It’s Sunday morning and I have a few minutes before we leave for church. Just time for a few words from the old judge.
So far today I have finished my daily mile and a half walk and my ten laps in the pool. Feeling pretty well. I shot 88 on Friday and I’ll be 86 on Wednesday. Close enough to boast about.
Maybe there are some folks who would like to know what an 86 year old man thinks about when he is walking and swimming in the morning.
Not many, but some. A few perhaps? I’m sure nobody under the age of 40 would give a hoot in hell what I was thinking about. But maybe their parents might.
Anyway, I think about death. Not in a frightened or worrisome way. More a matter of curiosity. It’s hard to imagine a world without being in it. Sort of like New York or Los Angeles. A lot of people doing a lot of things, but I’m not part of it.
My faith tells me there is a hereafter, and that’s a comfort. Exactly what that hereafter will be like, I don’t know. Nobody does. The only course I ever failed was a speculative elective at the University of Detroit taught by a Jesuit named Father Magget. I didn’t need the credit to get into law school and I couldn’t get into wondering about how many choirs of angels there are.
What I do wonder about these days is the next hundred years. I see pictures on the Internet of masked ISIS gunmen ceremoniously beheading 21 Coptic Christians and I read that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the United States, and I wonder.
Then I think about Nidal Hasan. Again. I have written a couple of blogs about him over the years. In 2009 he slaughtered 13 innocent Americans at Fort Hood, Texas. In 2013 he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. That sentence has not been carried out.
Now I see that Hasan wants to be a member of ISIS. He wrote a letter to Abu Bakr al-Baghadadi, leader of the Islamic State. Here is what he had to say:
“I formally and humbly request to be made a citizen of the Islamic State. It would be an honor for any believer to be an obedient citizen soldier to a people and its leader who don’t compromise the religion of All-Mighty Allah to get along with the disbelievers.”
Isn’t that just dandy? The U.S. Army provided the man with stationery and postage to give aid and comfort to our enemy. That would be treason, I should think. Maybe the crowd who think that Hasan was a victim of work place overload will now urge that he be transferred to Gitmo as an ‘enemy combatant.’ Sick.
Tomorrow is Memorial Day. Polly and I will raise a glass to toast her brother, Emmanuel Weinberger, a paratrooper who was killed on the beach of Salerno in 1943. E.J. died in the Great War, fighting for our freedom.
We’ll also salute the thousands of brave and decent young Americans who have died on the sands and stones of Iraq and Afghanistan in a war that wasn’t declared by Congress as required by our Constitution. They died in a war that all the talking heads and the intelligentsia are now telling us was a mistake. No wonder so many of them have post traumatic problems. No wonder eighteen of them commit suicide every day.
The President of the United States hasn’t the slightest idea about how to deal with ISIS. He talks about “degrade and (ultimately) destroy.” That’s a bumper sticker foreign policy that basically means we’re going to bomb them a lot and hope they give up.
The Islamic State is based on an extremist version of Islam, in which the killing of innocent non believers is expected and rewarded. They will not quit. They will not surrender. Religious fervor is their motivation. They will kill for it. They will die for it.
My great grandson, E. Henry Richardson, will be my age in the year 2100. I wonder what his world will look like.