They Were Heroes . . . Claus Von Stauffenberg

TWH Blog

His name was Claus Von Stauffenberg—and he became a hero for the ages.

Not too bad for a man executed by firing squad for the crime of High Treason.

But then not many men stood up to one of the mightiest and bloodiest war machines in history.

Not to mention the most infamous war-criminal and madman of all time.

Stauffenberg has been portrayed in film many times, beginning as early as 1951 in The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel, to the much more recent and excellent Valkyrie (2008) starring Tom Cruise, in one of his better roles. His physical resemblance to Von Stauffenberg alone, is stunning.

Actor Tom Cruise, in Valkyrie (2008)
Actor Tom Cruise, in Valkyrie (2008)

Born in 1907, an aristocrat and a devote Roman Catholic, Von Stauffenberg quickly rose to the rank of Colonel in the German Army.

He was a good man. An Officer of the highest possible morals and ethics, he quickly became disillusioned upon seeing the sort of madmen and monsters that came to power in the days and reign of Hitler.

And even more so when he learned of “The Final Solution,” Hitler’s plan to exterminate the entirety of European Jewry.

Von Stauffenberg, on left.
Von Stauffenberg, on left.

Even though partially blind and maimed in the war, by the summer of 1944, he decided to act. Forced into action earlier than he would have liked because of the ever increasing slaughter, his chances of success were compromised.

He wouldn’t wait for a better time though—too many lives were at stake.

The weapon was an explosive filled brief-case, carefully placed near Hitler at a staff meeting in the Wolf’s Lair.

At the end of the day, Von Stauffenberg came within an inch of pulling it off and killing the greatest monster of all time, and perhaps saving millions of lives in the process.

The attempt became known as the 20 July plot.

The conference room after the  explosion.
The conference room after the explosion.

Only a table leg made of solid oak saved the life of the madman, and cost Von Stauffenberg his. He did not die alone.

 

Von Stauffenberg and several of his co-conspirators were killed by firing squad the next day, July 21, 1944.

Von Stauffenberg’s last words were—“Long live our sacred Germany!”

 

 

The execution site today.
The execution site today.

Execution site (2)

Hitler used the July 20th attempt on his life as an excuse to expunge the Army of “traitors.” Eventually, over 20,000 Germans were killed or sent to concentration camps in the purge—thus further decimating the German ranks.

So at least indirectly, Von Stauffenberg’s heroic attempt shortened the war.

Today, outside of history books, all references to Adolf Hitler are obliterated and erased.

Von Stauffenberg?—well, he became a national hero. Statues of him dot the Germany of today. Streets and plazas are named for him. And his place of execution—a shrine.

Thus it always is with heroes.

A coward dies a thousand deaths—a brave man dies but one. With Von Stauffenberg—perhaps not even that one. He seems to be as alive today in the hearts of his countrymen, and good people the world over, as he was in those oh, so darks days of the Reich.

We could use a whole lot more men like Von Stauffenberg today.

God grant that we might find them.

And God grant that good man a place with the Angels.

Execution site memorial.
Execution site memorial.

 

Thanks for reading. See you back in a few days with another installment of The Reckoning.

Until then . . . Goodnight.

Let All The Evil In The World Try To Defeat This . . .

On June 6, 1944, the greatest military force the world has ever seen hit the beaches of Normandy, France.

Its mission was no small one–simply to save the Earth, from the greatest evil ever conjured by Satan himself–the Third Reich and the German Nazis.

We won the battle of course, and ultimately, the war. Good always prevails over evil in the end. But the human cost of such victories are staggering.

And so it ever shall be.

When conflicts end, the dogs of war are recalled to home. Gods and Generals are not much needed in times of peace, and how soon we all forget.

But evil never stays away for long.

Hitler died, right along with his “thousand-year” Reich. But he didn’t go away. Evil never does. It only changes form. And so it is with the evil that was the Nazis.

They are back.

This time they wear a different face, have another demonic creed, and perhaps even a different religion. But make no mistake, at the core–it’s all just exactly the same.

Storm clouds are gathering once again on the horizon of history.

Mordor is gaining strength.

The men and women of the greatest generation are gone today. Gone to cemeteries the world over. Some lie in battlefield graveyards scattered to the ends of the earth. The broken and shattered bones of young men, killed in countless conflicts the world over, in defense of freedom and civilized values.

Others, at home, the bones of tired old men, the veterans of battles nearly beyond number.

But they are gone–and who will take their place?

Who will save us from this new evil.

For the longest time, I believed we were doomed. That they would be no one to pick up the banner of freedom and battle the oncoming relentless hordes of Orcs and Death-Eaters.

I thought all the heroes were dead.

And then I found this video.

I was amazed–and heartened. If there was  just one eleven-year old boy that cared enough, that retained some of the values of that bygone era and generation . . .

That remembered the old things.

And the old ways.

Then perhaps there were more. Perhaps they were not all gone. Maybe, just maybe, there were still heroes in the world. Perhaps freedom and decency still stood a chance.

Perhaps Gondor would not, and will not, fall after all.

Watch the video. Listen to the moving Hymn to the Fallen. Remember those dear and true hearts from the past that brought us all through hell–and saved us from damnation.

And ponder the dear hearts still to come. The ones that have, and will commit their lives to service to their Country. The ones that freely bleed, and freely die to keep us safe, free, and the world from once again falling into the gathering darkness.

Remember our Veterans this weekend.

And remember the ones that serve each and every day.

They gave us, and they give us–no less than the air that we breath.

The air of Freedom–and of Free men and Free women.

And one eleven-year old boy, on a beach, with a flag, and a salute, facing a world going insane–again.

Facing evil.

And all the evil in the world . . . Well, it just doesn’t stand a chance.

 

Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day Weekend.

Catch you again in a few days.

 

A Guest Blog by Author Avery K. Tingle

Avery K. Tingle is a nationally known author of Fantasy and Romantic Sci-fi.  He is a gentleman of African-American descent and lives in Washington State.

 

Avery Tingle
Avery Tingle

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Monday, May 11, 2015

An Open Letter To Law Enforcement         by Avery Tingle

A few weeks ago, I was eating with my family when a number of officers entered the restaurant. I immediately became apprehensive. Two of the officers locked eye contact with me and lingered for longer than a few seconds. I physically tensed and braced myself for a confrontation. Blessedly, I nodded at them, they nodded at me, and that was the end of our brief, tense encounter. My fiance said that I was so tense that she was afraid a confrontation would break out. I argued that I tensed because the officers sized me up, but that didn’t matter. I shouldn’t have been ready for a confrontation. They should not have sized me up. But the truth is, I do not feel safe in the presence of law enforcement. I do not trust most law enforcement.

Which is very sad to say, because I have known some incredibly decent police officers in my time. I’ve known two went far out of their way for me, bending the law to cut me a break. So I know that all police officers are not bad. I’ve also had a police officer threaten to kill me on one occasion if I ever returned to his town again. I’ve also been physically assaulted by police officers when I had my hands in the air and was surrendering. I also know that this isn’t limited to color.

My fiance, a white woman who stands at less than five feet five inches tall with her hands above her head, was pulled over a few months ago for an issue with her plate. The officer verbally accosted her to the point of tears.

The plain truth is this; as a person of color, in this day and age,  I am afraid–terrified, actually–that I will one day be stopped by a police officer. I will comply with the officer’s every command. And it won’t make a difference. I am also worried that eventually, citizens will no longer tolerate being executed by police, and a good officer, one who takes the oath seriously and does their best to enforce the law and go home to their family every day, will pay the price. The consequences for that will be marked as a failure in future history books.

Update: Officer Brian Moore, a twenty-five-year old New York City Police Officer, was shot in the head on May 3. 2015 and died of his injuries the following day. His accused murderer, Demetrius Blackwell, was apparently unprovoked in his supposed actions. Demetrius Blackwell is a black man. 

I don’t know when or why the system became so fundamentally broken, but I implore you to see and realize that things need to change. Either stricter psychological screening, more thorough background checks, or something, but something, somewhere needs to change. So as a private citizen, I make the following promise to all members of law enforcement;

  1. If you see fit to stop me, I will comply with all instructions given in a polite and professional manner.
  2. I will reveal up front if I’m carrying any weapons on my person or in my vehicle (Note: I never carry guns).
  3. I will remain polite and professional even if I disagree with your actions.
  4. I will remain polite and professional and hope you give me the same courtesy.

Just like most good officers, I pray that a traffic stop does not result in my death. Thank you for the service you provide. Thank you for reading.

 

Visit Mr. Tingle’s blog, The Road Home,  at:

 

See more at: http://averyktingle.blogspot.com/2015/05/an-open-letter-to-law-enforcement.html#sthash.0KSBe8h4.dpuf

Blogging . . . and The First Amendment

Ban FS

 

No apology

Honestly, I would have thought the world would have had it all figured out by now. I thought civilized society would eventually become nearly perfect. At least that what I might have said half a century ago, back in the mists of time. Back when I was just a kid, still in school. I thought we were on the right track. After all, America, along with the rest of the western civilized world had just defeated the Nazis, and Hitler’s German war machine. The Korean conflict was over, settled largely in favor of the good-guys. Sure there was the little problem of the nuclear arms race, the Soviet Union, the Cold War, the Berlin Wall, and our increasing involvement in Vietnam—but that was just pretty much details.

We still felt good about ourselves. Self-doubt and self-loathing weren’t staple items on the menu back in those halcyon days. We hadn’t lost our way yet. Nobody back then had a clue what “political correctness” might be. American was still the Industrial giant of the world. We were still the chief “stuff”exporter, and the monetary lender, to the rest of the globe. The national debt was small. American schools and colleges were the finest on the planet, and all, or our most of all our most cherished freedoms, the ones endowed to us by God, and guaranteed to us by the Constitution, were alive and well, and in undisputed full-force. Chief among them was old number one. The first amendment. The freedom of speech amendment.

But they were all just taken for granted . . . and therein may have lay the problem.

Freedom isn’t free—and liberties don’t last—unless they are well nurtured, maintained, and fought for . . . vigorously.

images0RX4SM2K

The first decade and a half of the twenty-first century have amply demonstrated that fact. And this year—2015—in particular.

America has always been a welcoming society. After all, we have always been a nation of immigrants. Imported labor built this country. We opened our doors, our borders, and our hearts to the rest of the world. In this American uniqueness was our strength, and in it may have sprouted the seeds of our eventual destruction.

For truth be told, there are an awful lot of immigrants to these shores today, that are coming for a whole lot different purpose than our ancestors. We pretty much understood the millions that passed through Ellis Island. There were here to partake of that uniquely American Dream. A job. A home. A family. A faith. A future. They couldn’t wait to get here—and become a part of what we were. The greatest, and freest society that the world has ever seen.

And they were escaping religious persecution. Our ancestors were tired of being told what to believe. Here, in American, a person was free to choose what he wanted to believe in. Or, he could choose to believe in nothing at all.

Fast forward a couple of centuries, and we find the situation reversed. Now we have religious extremists coming to America that demand we accommodate them. That we adopt their laws, eat (or not eat) their foods, and worst of all, believe what they believe.

These are a volatile people, with little or no impulse control. These new immigrants are more than happy to kill those who believe and act differently. And most frightening of all—they are ready to kill (and have) those who speak out against them.

FS Zone

Just this year, the civilized world was saddened by the attacks on the editorial offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Twelve bloody corpses were left behind when these enemies of freedom finished their rampage. More innocents would die before they would be stopped by the French police.

Only one week ago, a satirical cartooning event held in Garland, Texas was attacked by fanatics. Fortunately, the only fatalities there were the two gunmen. Such good fortune cannot be expected to continue.

There will be blood—for this is quickly becoming a war–for the heart and soul of the planet, no less.

Americans are a unique people. Slow to anger, they are a force to be reckoned with when finally agitated beyond a certain point. The results of two bloody world wars will attest to that fact.

Americans will not live in fear like sheep. They will fight, and die if necessary, like lions. And in the end, they will probably prevail. Throughout our history, that has generally been the result.

Any American that chooses to not be intimidated, and who continues to exercise their free speech rights, can be expected to be at risk. As we noted, freedom in not free. Its cost is usually paid in blood.

And sometimes in very large quantities.

Blogs—and by extension, bloggers, are naturally at risk. Perhaps it is a smaller risk than that assumed by print writers and media spokesmen, with storefronts, shingles, studios, and office space. But it is nonetheless present. In this digital age, it is probably not terribly difficult to find names and addresses for determined killers.

guiltyofblogging

So we feel, here at Apropos of Nothing, that the time has come to formally address the issue and establish policy.

The policy is extremely simple, and it is this: We support the First Amendment to The Constitution of The United States of America—100%. And we support it 100% of the time. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year . . . you get the idea. Threats, intimidation, and even violent action will not change that policy in the least amount.

For those who would oppose free speech, we would suggest either respectfully agreeing to disagree—or moving to another part of the globe where such freedoms are not cherished, as they are here.

Apropos of Nothing will defend this editorial policy with every tool at its disposal.

Indeed, we will defend it with our lives.

We further affirm that while it is our policy to not intentionally dishonor or disrespect anyone, we will absolutely and without hesitation tell the total and complete truth as we see it, without consideration to any person’s or any group’s feelings on the subject.

Truth

We do, and we will, as in the (paraphrased) everlasting words of Voltaire—Defend to the death, the right of individuals to express free speech, even if we find such speech to be personally distasteful. This includes the spoken and written word, as well as any and all photographic and/or drawn images, without exception.

It is somewhat painful to have to speak of such things here in America in the twenty-first century. But America, and indeed the World, particularly in the west, are seeing once again the drawing of very dark clouds on the horizon. Dark clouds the like of which haven’t been seen since the days of the holocaust, the days of the Reich, and the days of the earth engulfed in flames of death and war.

Let us be strong. Let us be fearless. Let us be resolute.

And let us live free. And if, in the end, our lives be forfeit in defense of Liberty and Freedom . . .

Then so be it.

Voltaire

Please join us in a few days for another installment of Lee Capp’s The Reckoning.

It will, I assure you, be lighter and more fun than this blog post.

In the meantime, take care. Revel in your Faith and Families. Hug the ones you love.

Hug them good and tight—and hang on.

The Reckoning: Chapter Two – Concluded.

 

Reckoning

Picking up again .  .  . 

Stopping about thirty feet from the front door and turning off the ignition, Brick sat behind the wheel, and waited patiently for his five passengers to appear.

As he waited, Brick reverted to an old habit, often used to relieve stress. He whistled softly, almost under his breath.

The tune was Careless Love.

When the two robbers exited the bank building about two minutes later, the first thing that Brick noticed was that they seemed to be a lot smaller than he would have expected—shielding themselves behind their female hostages as they were.

So much death—from such small men.

Watching them make their way across the lot, a slow and faint smile crossed Brick’s face.

With a sigh, Brick pulled the secured pistol from under the dash and carefully removed the tape from the grip, tossing it to the floor in a ball. Then he swung the cruiser door slowly open, and unwinding his large frame from the driver’s seat, carefully exited the vehicle, the sixteen-shot Beretta 9mm casually dangling by his right side as he stood and faced the slowly advancing men.

The robber on Brick’s left, seemingly the older of the two, pulled-up short—his heartrate quickening as he saw the large pistol in the hand of the police officer. His eyes widened in surprise at the sudden turn of events.

His partner took several more steps before he too stopped—pulling his hostage up tight against his body—and pushing the barrel of his pistol hard into the side of the woman’s head. The muscles of his forearm bulged as he death-gripped his handgun. His hostage stiffened her body in fear—her eyes wild in fright.

Brick was the first to speak—his tone even and controlled—no hint of a smile crossed his face.

“Put your guns carefully on the ground boys. We don’t want them going off accidentally by dropping them. Then let the ladies go, and step back three paces. You do that, and I give you my word that you’ll live to see the inside of a prison cell. Disobey me, and you die right here in the parking lot.”

“Are you out of your mind, you son-of-a-bitch?” the older of the two asked.

“Most of the time—yes. But not today. Do as I say.”

“Why should we do as you say, asshole?”

Brick’s own forearm grew slightly larger as his grip tightened on the Beretta.

“Because I don’t like to hurt people.”

Brick would always recall the next few moments as happening in the slow-motion cadence of a nightmare. Every sound was blocked from his ears, as his vision funneled down to a narrow tunnel—focused solely and directly on the robber just to his right. That man had seemed the more nervous—and the more desperate. He had to be taken out first, as his hostage was the woman holding the baby.

Brick’s arm came up quickly—although it seems to take forever. He could see the robber’s mouth form a word as the man shouted to his partner—but he could not hear any sound. It was like watching a movie with the audio turned off, he mused, as his arm continued its upward arc. The robber clutched his victim even harder and closer to his body—only one eye peeked out from behind the woman’s head.

Brick focused on that one eye. His sight bore into it. Not for a split second did his vision waver from his target as his pistol attained the apex of its arc. His finger tightened, increasing the pressure on the trigger.

Brick was surprised when the gun went off.

He was less surprised when the robber fell dead on the concrete, his left eye-ball neatly blown out the back of his head, along with several ounces of brain-matter and small bone fragments. The woman hostage screamed once and then fell to the ground next to the dead man—merely fainting—her and her child physically unhurt in any way.

Brick had never looked at the pistol’s sight, or indeed his own arm as he fired.

He felt a slight tug on his tee-shirt as a bullet passed through the loose material on the left side, just above his waist-line. Robber number two, witnessing the sudden death of his partner, was now in full panic mode, and fired at Brick blindly from behind his hostage. He shot his pistol three more times—striking the pavement twice, and Brick only once—the bullet creasing Brick’s left thigh about three inches above the knee—barely deeply enough to draw blood.

Brick again calmly raised his pistol and sighted down his arm, aiming his gun exactly between the second hostage’s eyes. Then he looked the woman directly in the eyes as he jerked his own head one time toward the right. Nearly instantly the hostage did the same, opening up for a split second a clear shot at the robber. Brick’s pistol barked again, and a nano-second later the second robber was also cascading to the pavement as a bullet entered the front of his forehead just below the hairline, and exited the back of his head, making a pinging sound as it continued on its way and struck the side of the brick bank building. Like his partner, he spewed brain matter and blood in a large fan-shape. Also like his partner, he was dead as he hit the ground.

The second hostage remained on her feet as the killer’s legs twitched out his final attempt at movement—and then he lay still.

Cops seemed to appear from everywhere—rushing to the aid of the woman and her baby. One hurried to Brick’s side and asked him if he were alright.

“I’m fine,” Brick answered. “Take care of the woman and her child.”

His eyes locked with the remaining hostage as she slowly made her way toward him. She was a young Native-American woman. Slim and beautiful, she wore faded jeans and a white blouse. A nod to her heritage, she sported a turquoise and silver neckless around her neck. Well-worn boot-heels clicked on the concrete as she walked toward Brick. Her dark eyes bore into his.

“Nice shooting, cowboy.”

“I thought you were never going to get out of the way,” Brick replied with a grin.

“Sorry. This was my first hostage situation this week. I kind of had to stop and think about it for a while.”

“What were you doing at the bank anyhow? Everybody else in town is home watching the news today.”

“Well, silly me. I wanted to buy my best guy a birthday present, so I stopped off to get some money.”

“My birthday isn’t until next week.”

“So I wanted to shop around a little.”

“When are you going to move in with me anyhow? Then I’ll have a better idea where the heck you are.”

“Well Brick—that’s just exactly the reason I haven’t. I’m not sure I want anyone keeping tabs on me.”

“Rosey, that’s not what I meant—and you know it. Sometimes I get the feeling you don’t completely trust me.”

“I don’t completely trust any man—they’re not honest.”

“Honestly woman—you going to kiss me, or what?”

She did.

Wiggins made his way through the crowd.

“Doesn’t anyone ever listen to me? What the hell happened to the plan?”

“The best-laid plans, of mice and men,” Brick misquoted—“are meant to be changed every now and again.”

Wiggins glowered at Brick. “What the hell’s that supposed to mean?”

“When I saw Rosie was one of the hostages, I knew she’d give me a clear shot.”

“You know this person?

“Yeah.”

“Yeah? What about the other guy?”

“Lucky shot,” Brick replied. “It would have had to been lucky inside the car too.”

“You lucked out—right? Am I to understand that’s your explanation for what I saw here today?”

Brick shook his head affirmatively. “Two head-shots with two rounds, and I threaded the needle with both. It just doesn’t get any better than that.”

Wiggins took a step back. “I’ve known you a while Brick. Long enough to speak my mind to you. You’re a cocky bastard. I don’t much like cocky bastards. People die around cocky bastards. I like my officers to follow my orders. You could have gotten three people killed here today. It’s only by the grace of God that there isn’t an innocent on the ground dead right now. You got away with it today. Maybe you won’t tomorrow—or next week.”

“You saying you want my resignation, Chief?”

“No. You’re too damned good. I want you to start following my orders.”

“Got it Chief. Anything else?”

“Yeah. Put your pants back on, and get over to the clinic. I want you to have that leg of yours looked at.”

“It’s just a scratch.”

“I’ll decide what’s a major or minor injury—if you don’t mind very much. Now get your ass going.” Brick did as he was told and began moving toward the squad-car.

“Oh—and Brick . . . “

“Yeah Chief?”

“Thanks.”

“Welcome.”

As Wiggins turned to head back to the bakery, the wailing sound of a siren came to their ears. Wiggins stopped to listen. Brick joined him. “Guess someone didn’t get the message. No one here requiring an ambulance.”

“Something’s wrong,” Wiggins replied. “No one called for an ambulance.”

The pitch of the sound changed abruptly as the approaching emergency vehicle made a sharp turn several block from the bank, and skidded to a stop just off a side-street.

The siren stopped.

“What’s up there?” Brick asked.

“I don’t know,” Wiggins answered. “But I don’t like the looks of this. I don’t like the looks of this at all.”

 

To be continued .  .  .

 

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Next up:  Chapter Three