Bump the Bump Fire Bill!

We knew it was coming. It was inevitable. The same old calls for additional gun control would be made. I get it. I hope to never turn on the news and see another story like Las Vegas. I understand the urge to “do something”. But that something needs to actually accomplish the goal, not serve as a means to another end. Doing “something” should include knowledge, thought, logic, and an understanding of how it will affect the citizens of this country. Once it became known the Las Vegas shooter had used “assault rifles” modified by something called a “bump fire stock”, the focus shifted and the knees began to jerk. Now, the usual suspects are yelling for them to be outlawed. Unfortunately, the usual suspects have allies on the other side of the aisle this time.

Before October 1, very few people had ever heard of a bump fire stock, much less knew what it does. This is probably because few people own them and one had never been used in commission of a crime until that day. I was aware of them, but I’m a gun guy. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with them, a bump fire stock is an accessory which replaces the regular stock and pistol grip on a semi-automatic rifle, such as an AR-15 or AK-47. The stock simply facilitates the bump fire technique, where the shooter pushes the rifle with the support hand while pulling with the shooting hand. After the first shot, the shooter leaves the finger lightly on the trigger, and uses the recoil impulse to “bump” the trigger, firing the gun again. This allows for a semi-automatic rifle to be fired more rapidly than normal. If used properly, a rate of fire similar to that of an automatic rifle can be achieved.

The NRA took the lead by calling for the BATFE to review the status of bump fire stocks and similar devices. This same agency approved the sale of them only a few years ago. It is the purview of the BATFE to classify items like bump fire stocks in terms of the National Firearms Act and the Gun Control Act. Their determination in 2010 was that bump fire stocks were accessories, not firearms as defined by either act. Therefore, they are legal for purchase without a background check or paying a tax. The wisdom of this decision is certainly debatable. In my opinion, they are good for little but burning through ammunition more quickly than usual. I have no problem with burning through ammunition quickly, but I’m not looking for a contrivance to make it easier!

Rather than allow the BATFE to review their decision, members of Congress have decided to introduce legislation to ban bump fire stocks and similar devices. In the House, Representatives Carlos Curbelo (R) of Florida and Seth Moulton (D) of Massachusetts introduced the so-called “Bump Fire Bill” (HR 3999), while (not surprisingly) Senator Diane I-don’t-know-a-damn-thing-about-guns-but-I-want-them-banned Feinstein introduced the companion “Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act” (S.1916) in the Senate. The important language in each bill is nearly identical, although the Senate bill does actually mention bump fire devices while the House version does not. Here is the meat of the House bill:

“…to manufacture, possess, or transfer any part or combination of parts that is designed and functions to increase the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle but does not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun…”

Seems innocuous enough, until you start asking yourself, “what does it mean?”. How legislation effects us lowly worker bees is largely dependent on how the law is interpreted. I submit to you this bill is open to some very dangerous interpretations.  Let’s look at it more closely.

“…to manufacture, possess, or transfer…”  I’ll start here. The key word in this sentence is “possess”.  If these bills pass, it will be illegal for you to possess one of these items. The Senate version allows for the newly created criminals to turn them in within 180 days. What if someone decides not to hand theirs over? Are the police going to be allowed to go into the homes of people suspected of being in possession of such a device and search for it? I doubt it. So, exactly how will this be enforceable? What is the point of an unenforceable law? What will lawmakers do when no one gives up their legally-purchased property? Not much, would be my guess.

“…any part or combination of parts that is designed and functions to increase the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle…”  Now we come to one of the real problems with this bill. This is where it becomes obvious the authors know nothing about what they’re trying to legislate.  First of all, notice the term “bump fire” appears nowhere in this bill. The Senate version does actually use it, but not the House version. Bump Fire Bill.  Right. I understand the language is intentionally vague, and vague laws are dangerous.

Time for a quiz. What is the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle? Anybody? You don’t know because it varies depending on the rifle, its state of repair, the ammunition, the caliber, the shooter, the weather, etc.  There is no industry standard for semiautomatic rate of fire. It is a statistic which does not exist. How, then, do we define an increase in the rate of fire? If you put an aftermarket trigger in your rifle, you will probably be able to shoot it faster. I installed the excellent Apex trigger in my competition pistol, which is semiautomatic. I assure you, it increased the rate of fire of my pistol! Will it and similar aftermarket parts become illegal? To make my point crystal clear, take a few minutes and watch these videos of world-record shooter Jerry Miculek shooting an AR15 against a bump fire-equipped AR, a Tavor, and a .50 caliber Barrett. All are semiautomatic, even though you wouldn’t know it from these videos. Will Jerry’s trigger finger be illegal?

This bill was obviously written in haste (we have to do SOMETHING!) with very little thought. It was written by people with no technical knowledge and little understanding of the issues at hand, leaving far too much room for interpretation. I suspect, however, the Senate version is exactly what Feinstein wants. I have no doubt she sees this as an opening. If this were to pass, it would not be long before someone decided aftermarket triggers, which make it easier to shoot accurately by lightening the pull weight, “increased the rate of fire” and made them illegal. Then it would be compensators. They help manage recoil, which “increases the rate of fire”. Then someone would come up with an arbitrary rate of fire and any semiautomatic rifle capable of firing faster than that would be banned. It is indeed a slippery slope, the kind of thing for which the gun ban crowd has been waiting. Let’s not make it this easy for them. I doubt either of these will make it out of committee. Neither should. I urge you to contact your elected officials and tell them to bump the bump fire bills.

Arguing About Things You Do Not Understand

The horrific events in Las Vegas this past week have us, as a nation, wondering why and how we can stop evil this deep. What can be done to stop this madness? Are we safe? How can we ensure our safety at public events? The answers to these questions are incredibly complex as they deal with human behavior. We are complicated creatures, to be sure. This particular evil-doer does not fit the typical profile in any way. What causes a retired accountant with no apparent financial issues, no criminal history or history of mental illness to attack a concert full of innocent people? I doubt we’ll ever know. How can we predict who will commit this sort of crime? I don’t know if we can.

What is predictable, however, is the reaction from the gun control crowd. The blood wasn’t dry before social media and the airwaves were filled with shrill cries for more gun control. It continues to amaze me when people are calling for drastic action in reaction to an event when almost nothing is known about what actually happened. They don’t stop to ask the most basic questions: who? what? where? when? why? Of course, the answers to those questions don’t really matter. They know what they’re going to say before it even happens. Remember, this is the “never let a tragedy go to waste” crowd.

The interactions that I’ve seen and participated in this week show a remarkable level of ignorance among those most strident for new gun regulations. My intention when I started this post was to list the more common statements which are factually incorrect and clearly demonstrate, using facts and statistics, how they were incorrect. But what good would it do? The people who are most ignorant of how guns work, what the laws actually say, how guns are purchased, which guns are used in crimes most often, and who is using them, would not read this post. They believe there is an “epidemic of mass shootings” and “this type of thing doesn’t happen in the more civilized European countries. They have chosen to believe what they’re told by the media and the leftist leaders who champion their cause. They are willfully ignorant, the most dangerous kind of ignorance. Their arguments are based solely on emotional response, the need to DO SOMETHING which I’ve often mentioned.

I have yet to see any of these folks offer a realistic solution which would actually DO SOMETHING. I asked one person directly what new laws would stop an event like what happened in Las Vegas. Her response was to end sales of accessories which enable a semi-automatic weapon to fire at an automatic rate and to increase funding for mental health. I really don’t have an issue with either idea, but even she conceded neither was likely to prevent it. What they really want is for the government to determine what weapons who should be allowed to own. They want the government to know exactly who owns what weapon. There’s only one reason for that. Even though most of them lack the courage to admit it, they really don’t want anyone to own any firearms, period. They are perfectly willing to accept the loss of freedom for the illusion of security. When faced with this argument, I always point out the number of firearms owned by US citizens right now. Are they willing to have the police or military go into private homes to confiscate those weapons? So far, I haven’t had anyone admit they’re willing to let it go that far, but its just a matter of time.

I understand the emotional response to a tragedy like this. I know it upsets me, as a husband and father as much as a gun owner, and I’d hate to meet anyone who wasn’t upset by it. I understand having an opinion about things you don’t completely understand. We all do. But if you’re going to argue about something, you’d have a better response if you were knowledgeable about the subject. The voting public has clearly rejected their argument, mostly because it has no basis in fact. I, for one, am not willing to trade my freedom for a false sense of security, knowing it will do nothing to curb violent crime. They can deny the statistics all they want, it doesn’t change the fact armed citizens are less likely to be the victims of violent crime.

The problem lies with the human heart. How do we determine who has that level of hate in their heart? How do we control what goes on in the human brain? How can we look at a person and decide they’re dangerous? Maybe there are signs we don’t yet know. We should certainly work toward identifying what those signs might be. But how do you do it without violating civil liberties or the inalienable rights of millions who commit no crime? That’s the hard part, and so far no one has an answer.

Unanswered Questions

The stone is like the thousands of others around it. It is plain, white marble with a rounded top, the standard issue for the Veterans Administration in national cemeteries. It is flanked by the markers of soldiers that served in World War II and Vietnam in the old part of the Florence National Cemetery. While the others include the name, rank, branch of service, birth, and death dates, this one has only one word: “Unknown”. I can’t think of anything more sad to see on a headstone. No one knows who lies there. I find that very troubling. I’ve been to this cemetery dozens of times, and I’ve visited several other national cemeteries. They are melancholy places, but that one word bothers me. Unknown.


In 2006, I directed the archaeological excavations for the expansion of the Florence National Cemetery. The expansion area was north of the Florence Stockade, a Confederate prisoner of war camp in use from late 1864 until early 1865. Florence is the lesser known twin of Andersonville, the most notorious prison facility of the Civil War. As Sherman’s army swept through Georgia in 1864, Confederate leaders knew the prisoners held at Andersonville had to be moved to a more secure area. Florence was chosen as one place to send prisoners based on the junction of three railroads. The first group of prisoners arrived in September of 1864 before the stockade was even finished.

Once the stockade was completed, the prisoners entered a wasteland surrounded by vertical logs. No provisions for shelter had been made, which left the prisoners to create whatever shelter they could by digging into the ground and using scatter pine boughs and branches, along with blankets or shelter halves if they were lucky enough to still have such things. Pye Branch bisected the stockade, providing drinking water on one end and latrines on the other. Rations were extremely thin, consisting usually of uncooked corn meal and beans. Meat was almost never available and fresh vegetables were basically absent. All of this, combined with a lack of medical support, resulted in the deaths of about 2,300 prisoners by March of 1865 when the stockade was abandoned.

The stockade was guarded by a small group of regular Confederate soldiers supported by South Carolina reservists. The area where we worked in 2006 was the western end of the camp of part of the guard force, probably the 5th Georgia. For an archaeologist, this project was incredible, as we located numerous features and recovered thousands of artifacts. Between the material culture and the in-depth historical research, we made a significant contribution to the historical knowledge of the stockade and those who guarded it.

One of the features which drew our interest had been partially exposed during previous archaeological testing at the site. A backhoe trench revealed the lower portion of a single human burial. As we prepared to conduct the larger excavations, this caused some concern.  The historical record indicates that initially, the dead from the stockade were buried in a pit somewhere outside the walls. This pit was said to contain over 400 individuals when burials began in the trenches which spawned the national cemetery. We were concerned the single burial was a sign of a much larger problem.

Our excavations revealed this individual had been buried alone in the bottom of a hut. The Confederate guard had access to timber and other building materials, so some lived in small, semi-subterranean huts. Somehow, this individual had been buried in the floor of one of these huts. The excavation of the remains was conducted by a specialist from the University of Tennessee, who carefully documented the position of each skeletal element and any associated artifacts. Sadly, activities on the property prior to the archaeology destroyed the entire skull. We were able to find two fragments of the cranium many meters away in the backdirt pile.  Several buttons were recovered in association with the remains, which indicated that the person was wearing a jacket, possibly military issue. A few pieces of buckshot and a single larger caliber shot were found around the remains. There was no sign of trauma to the bones, so it appears that the shot was there either incidentally or as a complete buck and ball round.

Analysis of the remains provided a lot of information in spite of the loss of the skull. The individual was most likely a young male, aged between 20 and 35 years. He was likely white, although skeletal metrics fell within those of African ancestry as well. He was tall for the time at almost 5′ 11″, with no obvious skeletal abnormalities or disease. Isotopic analysis revealed that his diet consisted of corn products, corn-fed meats, sorghum, and possibly marine foods. This placed his place of residency as the Gulf or Atlantic coasts, which could include South Carolina.

All of this data was great, but what did it really tell us? A young, white male found in the camp strongly suggests that he was a soldier. But this is about all we know. Who was he? Why was he there? How did he come to be buried in that hut and forgotten? Was he sick near the end of the stockade’s occupancy and died, then buried quickly as the guards pulled out of camp? Was he a Confederate soldier trying to get home after the war who took shelter in that hut and never made it out? We don’t know the answer to any of these questions and likely never will. I’ve spent many hours thinking through all of this and I’m no closer to an explanation now than I was in 2006.

After our work was complete, the individual was reburied in the Florence National Cemetery with full military honors. He was interred in a coffin produced for the crew of the CSS Hunley under the careful watch of honor guards representing both Union and Confederate troops. A headstone and a plot were provided for him by the Veterans Administration. It is marked simply “Unknown”. I feel good that I and my colleagues did everything we could to identify him. But it bothers me that we can’t give him a name. He left his family at some point, probably to serve his country. They likely never knew what happened to him. His ancestors have no idea where he is or how he came to be there. That’s terrible and so very sad. Every time I’m in Florence, I stop and pay my respects. I may be the only person who does. It reminds me of the sacrifice made by everyone interred in that sacred space. And it reminds me of all the unanswered questions.

If you have any interest in reading about the work we conducted at Florence, the full technical report is available here. Since 2006, I’ve directed the first professional archaeological research inside the Florence Stockade and the complete mapping of the remains of the Florence Stockade, which are quite impressive! The Friends of the Florence Stockade have worked tirelessly to maintain and interpret the remaining earthworks. If you find yourself headed to Myrtle Beach or down I-95, take a few minutes and stop in Florence to see the stockade.  It’s worth it!


First Amendment Foolishness

The completely ridiculous attention paid to recent behavior exhibited by some NFL players has touched a nerve of mine. First of all, I am not addressing the players, their actions, nor their motivations; that has been more than amply discussed by many, and rather eloquently by both my co-conspirator Paul and our guest contributor Robert Kirby. Both of whom, I might add, have expressed feelings very similar to my own, and likely in a far more civilized fashion than I would have. What I am concerned about is the continued defense of these particular controversial actions by proclaiming them to be an issue of First Amendment rights. To those who hold that opinion, especially those who do so with an upturned nose and haughty air of condescension, I have two words:

You’re wrong.

In all honesty, that’s my sanitized response. What I’m actually thinking while you wax verbose from the pedestal you placed yourself upon is more like this:

(insert your favorite personally-insulting adjective here), please…

…followed by an eye-roll, of course. Why, you ask? Because it is contributing the the Constitutional illiteracy which in my opinion plagues our nation to a frightening degree. Here is the full text of the amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,

and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”

Let’s go back to the function the Bill of Rights. If you didn’t know this, know it now – the Bill of Rights does not, I repeat, does NOT list rights given to the citizens of the United States by the government. It recognizes rights our Founders felt were inherently held by the people, and specifically limits the federal government from violating them. There’s a huge difference between the two. The Bill of Rights exists to limit government power, not give the people power. One cannot give what one does not have, correct? To paraphrase, the entire document is essentially saying “…you have these rights, you’ve always had these rights, they are not ours to give, but yours, given to you by God, and we’re formally documenting this for all time in order to specifically limit the power of the government”.

Now, please return to the the text of the amendment and read the first five words again. Once again, even – read the first five words. Let them sink in.

“Congress shall make no law…”

Who does this limit? Congress. Who or what else is mentioned in the remainder of the text to indicate what follows also applies to others? Nothing. No one. Zero. Zip. Nada. All the nopes. Every single thing mentioned after those first five words only applies to Congress. What does that mean? It means if you are suffering consequences due to your words and/or actions, and those consequences are not being placed upon you by Congress, then claiming your First Amendment rights are being violated is absolutely incorrect. Doing so while holding it up like it is a holy relic which shields you from all criticism while you act as if anyone who disagrees with you is a heretical simpleton just makes you look foolish.

I expect many to disagree with my assessment. I invite your comments and discussion. For brevity’s sake I will include only one reference for those who wish to look elsewhere. The whole world is at your fingertips if you wish to seek further knowledge. Take a look at this article, which gives examples of various situations and how they would typically relate to the first amendment. Please note the first cited example perfectly describes the current situation involving the NFL and its ability to place limits on the behavior of players. Secondly, I would add this article was posted by a well-known bastion of leftist ideology, which certainly begs the question; If that “news” outlet doesn’t support your position on Constitutional grounds, do you really have a leg upon which to stand?

Please, I beg you, do not contribute to the continued dumbing-down of our society by jumping on this bandwagon! Learn what the Constitution actually states and means, do not buy into fallacies such as this. In my opinion, for decades now there have been those who have perverted the meaning of many Constitutional amendments through artifice and corruption, and they will continue to do so unless we educate ourselves and take corrective action. With that, I leave you with the words of one of my favorite Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson:

“On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit of the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”

Football, Free Speech, and Reality

For the second time, I am glad to share a guest contribution to The Frustrated Americans. Please read, comment and share Rob Kirby’s thoughts on the current situation with the NFL.

Recently, I’ve seen blurbs on the news and posts on Facebook referencing the newest sports-related drama involving the NFL. Lots of folks are upset athletes are kneeling during the National Anthem rather than standing respectfully at attention with their hands over their hearts. Even our president has been caught up in the theatrics, stating players who kneel should be fired. Many fans are saying they will boycott the games because of the players’ behavior. Other fans are defending the rights of the players to express themselves freely as a Constitutional right. Still, others enjoy the games and say they will continue to watch… and they really don’t care whether the players kneel, stand, or dance a jig for matter. I have friends from all three categories on Facebook, and the debates concerning the topic are entertaining to say the least.

As for me, I’m not watching NFL games this year. To be honest, I’ve never watched the NFL much in the first place. I’ve watched a couple of Super Bowls and a few games on Thanksgiving here and there, but I’ve never been much of a fan. I personally don’t want to waste my time or money watching grown men dress up in a suit of plastic armor, stretch a pair of tights over it, and beat the ever-living hell out of each other whilst chasing an oblong ball around the field. I can appreciate their talent, but I’ll never be able to stomach the amount of money they make to do these things, and anyone who calls them “heroes” is, in my opinion, being very generous to say the least. They are, at best, entertainers, just like actors and singers. Now, if one of them donates part of their fortune to cure cancer, or to feed the hungry, I might consider them heroes. Otherwise, they are just performing on a big green stage with white stripes and getting overpaid to do it. So I can’t blame my non-viewing on players kneeling.

That being said, I believe if an individual wants to kneel during the National Anthem, they have every right to do it! For that matter, they have the right to throw an American flag down on the ground and stomp all over it if that’s what they want to do (as long as it doesn’t belong to someone else). This is all part of free speech, so I say have at it! And just like these individuals have the right to do it, I have the right to call them moronic jackasses for doing it, because I also have the freedom of speech.

I believe the problem here isn’t really the behavior – it’s the arena these individuals have chosen to exercise their freedom of speech. Rather than setting up a march or a rally, they’ve chosen to subject all of their customers (that’s right… CUSTOMERS!) to their politics. For a long time, their customer base has been diverse… all socioeconomic statuses, all races, all religions, all political affiliations. And now these individuals have decided their right to express themselves is much more important than keeping a nonpartisan atmosphere so all customers can feel welcome. I’m guessing a lump sum of the NFL’s profits come from ticket sales and advertising. Apparently, the individual athletes aren’t worried about pissing off half their customers – thereby cutting their ticket sales in half and causing half of their TV audience to change the channel. I think that’s eventually going to sting a little.

In my unnamed job, I am occasionally required to salute the flag as it passes or when it is posted or raised. Don’t get me wrong… I would do it even if my job didn’t require it, because I have great respect for my country, for my freedom, and for my forefathers who died defending those things. It’s not about the flag… it’s about what the flag represents. But my job does require me to salute on occasion. Now if someone who works with me decides to take a knee in public instead of saluting, my guess is that it wouldn’t work out well for them. An individual has the right to free speech and expression. That person does not, however, have the right to a job. Having a job is a privilege – not a right. The problem with the NFL, a very large business, is that by allowing individuals the freedom to express whatever the hell they want to while they are on the clock and in an NFL uniform, the entire business appears to have embraced the same view. Hell, the team owners have even taken to the field to kneel with the players in a “show of solidarity” against Trump – who, by the way, is neither the American flag nor what it represents. When your corporation gets involved in politics to this level, you can expect to create a divide between yourself and a large percentage of your customer base. It would be like going shopping at Walmart and the entire time you are in the store, somebody is talking over the intercom telling you over and over how sorry your political party is. Sooner or later, a crapload of folks are going to get tired of hearing it and stop shopping at Walmart.

The NFL could have told its players to kneel on their own time. Instead, they allowed it to not only continue, but to grow to what it has become. I stopped reading most news articles and watching most news channels because of slanted politics. Since I’ve never really watched professional football, I guess I can’t boycott it. But I’m sure as hell not going to start watching it! It’ll be interesting to see what happens next. If everybody who says they aren’t watching anymore really stops watching, the NFL might just get a lesson in the importance of customer service.

On Your Feet, Gentlemen!

Like most Americans, I love football. I’m partial to the college game (Go Vols!), but I enjoy NFL games, too.  I don’t follow it like I do college, but if there’s a game on, I’ll usually have it on, even if I’m not watching every play. I have great memories of watching games on a tiny television at my Grandmother’s house after Thanksgiving dinner and of Super Bowl parties with friends.  I look forward to lazy fall Sundays at home with a game on.  Football is great entertainment, an opportunity to escape for a few hours and watch large men wearing plastic armor clobber each other.  But that’s all it is.

After a long day in the field on a recent Sunday, I was looking forward to watching a couple of games and relaxing. Unfortunately, politics has infiltrated football. As if we didn’t have to hear about this debate or that protest enough, now it has come to football. The latest craze in protests, as I’m sure you’ve seen, is for a few incredibly wealthy and privileged athletes to kneel, sit, or be absent from the performance of the National Anthem prior to the game. This is ostensibly to show their displeasure with race relations or something stupid uttered by the POTUS. As if that wasn’t bad enough (and certainly it was), the aforementioned POTUS had to insert himself into the conversation during a public appearance. Now things have really gotten out of hand, with entire teams kneeling, or staying in the locker room during the anthem. This is wrong and reflects poorly on the players, their team, and the league. It does nothing to solve the problems which they claim to be protesting.

Before I go on, I am aware they have every right to protest. I know it, you know it, we all know it.  They have the right, but that doesn’t make it right! By extension, I have the right to think they’re butt-holes for doing it, team owners have the right to forbid them from doing it while on the clock, and fans have the right to not partake of their product because they’re doing it. Constitutional rights do not exempt one from the consequences of their actions.

In addition, I think the POTUS should try focusing on the extremely long list of things which are more important than football. I agree with some of Trump’s ideas and not others. But I find it very annoying that he can’t seem to stay out of things which are just none of his business or shouldn’t rise to the level of presidential concern. He needs better handlers and someone really needs to do away with his Twitter account.  His chief of staff should do us all a favor and take a hammer to the presidential smart phone.

Anyway, if I owned an NFL team I would expressly forbid my players and staff from protesting in any visible form during the performance of the National Anthem. They can do that on their own time. They would be heavily fined the first time, suspended the second time, and looking for work the third. I know that won’t be a popular opinion, but I own the team, so who cares?  Heck, I wouldn’t let them have hair hanging outside their helmets either! If I managed the NFL, the team of every protestor would be penalized severely. How about you only get one time out in the second half? Maybe you get a 15 yard penalty on every kick-off? How about a big, fat fine for your team owner? Is your little hissy fit worth hurting your team? If I was in control of the media coverage of the games, no camera would come to rest on someone behaving badly during the anthem. If the media would quit giving them all this attention, they’d quit doing it. I watched the anthem being sung by a very talented young lady at a game last night and the coverage spent the entire time showing the players. This is just wrong.

There is a time and place for protests. There are ways to direct one’s energy where it may actually do some good. The performance of the National Anthem should be a time that transcends politics. Regardless of who is in the White House or what is going on in this country, those few minutes are supposed to be used to honor America and all of the things which make our country great. It is a moment when the focus should be on the pride in being an American. This is not the time to try and make a statement, no matter how valid it might be. Furthermore, pride in your country is not the same as support for any elected official.  The POTUS does not equal the flag. President Trump is not America.

NFL players need to remember they are grown men being paid insane amounts of money for playing a game. They are paid performers, just like actors in Hollywood. As a consumer, I don’t care about their politics anymore than I do about those of the elitists in Hollywood. Instead of being disrespectful and making themselves and their teams look bad in front of the entire nation, they should focus their money and influence on working to solve the problems they perceive worthy of protest. Many of them do just that and should be applauded for their efforts. The youth of today need every positive role model they can get and we all need heroes. There is nothing heroic in behaving badly during the National Anthem. So, gentlemen, get on your feet! Cover your heart with your right hand and think about how fortunate you are to live in a nation where you can become one of its wealthiest citizens for playing a game. That’s not too much to expect. You are professionals. Act like it.