A couple of things.

Katelyn update. Katelyn came through surgery and the doctors were thrilled about how it went. They were able to repair the damage and rebuild a valve using some of her own tissue, which will be much lower-maintenance than an artificial valve.
The roller-coaster ride probably isn’t over yet, but one can hope.

Thanks for your prayers.

Daniel Pearl. As a professionally-trained journalist, you knew I’d talk about this at some point. This is a work hazard. I know about those. I’ve been on crime scenes before the suspect was apprehended. I’ve received telephone threats. When you cover such topics as crime, war, or terrorism, you take a certain amount of risk–risks that a sportswriter doesn’t. You accept those risks, or you get out.

I decided I didn’t love journalism enough to have to take those risks. I became a magazine feature writer (better suited for my talents anyway), then I took a job in another field.

Daniel Pearl took the other route, which left him chasing down people in Pakistan with ties to a known terrorist. He knew what he was getting into. But he smelled a story. I know that feeling. I’ve done it too. I once drove out to what I believed was a compound, hoping to talk to a militant separatist in person. But I didn’t go alone. And the reporter I went with happened to be an ex-Marine. I liked the odds and wanted the story.

You’ll notice there isn’t a mass exodus of journalists leaving Pakistan. Certainly some have left. But many have stayed behind. That’s where the stories are. Sure, it’s risky. Will there be more kidnappings? Absolutely. Is Daniel Pearl dead? Probably not yet. He’s not worth anything to them dead. Now if they take a second hostage and then give a 24-hour ultimatum, he’s finished.

The public outcry on this should be tremendous. I’ve lost a tremendous amount of respect for Pakistan. And I’m going to call a duck a duck. Islam is a cult. Yeah, like Jonestown. Meanwhile there are people talking about U.S. atrocities at Guantanamo Bay–the people there live under conditions our soldiers wish they could live under, so if the United States is mistreating anyone right now, it’s our own soldiers–and public school districts teaching proselytizing Islam in some parts of the country. That has to stop. It’s unconstitutional. Unfortunately, it’s also trendy. Don’t expect to hear a peep from the ACLU. Muslims don’t oppress. If you ask the politically correct, that is.

Daniel Pearl knew what he was getting into. That doesn’t justify his kidnapping. I don’t blame Geraldo Rivera for carrying a gun as he reports. I don’t blame the journalists who leave. I don’t blame the journalists who stay. I admire their courage.

There’s not much I can do. I’m not going back into reporting. I’m certainly not going over there. I don’t have the skills to be an effective soldier or reporter over there.

There’s one thing I can do. And I will. The lease on my car is up in just over a year. It’s a Dodge Neon, hardly a gas-guzzler. But it gets 26-35 miles to the gallon. There are cars out there that use less gas. Honda makes some. Toyota makes some. Volkswagen makes some.

Honda and Toyota make hybrid cars. Bill Maher bought one and advocates others do the same–why support our enemies? He surprised me. I have newfound respect for him. I weighed the pros and cons of doing the same. I concluded that a VW Jetta would actually be more economical for me, based on the amount I drive.

But I’m torn. I can pay more money to the Japanese, so I can avoid paying more money to the Middle East.

A month ago I’d have decided I was doing enough by buying a German car that got 30+ MPG in all conditions. Now I don’t think so. Now I’m mad enough to pay extra, just to avoid supporting people like the buttwipes who kidnapped Daniel Pearl.

It’s been said that economically, the Japanese never stopped fighting World War II. They rarely buy our products, and they flooded our marketplace with theirs, first making their stuff cheaper than ours, then making it cheaper and, in most cases, better. They couldn’t conquer us militarily, but if they didn’t conquer us economically, they sure changed us irreversibly.

It’s time we follow the Japanese lead and fight with our dollars. Where do terrorists get their money? Ultimately, it originates from oil. So if we stop buying their oil, they’ve got nothing to use to fight against us. The best way we can start is by trading in our SUVs for hybrid cars, even if that means swallowing hard and paying more for a hybrid than we would for a conventional car. And even if that means not buying American. (I never thought I’d say that.)

Sending our soldiers isn’t enough. This country didn’t win WWII by sending out soldiers and acting like nothing else happened, other than waving U.S. flags and checking CNN.com a few times a day. We won WWII by fundamentally changing our way of life. Some of the changes were temporary. Some of them were permanent.

If we don’t want another Vietnam or Somalia, we’re going to have to remember what total warfare is, grit our teeth, and take it like men.

So don’t do it for the planet. Do it for our troops. Do it for hostages like Daniel Pearl. Do it because you can’t shoot Osama bin Laden or Richard Reid in the teeth. Do it for Todd Beamer and the rest of the people on those planes and in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Do it for the people they left behind. Do it for the countries that rallied to our side.

Use some of the money you save on gas and on car payments to pay down those credit cards. And rest easier knowing that airplane you see overhead isn’t going to explode, or crash into something important.

See you later. I’m going to war.

5 thoughts on “A couple of things.

  • February 2, 2002 at 5:46 am

    Yea Dave!

  • February 2, 2002 at 12:52 pm

    Little Katelyn is going to have a strong grip on MANY hearts for a very long time. Our prayers will continue. Thanks for the updates.

  • February 2, 2002 at 1:30 pm

    Amen to some of that. :o)

    I totally agree about the Islam trend. But I disagree about the buying habits. And I’ll never have even a slight measure of respect for Bill Maher… :op He’s morally vacuous in every way. (But that’s another topic.) 🙂 As for purchases, (well,.. car purchases anyway) I don’t buy American anymore (used to) because I did research and found out that… well… they make inferior products for more money. So I thought to myself… "Self.. why would I pay more for a car that won’t run as well, will give me more problems, and won’t be worth as much when I go to sell it?" Since I couldn’t think of an answer, I bought a Honda. 🙂 In any event, we live in a capitalist market, and competition is what drives it. If I send a message to the big three that says I will buy their product, no matter how crappy they make it, just because of some patriotic warm fuzzy I got when watching their commercial, then they’ll see no reason to ever make it better.

    I do agree about dependency,.. I would like to see us become less reliant on foreign oil, so we don’t have to depend on someone else (who basically hates our guts) just to fill our tanks every week. But does that mean "use less oil" or "find our own oil"?? (kinda makes you go, "hhhhmmmmm".) Why should we lay down and say, "We’ll drive dinky little cars that won’t go faster than 75mph, and can’t fit more than two bags of groceries in em, but we’ll feel good inside cause we’re not supporting a foreign country, and because we "think" that we’re helping the environment." (once again, another topic) :p Sorry, but my drumset won’t fit into an "Insight" (the latest Honda hybrid). Neither will any of the other stuff I have to cart around over the course of my daily life. If I’m gonna make a sacrifice like that, I had better see some REAL, tangible results,.. not just some symbolistic feel-good that I get from standing around holding hands and saying, "I made a difference".

    So I take the opposite approach. You said we should follow the Japanese lead, but what’s more important aboot what the Japanese did? The fact that they don’t buy much from us… OR the fact that they export products to us that are so much better, that we buy them even though we know they don’t like us…?? (once again,… "hhhmmmm…") maybe instead of, "Boycott the Japanese!" (or Saudis or "insert foreign country here") we should be saying, "Make better domestic products!" Then they’ll be looking to us for their daily bread instead of the other way around.


    wow.. sorry that was so long.. 🙂

  • February 4, 2002 at 11:32 am

    Another thing we should be doing is encouraging the development of petroleum resources in the Western Hemisphere. It has been said there’s more petroleum in the western Canadian tar sands than was ever in the Middle East. And even though alot of it isn’t cheap or easy to extract, that which *is* supposedly constitutes a reserve larger than the Saudi Arabian’s.

  • February 4, 2002 at 5:53 pm

    Have you done research on the ACLU? I have a sneaking suspicion they harm more than they help, and in any case, they might do more for their members’ egos than for … say … the rest of us. They enjoy a public halo that I think is undeserved. Just a thought; in case you were still interested in the journalism business at the weblog level.


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