Posts Tagged ‘community’

Independence Day was Born on the Fourth of July

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Not vice versa.

This is why we consider the Declaration of Independence to be the blueprint for Liberty. It covers the underpinnings necessary for the pursuit of happiness.

It is the God given and legal architecture of these united States, with which what I term “The Suck” (which applies to those who endeavor to control and suppress independence) battles, in ever more brazen fashion, these recent decades.

Below is some beautiful verse written by my friend and colleague, photojournalist and soldier Jon Louis Blackburn. He is a proud Scot in heritage and tone, and a perfect example of what America really ought to be living.

 

Independence

Jon Blackburn

4 July 2014 at 09:51

(In Memory of Chris Kyle, Eddie Adams, and Daniel Somers)

Every Fourth of July
Is another year of names
Of brothers in arms
On the big Honor Roll in the sky

Every bomb in the air
Reminds me of the flairs
That tell the enemy our patrol is coming

Every blast is the vehicle
Being rocked by explosions
Men screaming “Go! Go! Go!”

And the smell is the smoke
Filling our vehicle
And making us cough on the dust

And the ensuing silence
Is the pregnant wait
For the air to return to the void

For the next blast
For the fight to kick in
For everything that just happened
To disappear into the future

Of all the Patriotic Holidays
The Fourth of July
Is the most meaningful for me

It is the day that joins me
To all Patriots
Future, Past, and Present

From the Shot Heard ‘Round the World
To the Officers and Men
Serving in the field today

And the ones who stand beside you
Whom you never need to notice
But there they are
In case you need them

All our wounds
All our sacrifices
All our purpose

All the People
And the Country
And the Freedom we love
Are One

Pursuit of Happiness is endemic to Independence. Best to understand how our own tolerance of others factors into that, and how this crazy, and wonderful Nation of independent zealots changed the course of human history with it’s endeavors.

Happy Independence Day in deed. That is how it comes. By doing.

Independence

Independence

 

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription copied from the Charters of Freedom http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html


IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

 

Memorial Day Is….

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Memorial

A culture which does not connect accurately, reverentially or beautifully with it’s past, is akin to a rudderless boat: doomed to be at the whim of waves and weather.

So today is Memorial Day. So what? Why should you or I care? Only because to not do so, is to engage in our personal demise and that of our families, and in turn, our Nation.

Wiki does a great job with relating the History of Memorial Day.

Memory Flags

In the course of my work, on a somewhat regular basis, I get the opportunity to serve the various Military Communities which heed and fulfill our Nation’s call to Arms. I take a lot of joy, and more than a little bit of concern from those experiences, home with me. I hear their stories. These affect the perception of both my own life, and what time maybe ought to be spent doing. The experience is barometric in many ways.

Everyone has a story. There are many. But this is an aspect of the tale of Memorial Day which I want to be clear about. Those whose memory we honor today perished serving us, some of them anyway. Many of the remainder who are still alive, continue to serve,  albeit possibly out of uniform.

67

A classic example being two young men who I met while working on a Phoenix Patriot project. They had both had their legs blown off, and were within a year of that crisis, swooping back into life with a vengeance. When the Boston Marathon Bombing took place, those men and their comrades went to Boston to counsel the blast victims. That is how those which this holiday is founded upon, think, and act.

In this culture, currently, it is in vogue, this saying :”Thank a Veteran”.¬† My friend and colleague, Shawn Alladio of K38 Rescue, regularly calls BS on this when she writes, states and acts this out: “Don’t just thank them. Do something for them.”

So part of my day today, and small way of honoring the memory of those dead and alive, whose duty to Country, Comrade and Family is absolute, is to share a few stories.

Here is a video I created as part of a project. The song it is cut to is called Dancing Girl, and is written by USMC veteran Samuel Shoemaker and performed by the Shoemaker Brothers. In it you can see, hear and feel, some of the tableau which should be endemic within every Memorial day.

This story is entitled “Purple Heart’s Final Beat – A Soldier Suicide Story”

This link explains the Spartan Pledge. I hope everyone reading this understands. I have lived through this with great men faced with daunting challenges. As a¬† culture and community, we need to know that this exists. And we need to act to ensure our people are not slaughtered by the broken Veteran’s Administration system, which¬† I have seen first hand, abuse and hurt some of my friends and colleagues in the Military in a criminally negligent manner..

This well produced tale walks sensitive ground. Again, a service rich look at our people published through Funker 530 Veterans Community and produced by CBS.¬† Sgt. Kenneth Westbrook’s Memory is honored here.

Right now Shawn Alladio, Liquid Militia, Kawasaki and our friends are holding what they call a LM Team Weekend up on the Gaviota Coast at Rancho Dos Pueblos which very generously hosts the 5 day event. It is a campout where families of military communities meet up with the action sport and PWC communities, have fun in the Ocean, and generally just have a great time in the peace and security of Dos Pueblos Ranch’s private beach.

What Memorial Day looks like to me: Memory, Gratitude, Honor and Service.

It is why the stories matter so much. They are our strong foundation as a people. Best to do some maintenance on that when possible.

Lastly, here is a piece written by one of the single most decorated warriors in US History. The title is “War is a Racket”

It is up to us to change that.

A glimpse at what I have stood before is below. Click on any of the images for a larger view.Dos Pueblos Memorial_MG_4915 _MG_5759 _MG_7540-95 oj.adj1 copy puu.a-4277

Rescuers

WAR _MG_4417 _MG_4578

One Intransigent Eve

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Come what may

 

The image above was posted onto my Facebook page and a conversation ensued as a result, about helmet usage in water Photography and Cinematography. My esteemed friend and colleague, Steve Fitzpatrick weighed in. Steve had his noggin crushed in a PWC accident by an untrained operator at Tres Palmas in Puerto Rico. He wound up with a Traumatic Brain Injury, as a result. No, if he had been wearing a helmet he still would have acquired TBI.

The cure, what really gives us safe passage (this was discussed in thread) is operating  utilizing your ability as a human being. That is to say, a human is a Spirit, with a Soul, residing for all intents and purposes while on earth, within a body. Being present, spirit, soul and body is what makes us both effective, and at the end of the day helps bring us home to our families.

I am just back from loitering with K 38 Rescue and the Phoenix Patriot Foundation. We got to spend Veterans Day weekend putting on a challenge ride for severely wounded Vets. If you ever get a chance to hang out with a Veteran, I highly recommend it. Try it. You will see what I am talking about.

Tonight I had to do the dread Costco run. We are having some friends over tomorrow for a little get together.

I was in Costco for about 10 minutes, when I had an ominous feeling settle on me. Something was not right. When that happens (It does on somewhat infrequent and rare occasions) I ramp up my situational awareness. I become a predator. You would never know it to look at me. But I am one.

I had the distinct impression that danger was afoot.

My little dinner shopping cruise through the giant warehouse was uneventful. I simply flowed right through it. Chicken, Tri Tip, lots of veggies, coffee, etc. all went into the big white cart. Checkout was a breeze and the teeming crazy crowd I had experienced inside, seemed to have parted like the Red Sea for me.

I headed way the heck out into the back forty, where I had parked my little Mazdaspeed 3, and offloaded the groceries into the hatchback. As I was finishing I noticed that the Tri Tip was MIA. Damn, how could I have lost that? I was planning on making our family recipe Hawaiian teriyaki for everyone.

As I tossed the big 10 pound bag of chicken breasts onto the bags of frozen veggies I saw it. The meat was hiding (always wanted to write that) under the chicken. I checked my receipt. Damn, the checkout people had missed it as well. I had just successfully shoplifted 20 bucks of dead cow from Costco and was way the heck out in the parking lot at night.

I grabbed the bag of meat and receipt in hand jogged back to the entrance, and explained that I needed to pay. I have never stolen anything in my life, and I sure was not about to start now. The Supervisor took me to a register, and thanked me while someone rang me up.

Total detour time maybe 10-15 minutes.

Zipping up the 101 I had dismissed the Costco impressions and wound my way through sedate tempo, but heavy traffic. As I made the turn onto Hwy 33 that winds up to my home and Ojai beyond, I passed a slow moving SUV and accelerated a bit into the decreasing radius turn, just as I have done every day for about 25 years. Headed for the home I share with my wife, Donna.

I saw fresh skid marks leading towards  the concrete A rail barrier that is the N-S traffic divider and slowed a bit, then debris, then cars pulled over. One looked like a black Civic and I remembered that I had been thinking about my son Jon who drives one. A little further down the road, another car, and a motorcycle. Probably more debris strike.

As I pulled into my driveway I called Jon to see what he was up to. I wondered about that Civic I had glimpsed. I think most parents do that. Jon told me about his day up in SB and a mountain bike ride and we laughed about how ridiculously dangerous MTB riding can be. “You know how it is Jon, everything is always okay, till it is not, then blam. Badness.”

And it hit me. I could have been right in the middle of that accident.

10-15 minutes at Costco.

Do the right thing.

You may think no one will ever notice. The world will tell you that. Our Politicians re enforce the message with money and situational ethics.

But somehow, it always matters.

So do you.

I live my life immersed in the Bible. It is not a religious thing. It is just how I refer my understanding of creation to everyday life. I had opportunity to look at this earlier today. It is important for many reasons. Meditating on this mattered to me today.

2 Timothy  Ch 3

Godlessness in the Last Days

1But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

All Scripture Is Breathed Out by God

10You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra‚ÄĒwhich persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whoma you learned it 15and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of Godb may be competent, equipped for every good work.

I have written all of this to drive home a point. We live in perilous times. But God is greater. He desires above all things that you prosper and be in health, and that your soul prospers. He is  the proverbial good shepherd. I suggest we all just submit to that. Would make the world a better place. And it is health to our family and community.

Jonathan

Warrior

Being Clear

Monday, June 25th, 2012

I ran into a friend the other day, who brought up an interesting point about some of my work.

In essence, this is what he said.

“Do you realize that you often leave it to us, to figure out what you are trying to communicate? That can be really frustrating, as so many of us are busy with other things, and we¬† want to get it. But there is no time to track through all the links and study it all out. You may want to consider just telling us the answer.”

It really is a good point that he made. My fiance, Donna says this same thing to me frequently.

My answer typically has been this: “I do it for a reason. Maybe not everyone should ‘get it’. People tend to value things which they earn.”

But it gave me a lot to think about. Friends are good that way. They sharpen us. Because they really do care.

In edit this weekend, as I worked through post production, I came across this image of a teensy wave washing up a sea glass beach.

Colors are significant in that they illustrated different energy signatures. Water, when it is pure, is clear. Yet in the Sea, it contains the genetic signature of all life. It reflects every color in the spectrum. When polluted, it implements a process which eventually will purify it once again. It will go back to being clear to the eye. Yet below the range of human sight, there still is another universe active within it.

Yes, something to think about, for sure.

K38 Rescue: Precept and Example

Thursday, March 8th, 2012
Shawn aboard "Jay"

Shawn aboard "Jay"

I sent Shawn Alladio a note yesterday afternoon. Here it is.

At least TRY to have a good time tonight, will ya? This is important.

Here is her response.

Shut up! LOL

 

USCG STAN Team training. Columbia River.

USCG STAN Team training. Columbia River.

 

That pretty much sums up what many of us feel, who are on the back end of rendering service, when accolades come our way.

Shawn was headed to an awards ceremony. I knew about it. Barely. It is not what we talk about. But a friend had reminded me, and I knew that Dr Andrea Neal, was down to see her in the midst of what for all of us, was an impossible week. And we all keep track of each other. Teams and families are like that. And it was Shawn actually, who taught me to always be watching, everything. Apex Predators. It is how anyone who is under her authority is taught to be.

Here is a basic element of K38 philosophy, that is an embed in our psychology. One of thousands. But an important one.

“Think like a victim. But act like a rescuer.” I am going to let that sink in. Volumes have been spoken and written on this.

Learning Flow

Learning Flow

 

Even now as I type this, I know that Shawn is headed up to Washington for work. I wish I was with her. We were up last year working with the STAN team at  the USCG Base at Tongue Point, and out on the Columbia River Bar. I liked it, and the Advance Helo Rescue Swimmer guys. It was good to us all, the time together.

Shawn Alladio, Serious instructions with K38 Mavericks Team

Shawn Alladio, Serious instructions with K38 Mavericks Team

I appreciate that Shawn invited me into her world so many years ago. With all the controversy of late, regarding the marginalization of women, and commentary surrounding a radio personality, who intentionally verbally degraded a female Law student on air, and a bunch of decrepit, corrupt politicians doing what they do, I was a bit taken aback, and had to figure out what the uproar was about.

I have an entirely different baseline about service, and women.

I have never had an issue placing myself under the command of a woman. Maybe because I have been under Shawn’s for so long, and her’s is efficient. So well run in fact, that she somehow finds herself in the unenviable process of having to deal with accolades from time to time. We ALL hate them. Any of us in service positions do them to serve. Though gratitude is great. (It is wonderful being appreciated) What we all aspire to do, is to educate, inspire and push OTHERS forward.

Here is the tricky part. When one leads by both precept and example, people lock onto the example first, and precept last. That is why frequently, our culture lends itself to the development of a cult of personality. But leaders, real ones, (politicians by their job description, are not leaders per se) know to actively resist iconization.

Precept and Example

Precept and Example

Why?

It weakens your team. You want a strong team, a vital community, that by it’s diversity and understanding and respect of each individual’s strengths and weaknesses, you may grow. That is our precept. Get it?

I learned a heck of a lot as a professional athlete (what I was, prior to being a businessman and a photographer-film maker). If one wants to be successful, you hone your strengths, refine those, but you train your weaknesses. Weakness is what kills your performance, and jeopardizes your goals long term. Shawn and I have been discussing this. I know she is writing on the subject. I look forward to the read.

Onboard Instruction

Onboard Instruction

In recent years, K38 Rescue, headed by Shawn Alladio, and a global collective of Rescue Professionals  trained by her, has raised a standard that did not formerly exist. This standard follows the design evolutionary process of the Personal Watercraft, PWC, or RWC (Rescue Watercraft), as we are now beginning to call these boats. A new generation of craft is about to come into our watery arena.

Shawn has applied her company assets as a civilian contractor, and as what I would call a Patriot, thrown everything into training with various branches of our Military and aiding in the development of the usage of the RWC in Military Rescue and various other ops. In a world full of bullshit artists who try to attach themselves and brand by association with the elite of our armed services who are water based, Shawn refuses to talk about it.

So I am.

Why?

Because Shawn by her service, has literally changed the course of History, in the usage of the personal watercraft for Rescue, and developed a detailed training modus that builds warriors out of boys who just liked fast toys. I know. I am one of them. Her understanding of, and education on Rescue theory, can revolutionize a life.

Shawn Alladio, Colombia River Bar

Shawn Alladio, Colombia River Bar

It has made a huge difference in mine. I have learned how to better, do no harm, as I go forward into a production. For eight plus years she has tolerated me, my lens and my Hawaiian hard headedness. I think she sort of fixed me. I needed that. I became a Rescue Boat Operator.  Never my plan, it is just what occurred over the years. I highly recommend it, in spite of the boot camp nature and long cold wet nights K38 training involves. In fact, after awhile you really begin to look forward to dark and inclement conditions. Tougher. More challenge.

Training is Living, Living is Training

Training is Living, Living is Training

So last night, this is what happened.

Shawn received an award, presented by the NSBC. Shawn Alladio was inducted into the National Safe Boating Council Hall of Fame on March 7th 2012. To illustrate how remarkable this is, understand that much older men with decades at the helm of other types of craft under their belts, would be typical inductees. Shawn, a female, and private contractor, and a PWC proponent, was being congratulated and honored on her command and the success of her vision. Important thing.

In her world, there really is no such thing as equality. Equality will drown and kill you. It is all about service and strength.

Here is the K38 Rescue blog. She is a member of NASBLA, and a woman whose love of the Sea and Ocean experiences are vast. I am really grateful for what she has done for my Community, the tribe of people who live in and around the water. The skills she mentors  in not only save lives, but enable us to set higher standards, in all that we do.

Headed down to Camp Pendleton

Headed down to Camp Pendleton

 

The only real reward for that, is in seeing others thrive, and coming home at the end of the day, to those who love us. But no matter how hard we train or how diligent we are, each of us acknowledges that it is grace that leads us home. I know someone who regularly falls asleep to this song.  The source of Grace is praise. I use it a lot. We all should.

Golden Reward

Golden Reward

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

home