politics aside, and figure out how do we help those that really need help and are good people seeking to live peacefully and productively among us, and how do we prevent the next wave of terror from some really bad apples? 

Until we can answer this question substantively, and not by an emotional response of it "is just not who we are," we need to take this one step at a time and not act rashly and recklessly. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Luis C. Araujo)
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December 4, 2015

Conventional "Wisdom" On Terrorism


Define "Terrorism".

If a Jew/Israeli defends themselves or their ancestral homeland, it's illegal, deplorable, and will utterly be condemned by the United Nations and in the media. 

If a radical Islamist attacks innocent civilians and commits extreme violent acts, they're freedom fighters, resisting occupation, or maybe it's just workplace violence. 

(Source Comic: Andy Blumenthal)


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October 17, 2015

Living In The Dark Ages--Of Hate, Violence, and Endless Excuses

Despite the enlightenment of everything technology has to offer, we are as a global society, in many senses, living back in the Dark Ages again.

Unbelievable terror and killings have become routine and yet we have become deaf and desensitized to it. 


- Using chemical weapons...what red line? 


- Dropping barrel bombs...heck, at least it's not more chemical weapons. 


Besieging of cities...how about a short truce to let in some much needed humanitarian aid?


Beheadings on YouTube...already so cliche. 


Burning people alive in cages or crucifying them...grotesque, but what were they doing there anyway? 


Stoning women for being victims of rape or simply for some trumped up charges...sluts, they must've deserved it!


Mass abductions, selling, enslavement, and gang rape of women and children...nice photo op for Bring Our Daughters Home.


Raining missiles down on cities and digging terror tunnels under borders...well their aim isn't so good and the tunnels took them a lot of hard work.


Bombing and shooting up pizzerias, cafes, clubs, hotels, stores, buses, weddings, funerals, and houses of worship...what can you do--it's a cycle of violence!


Hacking off limbs, axing and stabbing attacks... of course, a legitimate airing of grievances.


Flying airplanes into skyscrapers...it was a plot for the Crusaders to invade our lands.


- Building nukes and other weapons of mass destruction along with ballistic missiles, drones, and suitcase bombs to deliver the payload...well, you can't put the knowledge back in the bottle!


More excuses from the political peanut gallery:


Are we just war-weary, being lazy, fearful, hiding out and putting our heads in the sand for a while, focused on other pressing domestic issues, pivoting east, in need of a better strategy, rooting for and helping the other (wrong/evil) side, a little delusional as to our own national and homeland security here, or perhaps, have some seriously gone off the (rational) deep end? 


Appeasement, disengagement, and withdrawal...vice leadership.


How do we explain this type of insane, immoral world to our children and is this really the type of sick and treacherous world we want to leave to them?


Oh yes, it's so comfortable and cushy where we are--there is nothing for us to worry about--or is there? ;-)


(Source Photo: Facebook)

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August 1, 2015

Good Can (And Will) Overcome Evil


Beautiful video showing that good can overcome evil. 

Next video is where the woman (empowered) takes down the would be attackers herself--with a big time, well-deserved smackdown!

Where on the right track. ;-)
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January 27, 2015

Trouble In Protection Land

The Secret Service is one of the finest agencies in the Federal government, but unfortunately, the "recreational" drone crash landing at the White House was a protection disaster this week.

(And it comes on the heels of knife-wielding assailants running wild through the front doors of the White House, people taking pot shots at the White House, and even planes crash landing there). 

This time it was perhaps, a small drone innocently passing low without a significant radar signature unto the White House grounds, but next time it may be a miniaturized drone the size of an insect that attacks the President or his senior staff in the White House itself. 

This could happen with a pin prick of poison or a small drone carrying explosives, biological, or chemical weapons. 

We are entering a new dimension of threats that are not easily addressed with existing technology. 

It is said the the President is proverbially protected by a bubble of defenses around him, but where we are going is that this bubble may need to become an actual physical bubble that nothing, not even an insect drone can get through. 

It may sound ridiculous, but it may be the only way (for now) to really protect against these threats that literally fly beneath our radar!

Perhaps at some future time, we will have our swarms of defensive drones that go after any attack drone, no matter how small or how many, but in the meantime, we must protect our critical leadership and assets. 

Almost two years ago, I blogged about robots, drones, and commandos in exoskeletons attacking the White House and our not being prepared with adequate defenses and counter-measures.

This week's drone crash should be making the alarm bells go off on this issue big time now!

We must move past reactive steps and a failure to anticipate and become true forward-thinkers, strategists, planners, enterprise architects, and futurists. 

The protection of our leaders, institutions, critical infrastructure, and people depend upon true out of the box thinking, not doing the same thing but on a different day. 

The time is now to think about protections from much more than traditional attack patterns to the wildest and craziest we can imagine--because our enemies are not hampered by the past and won't rest until they see what we won't. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to David Illig)
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February 21, 2014

Can You Trust Social Media?

Interesting article in BBC about a project underway to develop a system that will rate information on the Internet as trustworthy or not. 

Considering how quickly we get information from the Net and how easy it is to start crazy rumors, manipulate financial investors, or even cause a near panic, it would be good to know whether the source is legitimate and the information has been validated. 

Are we simply getting someone mouthing off on their opinions or what they think may happen or perhaps they are unknowingly spreading false information (misinformation) or even purposely doing it (disinformation)?

Depending how the Internet is being used--someone may be trying to get the real word out to you (e.g. from dissidents in repressive regimes) or they may be manipulating you (e.g. hackers, criminals, or even terrorists). 

To have a reliable system that tells us if information being promulgated is good or not could add some credibility and security online. 

What if that system though itself is hacked? Then lies can perhaps be "verified" as truth and truth can be discredited as falsehood. 

The Internet is dangerous terrain, and as in the life in general, it is best to take a cautious approach to verify source and message. 

The next cyber or kinetic attack may start not with someone bringing down the Internet, but rather with using it to sow confusion and disarm the masses with chaos. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 17, 2013

Some Game This Is


I remember as a kid, my grandfather lived down the block from us on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. 

He was old and not in the best of health with a heart condition, hearing aids, and more. 

One day, he was coming home from the bank, and he went into the elevator in his building. 

He was followed by a punk, who after the elevator door closed, proceeded to grab my grandfather and choke him until he was unconscious. 

The thug took his wallet and left my grandfather on the floor of the elevator. 

Now, today I saw on the news about the Knockout Attack Game--and some "game" this is.

The attacker runs up behind the person unbeknownst and with full force slams their fist against a person head, knocking them unconscious, and when successful, this is done with one punch! 

In other cases, an entire gang will attack, punching and kicking a victim until they stop moving. 

While I couldn't locate the exact video that happened in a neighborhood in NY to a Jewish woman, this video of an attack on a Muslim girl in London about a year ago, approximates it very closely. 

While some victims of these attacks end up with broken jaws, skulls, shattered teeth, internal injuries, bleeding and more, others are not so lucky and end up dead. 

I never forgot what happened to my grandfather and the cowardly schmuck that attacked this old, helpless man--but at least, he apparently did it for the money. 

In these knockout attacks, when they ask the attackers why they do it, the response is for the fun and laughs. 

What a commentary of our society, when people brutally attack other people--not for money, revenge, self-defense, or principle--but simply to see others needlessly suffer and to take a form of intense joy in it. 

Perhaps, there are certain crimes for which the L-rd above must look down and mete out his own version of justice, in a way that restores order to this world of hope and despair.
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August 31, 2013

Should Or Shouldn't The U.S. Attack Syria

As the hour approaches for a punishing U.S. attack on Syria, here are some thought on why or why not to do it:

Reasons Not To Attack Syria:

War-weary--The U.S. has been fighting back since 9/11 2001, how much more blood and treasure should we spend in a war that has brought limited results with over 5K dead and over 50K wounded Americans and costing almost $1.5 trillion dollars so far. 

World policeman--No country alone, including the U.S. can be the policeman for the world. We cannot get involved in every war and skirmish: we can't afford it; it is a distraction from our full slate of pressing domestic issues, and we ourselves are not perfect. 

International Discord--Russia and China, two other U.N. Security Council members are not on board with us in punishing Syria for use of chemical weapons or for ending the conflict there. Even the U.K backed out of the operation. 

Potential backlash--Syria, Hezbollah, or Iran may lash out at American interests, including neighboring Israel, embassies/posts worldwide, oil infrastructure, and more. 

Limited strike, limited benefits--With all the media and lack of secrecy on this operation, the Syrians have had the notice and time to vacate suspected target attack sites and move critical equipment out. Also, we have already ruled out attacking the chemical weapons themselves due to fear of collateral damage. Plus, we have already said that we are not going to try and unseat Assad or end the fighting. So will hitting some empty buildings in a civil war that has already been going for more than 2 years have anything but symbolic impact? 

Reasons To Attack Syria:

Morality--We can't stand idly by while Assad indiscriminately is killing civilians (including women and children). 

Norms of War--We must send a message that use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) is horrific and a precedent that is unacceptable. 

Red Line--We drew a red line and now we must adhere to it; our words and deeds must be consistent or else we lose credibility. 

Punish bad behavior--The Syrian civil war has cost over 100,000 lives so far and displaced millions, torturing and executing civilians and using chemical weapons is bad nation state behavior and must be punished to mete out justice, as a deterrent, as a rehabilitative action, and to reimpose some equality back in the fight.

Protect Ourselves--Being clear and sending a global message that use of WMD is unacceptable helps in the end to protect us from being victims of such a dastardly deed as well. It is in our own national self-interest.

Axis of Evil--Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah are working together to spread Anti-American and Anti-Israel hatred, terrorism, and to develop WMD (including Nukes) to threaten us and establish a greater stranglehold on the Middle-East as well as Europe. This is a war that is not desired by us, but one that has been thrust upon us by adversaries seeking our destruction. 

Closing Thoughts:

If we do it, then we should do it right.  

"Sending a message," in Syria rather than fighting to win something strategically meaningful and tangible continues to leave us vulnerable and just having to fight another day.

We can't straddle issues of morality, norms of war, and defense of our nation and way of life--either take out Assad, end the bloodshed, and establish a peaceful, democratic government or what is the point?

Obviously, there are arguments to be made on either side. 

But what is frustrating is that making a decision after we've concluded wrongdoing, and doing something positive is seeming to take too long, and strong leadership is required to bring resolution and greater good. 

Moreover, we need to look at the greater threat picture, so while sending Tomahawk missiles to Syria for their chemical weapons use, what about doing a full stopover in Iran with some Bunker Busters to put an end to their menacing and blatantly genocidal nuclear WMD program.

Wishy washy isn't going to make us any righter or safer, definitive results-oriented action can. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to zennie62)


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April 18, 2013

Rape-aXe Takes Hold

As a follow up to my blog on Tuesday about the Anti-rape Bra, a colleague gave me the lead to another prototype device called Rape-aXe.

Here is a YouTube video that explains how it works (explicit topic).

According to Nicci Talbot in Suite101, Rape-aXe is a female anti-rape condom that has small razor sharp barbs on the inside.

A rapist, who inserts into the female condom, gets trapped by the device, which needs to be surgically removed and leaves small scarring. 

The device was invented by Sonnet Ehlers a South Africa women, and it went into production in 2007 going for $2 a piece. 

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) "1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime."

"It's a medieval device for a medieval deed," stated Ehlers, and no such evil deed should go unpunished. 

Females and males should be protected from sexual abuse both legally as well as with anti-rape devices--and that's the real point. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to haleybean91)
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April 16, 2013

A Shocking Bra To Stop Attackers

In the medieval times, to help ensure fidelity of partners and protect against rape, they invented something called a chastity belt--I am sure you get it. 

There is one for women and there is another one fitted for men.

Now in light of the horrible rape attacks in India, 3 female students in India's SRM University have developed an anti-rape bra that literally shocks attackers. 

The bra is called "SHE" (for Society Harnessing Equipment) and unlike the chastity belt of the olden-days, this bra according to Popular Science delivers 3,800 kv to attackers. 

Women can activate the bra when they feel unsafe and it is pressure sensitive and is calibrated to be able to differentiate say a hug from something more violent. 

The woman is insulated from getting shocked by a polymer lining on the inside. 

The bra is also being outfitted so the pressure sensor sends a Bluetooth signal to your smartphone to send text message alerts to family or friends and the police with your GPS location. 

I want to end with a quote from one of the students as to their inspiration for this innovative anti-rape bra:

"Studying in a convent girls school, we were always taught to be good to everyone and bear a cheerful smile. After stepping into the real, cruel world, we realized that our smile could not last for long as the threat to our purity and integrity always lingered on...Hence, we have initiated the idea of self-defense, which protect the women from domestic, social and workplace harassment."

While I hope these students don't believe that everyone in the world is cruel, I applaud these young women for doing something positive to help protect women worldwide.  

I don't know how practical this anti-rape bra will end up being (i.e. wearing something that produces a dangerous shock), this is a good step in thinking about how to make women less of a target and increase the risk to any would-be attacker. ;-)

(Source Photo: adapted from here with attribution to Nicolas Sanguinetti) 


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August 17, 2012

Realizing Bubble Boy

Cool innovation out of Sweden, as an alternative to regular bike helmets, there is now the Hovding

An "invisible" nylon air bag helmet that is worn stylishly around the neck and inflates only when the it detects a pending accident.

The wearable device has a rechargeable accelerometer and gyroscope for sensing accidents, and it can inflate with helium in just a tenth of a second. 

It also has a "black box" that records that last 10 seconds of the accident, so that investigators can analyze what happened.

The helmet shell for around the neck comes in a variety of styles and colors, and it costs between $450 and $600 dollars, but  is not usable after a single inflatable event. 

While many people don't want to wear crash helmets because they are either unattractive or uncomfortable, this new inflatable helmet provides style and comfort, and most importantly head protection. 

The developers see other potential uses for skiing, horseback riding, epileptics, and the elderly.

I wonder about future applications for even more extreme sports and activities like motocycle riding, sky diving, and even race-car driving--people could do the things they enjoy, more naturally, without the clunky helmet, but still have the protection they need.

Also, I believe that the inflatable helmet has potential to be expanded into a more complete body guard package--like an invisible protective shield ready and waiting to be deployed all around a person in case of an accident, attack, or other disaster scenario. 

Like the idea of Bubble Boy, who lives in a sterilized dome to protect him because of a compromised immune system, people of all types may one day be able to have a protective bubble that keeps them out of harm's way. 

Technology, such as the smartphone, is moving from mobile to wearable, and high-tech helmets too have the potential for a big lift--stay tuned for yours. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Geoffery Kehrig)

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October 1, 2011

Vigilance on a Wrist

I just wanted to share this product with readers of my blog.


At the press of a button, you activate a piercing alarm (up to 30 minutes) and flashing locator lights right from this wrist band.

While I am not endorsing any particular vendor or product, this type of self-defense product can really be important.

This could potentially save the lives of loved ones about to be violently attacked, abducted, or even raped, G-d forbid.

From the Amazon site, I was impressed also to see that a portion of each sale is even donated to missing children's funds.

At a price of only $16.99 per wrist alarm, how much is there really to think about?

Stay safe out there!

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September 10, 2011

Rising From The Ashes of 9/11

From the smoldering wreckage of the 9/11 attacks, now rises the new World Trade Center (WTC) complex.

According to the Wall Street Journal (10-11 Sept. 2011), the damage from the terrorist attacks of 9/11 resulted in the collapse or partial collapse of 7 buildings including: WTC North Tower, South Tower, and Four, Fix, Six, and Seven WTCs as well the Marriott Hotel. In addition, 11 other surrounding building had major damage including 1, 2, and 3 World Financial Centers and the N.Y.P.D. Command Center.

A decade later, $11 billion has been invested in the reconstruction of the 16 acre site, including $3 billion for One WTC (at 104 stories and 1,776 feet tall)--"making it the most expensive office tower in the U.S.

The cost is being driven upward by enhanced security measures to thwart other potential attacks, and according to Fast Company (Sept. 2011) and the buildings website these include:

1) Safety Materials - Advanced safety materials include dense fireproofing and biochemical filters to protect occupants from spreading threats.

2) Structural Redundancy - Load-bearing structures are being replicated so if there is a failure, "these skyscrapers have steel connections capable of redirecting the path of the upper floors load downward through other structural members." Additionally, the sprinkler system has "two interconnected standpipes, so that if one should fail, the other can compensate."

3) Protected Core - The sprinklers and safety systems (including the buildings communications antennae and ventilation) are being located in a protected inner building concrete core to prevent their being severed or disabled.
4) Escapability - Multiple exits and backups on emergency lighting, wider staircases for escape, separate stairs for first responders, and "lifeboats"--which are elevator escape pods from protected refuge areas on specific floors take evacuees to ground level safety.

I think it is important to recognize and applaud these safety and security enhancements; together, with improvements to our counterterrorism, intelligence, and homeland security operations, we have come a long way.
However, we cannot afford to stop and get complacent with our progress--as we see with the latest security alert, this time for the 10th year anniversary of the 9/11 attack.

In protecting our homeland, we have to get it right every single time, but those who seek to attack us and our way of life, only need to "get it right" once in order to hurt and kill many innocent people.

For 9/11/11, it is a good time to reflect on where we've come, the progress to date, and recommit ourselves to "fight the good fight".

One way to do this, I believe, is through continuing investment and advancement in our technology, science, and engineering platforms. These will help us to strengthen our economy and through innovation and it's application stay ahead or leapfrog those who seek to come against us.
Stronger, safer builders are important (and should of course, be pursued), but we cannot win a war of terror by bunkering down.

Technology and innovation are our offensive weapons that will enable us to keep the enemy on the run--afraid of what we've got up our sleeves next.

(Source Photo: here)

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August 13, 2011

Attacked And Then Some

We watched this week the riots in London--the chaos, the anarchy, the destruction, and ultimately the fear brought upon the everyday people.

But nothing was more chilling than the video of the Malaysian student who already beaten and bloodied is helped to his feet by what seems like a good samaritan only to be taken off-guard by what turns out to really be a second attack, where they steal his wallet, phone, and Sony PSP playstation.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said about this incident: "When we see children as young as 13 looting and laughing, when we see the disgusting sight of an injured young man with people pretending to help him, while they are robbing him, it is clear that there are things that are badly wrong in our society."

But what is wrong with society and how are we going to correct them?

Clearly, there are feelings are social inequality and injustice around the world and this has sparked protests, riots, and war.

This last week we saw the gamut from peaceful protests in Tel Aviv over the rising costs of living, to the riots in the UK leading to over a thousand arrests and estimates of hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, and ongoing warring battles for the Arab Spring occurring in the Middle-East in Libya, Yemen, Syria, and more.

And while protesting and even demanding change in the face of injustice is sometimes necessary, the brutal attacks on innocents is not a fight for social justice, but rather of those who would take advantage of the times for their own greed and malevolence--it is sick to loot, burn, and attack just because they can.

Unfortunately, we saw similar mob mentality in Egypt when CBS reporter, Lara Logan was brutally raped by a crowd celebrating the resignation of Hosni Mubarak.

So what is wrong? There are some people who lack a clear sense of right and wrong, and who are not inhibited from doing horribly wrong and violent things.

I remember as a child growing up, my father used to tell me, when there is no one to stand up and be a man, you be the man--you be the example!

This was not a lesson in masculinity, but rather of morality--no matter what others do, no matter how egregious, no matter how many, you must have the conviction to stand up and do what is right.

To me, we need more fathers in this world like mine, who teach and demand responsibility from their children.

Similarly, we need more nurturing mothers, enlightened educators, genuine models of religious piety, as well as wise and inspirational leader--who can bring out the best in our young people and give them hope, but also guidance.

Both the London riots and the attack on the student that happened this week, could happen anywhere next, if we don't continue to address the basic needs of the people (from freedom to human rights, economic prosperity, etc.), and ensure a society that is governed by law, but also driven by ethical behavior and a sense of duty rather than entitlement.

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July 9, 2011

How Far Will You Go?

This week we watched with horror as a Texas baseball fan and firefighter fell to his death attempting to catch a ball hurtling into the stands.

This man overreached in this case, and went to his death in order to try and catch a baseball!

He did an ordinary thing and it cost him his life--right in front of his son.

It is tragic--unbelievable.

Ironically, the same day, the Wall Street Journal (8 July 2011) has an article called "The Taming of The Fans," about what they call "rowdy fan bases" and efforts to control the craziness.

In response, a "fan code of conduct" is being adopted by some.

"Among the no-no's:"

- Fighting
- Illegal drugs
- Laser pens
- Drinking underage
- And so on.

About a month ago, there was the riots in Vancouver after the Stanley cup was lost and from the chaos came the now famous photo of the kissing couple, the girl having been injured and on the ground in the mayhem.

We live in an unpredictable world--where things can get out of control.

When rationality, morality, and a sense of moderation get away from us, thenterrible things happen--death, destruction, chaos.

And of course, this is not limited to fans of sporting events and rock-and-roll concerts.

This week, we watched with mouths agape as people like Casey Anthony and Dominique Strauss-Kahn basically walk away from some very serious and terrible charges. While no one can say what really happened, we were all really shocked at the outcomes.

For months now, we have been watching with indignation as various Middle-East dictators shoot, kill, besiege, and round up their own people in order to maintain power in the Arab Spring.

Lara Logan, the CBS reporter, who was sexually attacked and brutally beaten by a mob in Egypt's Tahir Square during the riots in February, is another recent horror tale that speaks volumes about people going to non-sensical extremes and committing atrocities.

The images and sound bites are there basically everyday of people, organizations, and societies going to the extremes and doing unthinkables--really these are burned into consciousness (for others it's in their subconscious).

People are willing to go to all sorts of extremes to get what they want, do what they believe, or just to go sheer crazy.

Sometimes, those efforts are rewarded and others get their due--in the end, I believe justice prevails in this life or the after.

Our world sits on a fine line between sanity and insanity--life and death.

People are tempted "to go for it" to get what they want all the time.

But the challenge is to weigh the cost and benefits and chose our actions carefully.

There is a domino effect to our choices--and we own the consequences.

Will we pull ourselves back from the edge--when the ball is coming our way in life?

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