Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 8, 2011

Time for some leading.

Filed under: Congress and HLS,General Homeland Security,Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Christopher Bellavita on January 8, 2011

[T]his is a situation where … people … really need to realize that the rhetoric and firing people up and, you know, even things, for example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list. But the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gunsight over our district.

When people do that, they’ve gotta realize there’s consequences to that action.

When you look at these examples [from the left and the right] around the country which really try to incite people and inflame emotions…. You’re going to have … extremes on both sides…, and that’s where leaders have to come together and say….

—– Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, March 25, 2010

And after leaders “say” whatever it is they are going to say, then what?


Update: Here’s one leader (Pima County Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik) talking.  Some thought leading at about the 1:30 mark in the video:

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Pingback by Tweets that mention Homeland Security Watch » Time for some leading. -- Topsy.com

January 8, 2011 @ 10:59 pm

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bob Connors and Pharma Sy, Bellavita. Bellavita said: Homeland Security Watch » Time for some leading. http://bit.ly/hAGCqd […]

Comment by william R. Cumming

January 9, 2011 @ 1:22 am

Assassinations destroyed critical leadership of the US in the 60’s! Perhaps a different world would exist without those here and elsewhere!

The blasts of a guns continue to change history. Tragically here and abroad.

We continue deep into the ages where the lethality of individuals over the whole seems an uneven contest. But the survival without authoritarian structures and repression of the individual must be accomplished at any cost even the high costs as in this tradgedy! A difficult time!

Comment by Philip J. Palin

January 9, 2011 @ 4:04 am

The New York Times has a profile of the suspected shooter. It includes this judgment regarding his digital trail:

“…the rambling, disconnected writings and videos he has left on the Web are consistent with the delusions produced by a psychotic illness like schizophrenia, which develops most often in the teens or 20s.”

Along the trail:

“If I define terrorist then a terrorist is a person who employs terror or terrorism, especially as a political weapon. I define terrorist,” he wrote. “If you call me a terrorist then the argument to call me a terrorist is ad hominem. You call me a terrorist.”

More at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/us/politics/09shooter.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

Comment by dan oconnor

January 9, 2011 @ 10:23 am

What does that mean? Contextually speaking, what does “time for some leading” mean? Anytime one group from society deems it necessary to marginalize another group, you can expect turbulence. Isn’t that what politics is; marginalization?

When an elected official, (lets not use the word leader here) is selected over another official, what was the deciding factor? Was it character, intellect, or wisdom? Or was it delivery, entitlement, or special interest? What if it’s both?? Do we want to be led, because often, in my experience, leadership requires a direction. And in pursuit of direction, movement from one group, area, or ideology is movement towards another.

What happens to those who do not comply or like the chosen direction?

If 22-year-old suspect Jared Lee Loughner is deemed mentally ill, does that change the outcome? Does the fact that Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford being shot amplify this violence?

Are we responsible for this vitriolic speculation and violent activity? By we, I mean, We the People…Recently I was privy to a Canadian politico’s perspective on the fall out from the election and its ramification as it related to Canada. He spoke about how angry the Americans were and in particular Tea Partiers. I suggested it was not anger as much as fear. We are becoming (or in fact have become) a Nation of frightened demographic groups and constituencies.

Why are we afraid; because we’re told to be. We demand violent free work places, communities, schools etc than complain at our civil liberties being eroded and confiscated. We want pristine, trouble free air travel at little expense and time impacted. We want clean water, abundant food, and elaborate health care, but at no cost or measured consequence to the machinations of its creation. We complain incessantly about the quality of and breadth of services but balk at their costs. We want people off the streets and removed as eyesores but cannot listen to the experts declare most of them to be mentally ill and in need of care.

We clap and cheer(less and less every day mind you) when our soldiers and Marines return home but have no desire to join them and indict them for what they are asked to do in the name of their country and one another.

We desire, at no expense.

We want the debt reduced and benefits to increase. We want more for less. . . is this the American way? We want separate equality. So it seems as complex an ideology and expectation as one can have.

Why was the last election for president and Congress estimated to cost more than $5.3 billion? Billion with a B… Billions spent on trying to convince people they are right or wrong in their thinking. Billions in incantations and rhetoric that no one is listening to.

Leadership. . . do we really want that? Our historic past is distilled, cajoled, and dangled before us both as idyllic and criminalized. Is it both? Can it be both good and bad, right and wrong at the same time? Of course!! Is that sane or insane? When Frank Capra did it, it was patriotic, noble, and pure…was it? Were the 50’s so wonderful and the 60’s so free, and the 70’s so dark. . . well you get the picture.

History always has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It’s a very linear concept, but measured in years, not activities, one can see why.

Where are we in our history? What happened in Arizona was tragic, but is it more tragic than Fort Hood? Is it more tragic than Virginia Tech or Colombine or Luby’s? Is it more tragic than the The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire?

Do these instances of violence and neglect need to be characterized and vetted for their place in history?

“What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and yet,
to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me—
nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.” Hamlet by William Shakespeare

What a piece of work indeed. Fraught with insecurity and enigmatic needs and desires, we want everything for nothing at the expense of and in spite of others. We are quick to label and ignore, highlight and embolden, amplify and squelch the messaging of a situation.

I read this blog multiple times every day and am always provided some form of marvel, mental enhancement, some new perspective and wisdom. It never ceases to amaze me what people have to say. In that light, however, it is not the majority of what Americans see, think, hear, or want to hear.

We are entertained by the likes of Snookie and Jwoww as much, if not more so than Renoir, Matisse and Beethoven. Which one is better, right, or relevant?
We have been conditioned to believe by our elected officials that all 330 million +/- of us individually are special, unique, and deserving of an entitled existence. Is that accurate?

So I ask you, how are you and we to lead them? How are WE to be led?

… E pluribus unum, Annuit cœptis, Novus ordo seclorum, “. . .lead us not into temptation, but deliver us. . .” Expectation and reality. Simple words or sacred phrases? Is the tragedy of a Congresswoman and Judge being shot more important than the 9 year old girl lying dead between them?

I aggree with Chris. Time for some leading… Is it better to have a thousand lambs led by a lion or a thousand lions led by a lamb?

Are we as a Nation leadable? Do our individual needs and desires trump the collective necessity of some aquiescence? Are we lions or lambs?

Tragedy and sorrow sorround us. So does grace and majesty. What are we prepared to do about it?

Comment by John G. Comiskey

January 9, 2011 @ 10:53 am

Gabby Giffords was a friend of mine. She is not only an extraordinary public servant, but she is also somebody who is warm and caring. She is well liked by her colleagues and well liked by her constituents. Her husband, Mark Kelly, is a Navy captain and one of America’s valiant astronauts.

It’s not surprising that today Gabby was doing what she always does — listening to the hopes and concerns of her neighbors. That is the essence of what our democracy is all about. That is why this is more than a tragedy for those involved. It is a tragedy for Arizona and a tragedy for our entire country.

-President Barack Obama

“I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff. An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who were injured, and their families. This is a sad day for our country.”

-Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)

My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Gifford and the other victims of today’s tragic shooting in Arizona.

On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peach an justice.

-Sarah Palin

The federal debt is the single biggest threat to our economy and national security today. I invite you to try your hand at tackling the debt with this useful budget tool or take a look at my efforts to restore fiscal responsibility.

-Rep. Gabrielle Gifford [website]

My 1st Congress on Your Corner starts now. Please stop by to let me know what is on your mind or tweet me later.

-Rep Gabrille Gifford [twitter tweet 8 Jan 2011]

All governments including democratic governments struggle with loyal opposition and particularly in matters of national security.

Our country’s rules, i.e. The United States Constitution is a celebration of both democracy and the dialectic process. The majority champions and, to varying degrees, effects public policy according to their needs and wants. At the same time the minority is entitled to proclaim their desired public policy and, to varying degrees, ameliorate public policy to suit their needs and wants.

Otherwise known as compromise, the principles of democracy and federalism embedded in the U.S. Constitution have unified our Nation since its inception. While the Civil War did temporarily divide our Nation, the same Constitution, as amended by the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, did reunify the Nation. K-12 education should do a better job of teach the tenets of compromise and civic rights and responsibilities.

Sarah Palin placed Rep.Gabrielle Gifford on her [political] target list. That “in your face” political rhetoric is the norm.

Rep. Gifford invited her constituency , via twitter a relatively new social media, to air their concerns. Rep. Gifford also gave notice to the embittered few, unbalanced or otherwise, of the time and location where they might demonstrate their concerns via violence.

We are only beginning to understand the security implications of social media. See Even schoolgirls scare us today: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/6-girls-arrested-in-Facebook-apf-1948414125.html?x=0&.v=1

Leaders/public Officials know that they are in the arena and that public appearances are a double edge sword. They want to reach out to those they serve and to do so safely. Might additional security have prevented this act? Maybe and at the same time those security measures might raise concerns about the efficacy and indifference of government officials.
The fact is that the embittered few are uniquely powerful.

As Mr. Cumming noted , history is replete with assassins that have destroyed critical leadership. In most cases, we have no magic wand to identify which of the embittered few will attack.

It’s always a time for leaders. Perhaps it’s time for more of the followers to assume some leadership qualities -leadership and followship are interdependent.

My prayers go out to all the vicitms of the Arizona shooting and to the Nation.

Comment by william R. Cumming

January 9, 2011 @ 10:56 am

Dan’s post is very interesting and thoughtful! I have a very simple definition of leadership! A leader unites his or her followers to achieve a better life for all.

With published statistics indicating up to 40% of adults in US on prescribed or illegal psychotropic drugs how is this group led?

Comment by The Verse of Lamentations and the 21st Century

January 9, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

Dan OConnor….so eloquent, so insightful.

We who read HLSWatch and appreciate Philip, Chris and William R.Cumming and other contributors who like you, so perceptive,so enlightened.

We here on Main Street USA wonder if anyone at the White House or in the Senate chambers has ever read the poetic writings of Jeremiah in Lamentations.

Unless Congressional members read Lamentations and understand how these verses are so applicable to our beloved nation, evil will continue to prevail. Despair will be shared by far many more here and to distant shore.

Yes, we are a nation $14 trillion in bankruptcy…$14+ trillion in bankruptcy, created by the brightest minds. Those “entrusted” by precious vote, men and wmen who so easily succumb to the intern in elevated position and such self-agenda which reinforces the reality that every form of man-made government since Babylon has failed. We are no different for We see ourselves and not the Lord, our creator.

Yes, we are a nation breathing in sighs, ensuing desperation as the days pass by, my front porch flag turned upside down depicting the peril we confront by this void in leadership, this ongoing partisanship….

It is truly not citizen we must fear, but the degradation of mankind as evidenced by those who have taken the reigns and besmirched all of mankind.

The fact of the matter, We here on Main Street USA have little confidence in government whether local, state or by those in beltway gridlock. Concerned, worried and seeking forgiveness, America will only prevail if We as a nation and people demand accountability, clarity and responsible decision-making.

The solution is simple. God is angry. He has forewarned us. Deaf to his teachings and the principles he asked us to adhere to…

The only reference to “change” which is so often talked about today in failed and broken promises by Barry and Deval for instance….the “change” we must see to reinstate our confidence, to adhere to the teachings in biblical scripture and the Lord’s wishes so expressed and emphasized so, so many times.

Lamentations 16 says, “I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far froom me: my children are desolate” — 19: I called for my lovers, but they deceived me”

Read Lamentations, each verse, one may better understand why we are confronted with such predicament and what we can do to thwart this spiralling deficit which was created by men and cannot be solved for it would never have happened in the first place if this Life and our many Blessings was truly understood.

While a calamity, such saddness, imagine a 9 year old inherent with such Life and aspiration, what sorrow for so many and for our Christian-Judeo based country and most charitable people.

Unfortunately, much more despair will be witnessed for we as a nation are failing in every sense of these broken promises spoken from the politician’s mouth supposedly taking oath and swearing to pledge one’s self to public service.

It is my understanding that this Arizona representative, while laying in critical condition, did in fact make her every attempt to address the wrongs of the corrupt and expressed concern in her daily commitment in diligence to her constituency that much must be addressed to bring our beloved Republic to reality, to conduct ourselves in appropriate manner, underscoring the principles set forth by our forefathers and to our Creator, the Lord who continues to emphasize that We have a choice, to repent, to live by his word…

God Bless us all!

Let’s hope that all Congressional members and the President himself will read Lamentations this week and makes every attempt to understand what must be done to get our nation back on track for the clck ticks and yes, the budget deficit spiralling and no solution whether for the Middle East Peace process or in addressing our serious budgetary concerns simply because God has seen us foresake him and he has no sorrow for those whose agenda his foremost.

While referencing the Egyptians and Assyrians, much is quite applicable to our ways in this 21st century, many generations later and obviously little learned from studying mankind and his self-serving ways….

Lamentations 5; 15,16:

The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning. The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!

Lamentations 5; 2:

Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens.

Congressional members, stand before the gavel and read to your cohorts Lamentations…time is of the essence. Evil is within our midst and we must transform the self-serving ways of those with reaigns in hand and can make amendment to our destiny.

Christopher Tingus
PO Box 1612
Harwich, MA 02645 USA

Comment by Philip J. Palin

January 9, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

In 1932 “Die Morgenlandfahrt” by Herman Hesse was published. In the English-speaking world we know it as “Journey to the East.” A link to the text is provided below.

It is a story of The League, a heroic band of great leaders — intellectual, artistic, political — who strike out on a quest for ultimate truth.

They fail. The failure’s cause can be described in a variety of ways, but it is clearly related to an inability or unwillingness to fully engage a simple servant named Leo.

A modest unknown among the great men (they are, I seem to recall, all men) Leo entertains with song, does a myriad menial chores, and proves to be a trustworthy guide along a treacherous path. Despite all this he is taken for granted until — in need of a scapegoat — The League turns on their servant and, essentially, runs him off.

Then — despite their intelligence, creativity, competence, sublime intentions, and enormous confidence — bad turns to worse and the Great Quest disintegrates.

Great men, good men, leaders all… failed to recognize their own need for leadership. When leadership was given freely and effectively, they rejected it.

Might be time for reading it:


Comment by william R. Cumming

January 9, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

WOW! Thanks Phil for finding the literary needle in a haystack!

Comment by Expressions of Condolences; Disbelief & Saddness For Our Beloved Republic

January 9, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

When this caring and communityminded 9 year old was killed in cold blooded murder, given this youngster’s aspirations and obviously avid interest at such a young age towards public service, We may have indeed lost a future President, Senator or other. Her untimely death will not be in vain for her Mother spoke so highly of her daughter and talked about some of the things she was already looking to do to help others. She will always remain an inspiration to so many others….We will all honor her and not forget this her. This is so sad. So unthinkable.

Our next generation where we as elders should be mentors and do our utmost to make responsible decisions to reach out to youngsters and the communities at large and portray ourselves with the character, the honesty, the commitment to diligence and public service such as Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has exemplified. As we all pray for her and extend condolences to so many who lost Loved ones in another act of senseless and criminal intent in cold blooded murder, We hope that the Congresswoman who is so highly regarded will recover and step back n the floor of Congress and continue to strive to truly make a difference.

God Bless all those so adversely affected with so many families losing Loved ones in another event which just cannot be understood.

To the woman who was shot and still managed to prevent the reloading of the gun as reported by the media, you are a brave person who saved so many other lives, an act which in itself seems unimagineable as well….God Blessed you with such strength. We wish you a speedy recovery!

God Bless us all!

Christopher Tingus
PO Box 1612
Harwich, MA 02645 USA

Comment by william R. Cumming

January 10, 2011 @ 1:18 am

Now being reliably reported shooter rejected in 2008 for drug test failure!

Comment by Philip J. Palin

January 10, 2011 @ 7:16 am

That nine-year-old Christina Green was born on September 11, 2001 and was killed Saturday during a political assassination is a coincidence worth attention.

Our left brain insists, of course, these tragic bookends are but random remnants, an illusion woven by an unhealthy obsession with time.

But our right brain cannot quite dismiss the violent symmetry. We seek some message and meaning in the murder of innocence.

Viktor Frankl offers: “It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life – daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”

In our current tragic condition, how do we each take responsibility? What is the right action for this day, this hour, this moment?

Comment by william R. Cumming

January 10, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

Viktor Frankl survived the holocaust! Hopefully we don’t have to face extinction to have the mental toughness to survive our challenges!
Increasingly it does appear many knew of shooter’s problems yet none had skills or competence or power to address those problems! Why?

Comment by John G Comiskey

January 11, 2011 @ 10:30 am

Mr. Cummings,

Great questions that draw attention to society’s inability and in some cases unwillingness to identify suspected “violent misfits” (unbalanced people who demonstrate a desire to commit violence in the name of their beliefs). The criminal justice system is moving toward a preventive posture with respect to domestic violence -suspected abusers are typically served with restraining orders, prohibited from possessing weapons and particularly firearms, and are subject to house visits.

Might suspected radicals who have espoused violence be subject to surveillance, search, forfeit right to bear arms, other?

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