Saturday Selects: The Ban

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write that fall outside the general bookish theme of the blog.

Donald Trump signed an executive order yesterday banning immigrants and refugees from seven countries. Syria. Iran. Iraq. Libya. Somalia. Yemen. Sudan. He’s done this under the guise of national security, claiming that this action is meant to protect us from terrorists. But it has been widely reported by multiple reputable news outlets that no attack carried out on US soil since 9/11 involved someone from any of the countries.

Makes you wonder what the hell is actually going on, right? If we’re banning people from our lands under a false pretense, then what’s the real reason for the ban? I’ll tell you, but I think you already know. One of Donald Trump’s major campaign promises was some form of a ban on Muslims entering the country. He’s making good on that promise.

The United States has failed all refugees. We have resources and the ability to take in many refugees, but we don’t. “The greatest country in the world” has all but refused to lend its hand to refugees all over the world. Refugees are escaping war, persecution, and tyrannical governments. Are these not the people we want to stand up for? Are we content just standing on the sidelines as the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe only worsens? Is this really the American way?

Donald Trump is not putting America first, as he likes to say. He’s putting America on an island while the rest of the world backs away from us.

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Reading on a Plane

I just read an article about a woman who was detained and questioned by police after a flight crew member saw her reading a book. No. There’s no more to it. Tell me how absolutely ridiculous that is.

But there is more to it. First, she’s Muslim. Second, she was reading a book about Syria. I’d hope those two things on their own would not cause you to immediately think “terrorist” because then it probably says more about you than the person doing the reading. And the airline didn’t issue an apology or anything in their statement. It’s just one person being ignorant and the airline refusing to admit a mistake was made.

But the reason this got me thinking is because on my trip to DC two months ago I took three books with me. Two fiction and one nonfiction. The nonfiction was a book on Columbine. I’ve had it on my shelf for months and I thought I might have some time to read on the plane. I didn’t end up reading any of them, but what if I had decided to pull that book out? Would someone have noticed and immediately thought something was wrong? Would I have been detained simply for reading a book that made someone slightly uncomfortable?

I’m not going to sit here and lecture you on staying safe while traveling, but there is something I do want to say. The people who carry out terror attacks anywhere in the world want to evoke fear in us. They want to alter and attack our way of life. I understand that working on an airplane is taking a risk every day on the job because of could happen. But I can’t sit here and say I think this particular crew member acted appropriately. I believe the passenger was profiled. If she’d been a blonde haired, blue eyed American I don’t think anything would have been said. All I know is I will not live in fear of what might or might not happen. I’m going to live. And I’m going to respect every person I come across because we’re all human. There are some horrible ones among us, but they’re far outnumbered by the unknown heroes of the world.

This went into a different direction than I’d planned. But that’s okay. Do you have any thoughts on what happened with this passenger being questioned simply for reading a book on a plane?

Discussing the Best Book I’ve Read

*sigh*

The book I’m about to talk about is not on the Amazon list, but I had every intention of making a video for it. Except that I’m sick and I don’t think I could speak loud enough or long enough for y’all to hear me. So, I’ll just write about it here instead.

The book I’m talking about is Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell.

Before I tell you about the book, I’d first like to say that I don’t label books as the best I’ve read often. I’ve only had three different books hold the top spot, ever. And I was fully convinced that Anne Frank’s diary would remain in that spot for years to come. Until I read this book.

Lone Survivor tells the story of Operation Redwing, which took place in 2005 in the mountains of Afghanistan. The goal of the four Navy SEALs who were sent in was to kill a high ranking terrorist. But it went horribly wrong when the SEALs were stumbled upon by local farmers and made the decision to release them without further harm.

This is where I say to not keep reading if you haven’t read the book or perhaps plan on doing so in the ¬†future because I’ll be revealing details. Proceed at your own risk.

The decision to release the farmers came back to bite the members of SEAL Team 10. The terrorists in the area (100-200 men) made their way up the mountain and eventually came upon the SEALs and a firefight ensued. But the SEALs’ communications with HQ could not be established, and the terrain was not conducive for a quick retreat. They repeatedly retreated down the sheer sides of mountains when no other option was available. But ultimately the terrorist fighting force proved too much for the four-man SEAL team, and three men were killed up in those mountains after fighting longer and harder than I can possibly describe here.

Marcus Luttrell became the lone survivor after a local tribe took him in and protected him at all costs.

But let me tell you why this book hit me so hard.


First, I’ve never cried reading any book as much as I cried reading this one. And I’m someone who knew a little about what happened because I’ve seen the movie adaptation that pretty much stuck to the original.

Marcus Luttrell put you in the shoes of a Navy SEAL. We don’t start the book in the mountains of Afghanistan, we start long before that here in the US as he’s training to become a SEAL. He gives insight into the training and mindsets of future SEALs that cannot be understated. He gives readers an idea as to what it takes to become a SEAL and only then does he take you into the fight in Afghanistan.

This story is not a story of death or sadness. It’s the story of the unsung heroes of war who never make it home. Because those three members of SEAL Team 10 were and forever will be heroes, along with every member of our military who died on that mountain trying to save the life of Marcus Luttrell. Those men knew they were going into incredibly hostile territory, but a SEAL Team was in bad shape and help was coming whether it was ideal or not.

This book is not written as a novel. And it’s not meant to be read as one. It’s written as if you’re sitting on the back porch of Luttrell’s Texas home and he’s describing every aspect of being a SEAL and Operation Redwing to you. If you read it accordingly, there is no doubt in my mind that you’ll appreciate it like I have.

I told y’all that I’d never forget the dedication page found at the beginning of this book, and I won’t. But I’ll also never forget this book. The story of those men on that mountain will stay with me, forever.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you should read this book because of how great I believe it to be. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you should read this book if you’re interested in a story about modern war. I’m not going to tell you that you should read this story at all. But I’m glad that I did.

Have you read Lone Survivor yet? What did you think?

You can visit the Amazon product page for the book here.


 

On this day in 2014 I published Keeping a Journal.