Friday, December 21, 2012

On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs - Dave Grossman

By LTC (RET) Dave Grossman, author of "On Killing." 
Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always,even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for? - William J. Bennett - in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997
One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: 

"Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident." This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another. Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million. 

Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation.

They are sheep. 

I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful.? For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators. 

"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial. 

"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf." 

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed 

Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial, that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools. 

But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of denial. 

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours. 

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa." 

Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog. 

The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough high school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them. This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door. 

Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Remember how many times you heard the word hero? 

Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.
Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference. 

There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population. There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself. 

Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which one they want to be, and I'm proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs. 

Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When he learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons, Todd dropped his phone and uttered the words, "Let's roll," which authorities believe was a signal to the other passengers to confront the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers - athletes, business people and parents. -- from sheep to sheepdogs and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of lives on the ground. 

There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. - Edmund Burke 

Here is the point I like to emphasize, especially to the thousands of police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves. They didn't have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision. 

If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior's path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.
For example, many officers carry their weapons in church.? They are well concealed in ankle holsters, shoulder holsters or inside-the-belt holsters tucked into the small of their backs.? Anytime you go to some form of religious service, there is a very good chance that a police officer in your congregation is carrying. You will never know if there is such an individual in your place of worship, until the wolf appears to massacre you and your loved ones. 

I was training a group of police officers in Texas, and during the break, one officer asked his friend if he carried his weapon in church. The other cop replied, "I will never be caught without my gun in church." I asked why he felt so strongly about this, and he told me about a cop he knew who was at a church massacre in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1999. In that incident, a mentally deranged individual came into the church and opened fire, gunning down fourteen people. He said that officer believed he could have saved every life that day if he had been carrying his gun. His own son was shot, and all he could do was throw himself on the boy's body and wait to die. That cop looked me in the eye and said, "Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself after that?" 

Some individuals would be horrified if they knew this police officer was carrying a weapon in church. They might call him paranoid and would probably scorn him. Yet these same individuals would be enraged and would call for "heads to roll" if they found out that the airbags in their cars were defective, or that the fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers in their kids' school did not work. They can accept the fact that fires and traffic accidents can happen and that there must be safeguards against them. 

Their only response to the wolf, though, is denial, and all too often their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain. But the sheepdog quietly asks himself, "Do you have and idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?" 

It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror when the wolf shows up. 

Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: you didn't bring your gun, you didn't train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by your fear helplessness and horror at your moment of truth. 

Gavin de Becker puts it like this in Fear Less, his superb post-9/11 book, which should be required reading for anyone trying to come to terms with our current world situation: "...denial can be seductive, but it has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think they get by saying it isn't so, the fall they take when faced with new violence is all the more unsettling." 

Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level. 

And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all aspects of his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes. If you are warrior who is legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that the bad man will not come today. No one can be "on" 24/7, for a lifetime. Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself... 


This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most of us live somewhere in between. Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started taking their job more seriously. The degree to which you move up that continuum, away from sheephood and denial, is the degree to which you and your loved ones will survive, physically and psychologically at your moment of truth.

Friday, December 07, 2012


By Penny Alesi

This Saturday is World AIDS Day. In my opinion, a very good reason to publish Jack Idema's death certificate. This should be a painful reminder to everyone that AIDS is fatal, and to practice safe sex. In the United States, even if a person dies of an opportunistic infection as a result of being infected with AIDS, the cause of death typically will not say that. The cause of death will usually be complications due to pneumonia, undisclosed illness, or coronary related. 
Jack Idema decided in his sick, convoluted, twisted mind to take as many people he could with him while he was ill. I am HIV positive because of my stupidity and Idema's selfishness. I really thought I was ready to put all this behind me when Jack Idema died this past January. 
Sadly, this is not so. Recently, I have come upon information that unfortunately, for me and others, is quite tragic. I won't even begin to speculate how many more people this is also a tragedy for. When I told the individuals that I know he infected along with me; their reaction was disbelief, grief, and anger. 
I had always been under the impression that he had acquired HIV/AIDS in Mexico. To say that I am pissed is an understatement. I cannot fathom any reason that anyone could do this. Believe me when I say any precious moments that he & I shared that were good; have all been eradicated because of this new information. I am past mad and past shocked. Just as I thought I had a new start, again I have had the rug pulled out from underneath me. I now know that he had been positive since 2004. 
I can't say it enough to everyone----------use a CONDOM! One indiscretion can cause death. Just as I thought I had a new start, again I have had the rug pulled out from underneath me. He had told several people before he died that he, and members of Task Force Saber 7, were sodomized and beaten repeatedly upon their arrest in Kabul, Afghanistan on July 5, 2004. They were infected with HIV and other STD's at that time. 
The State Department confirms this as well. This is another reason that he turned traitor because he was willing to do anything to stop the torture. His explanation was that no matter what your sexual preference is, when it is against your will it is rape. 
Obviously, I was very troubled by this revelation for many reasons. I had a relationship with this man and he never told me, yet he knew the whole time. As did other individuals, involved with the whole Afghanistan drama, who I shall not name. My fault was not protecting myself in the beginning and believing him. And he was raped and suffered major pain, yet when he raped me and I filed charges that should have been a whole different scenario. It wasn't. 
I did tell everyone to get tested because of the activities that were taking place while I was and wasn't there. So he was HIV positive in 2004, and had a car accident on September 17, 2009, which put his immune system in full blown AIDS. In my mind, the numbers never added up properly and it always bugged me. I wanted answers but now that I have them, well, let's just say be careful of what you wish for. Hopefully, this will prove to everyone that he did, indeed, die of AIDS. The cause of death says Síndrome de inmunodeficiencia adquirida (SI DA), which means AIDS in Spanish. 
 ....Also, now that he has passed and no one is afraid of being sued or killed, people are coming out to relieve their consciences and get rid of their guilt regarding his last few months on earth. It seems that he & his beard, Elaine Roach, as well as some male guests, still were living large with the drugs. So large, that a month before he passed, the drug dealers wanted their money and were sick of waiting on it. Elaine decided to give away the decrepit jeep and a small jet ski boat to the dealers to keep them away till she could escape to Canada. She also sold two of his swords to get money to get a cab and a one way ticket out of Mexico. Elaine Roach bolted from CasaArabi/CasaBlanca on Friday January 6, 2012. 
An anonymous source who helped Elaine get her belongings out, says that she was so disgusted with Jack's lies, that she poured out all the clean water, threw out what little food was left and grabbed a small pouch of coke for the ride to the airport. The next day, Jack hobbled over to a neighbor's house, using a broomstick for a crutch, begging for water. The neighbor gave him some and said he looked like he was about to die right then and there. She said he was talking about how he thought he had swine flu and all he needed was a good antibiotic and he'd be fine. 
Jack was so weak by then and had ADC (AIDS dementia complex). He saw a doctor in Chetumal in early Dec. 2011, who told him that he had little time left and if there was any possible way at all, he should go back to the States to try to get some kind of relief. His answer to the doctor was that he didn't have a cent to his name and if he did, he was not going to risk the journey because he was going to wind up in jail. He gave up his citizenship and there was no free medical care for him because he was never a recognized member of any American armed forces. 
The death certificate says Idema died on Saturday January 21. I don't believe that to be the truth. Sources have told me that by the time the police went to CasaArabi, his body was showing significant decomposition. The odor was overwhelming, his skin was decaying and was a greenish/gray color. His face and body bloated, and the flies were everywhere, with maggots around his track marks. The last time he was seen on Skype was Monday January 16. I called him Friday January 20 and the phone just rang. 
Eyewitnesses tell me he was dead before Saturday January 21. The house was looted while he was dying because he was too weak to stop them. Elaine had also allowed Nina & Tinka to be taken. As I have written before, I spoke with Jack on Tuesday January 10. Obviously, I did not know all I know now. I still would have helped get Nina & Tinka to safety with Elena and David, but I would not have been so kind to him on the phone. No matter how many times I mull it over, I cannot excuse what he did to me and others. He KNEW he was positive but didn't care. He spread this virus to I couldn't even begin to imagine how many men and women. Knowingly and intentionally. And the fact that he was infected years earlier, makes it even more devastating.
How many others were infected in Dubai and England (his 2 stops before Mexico)? And what about those who knew when he was released from Polacharki? How come they never said anything? In my mind, that makes them as guilty as him. The charges that I filed on July 30, 2010, were swept under the carpet. He got away with what he did to me. I said then he was infecting men and women, and no one took it seriously. Well, what about now? Doesn't say a whole lot about my government or the Mexican government. Especially my government who knew he was infected and didn't bother to extradite him here to face charges of what he did to me. 
The Mexican government is just as bad, when you consider the fact that he was in Mexico illegally, dealing drugs and arms, and infecting their people with a bunch of fatal viruses. Did they think he was just not worth the effort or was it that all of us that he infected was not worth the effort? I would love to have someone answer that question for me. Especially now. The death certificate proves it. 
Wonder what the Idema Fan Club groupies think of this. I already know what one of Idema's lawyers think, but I am curious about the others. The real shysters that stuck with Jack through thick and thin until the heat came down on them. 
Anyway, that is all for the next installment, which is the going to be the final one for me. I apologize in advance to anyone who might think this is an irrelevant story. 
Please understand that in this world of reality TV which seems to grab everyone's attention, I feel this is an important reality story that needs to be told. I cannot say it enough------everyone use a condom! AIDS does not discriminate. Homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, transgender, young, old, white, black, hispanic, male, female------------doesn't matter. HIV/AIDS loves everyone! 
One indiscretion can kill you. Perhaps, I can help someone not get this virus. I can't begin to ever tell anyone what this disease does to you. Medically, of course, but other areas in your life you can never get back. There is no remission, only a complete change of life. How it affects everyone close to you, and how the stigma that is attached never goes away.

This was the boat that Elaine gave to drug dealers in exchange for money owed while Jack lay dying

August 2011 CasaArabi