The Thinker: Rich Galen


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The Buck Stops …

Rich Galen

Monday February 26, 2017

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  • President Harry Truman famously had a sign on this desk that stated "The Buck Stops Here."

  • General Dwight Eisenhower's message to the troops on the eve of D-Day is well known. It began:
    Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force.

    You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months.

  • There was a second message that Eisenhower wrote - hand wrote - that he never delivered. But it has great meaning in our current national condition. It was in case the invasion at Normandy failed. It read, in its entirety:
    "Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone."

  • Compare and contrast that with the Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel's comments over the weekend during an interview with CNN's Jake Trapper about his department's response to the school shooting.
    "These deputies received the training they needed. They received the equipment I can only take responsibility for what I knew about. I exercised my due diligence. I have given amazing leadership to this agency."

  • Darwin was wrong.

  • I don't know - apparently any better than Sheriff Israel knows - what his deputies had been told or what they were thinking when they arrived at Stoneman Douglas High School.

  • Taking positions outside the school and behind their cars indicates to me they had decided they were facing a hostage situation - not (any longer) an active shooter. It is not clear that, by the time they and the local police force arrived, the shooter hadn't already escaped.

  • We'll find out in due course.

  • Sheriff Israel's "amazing leadership" will be examined to its most granular level. Information having nothing to do with the school shooting will, like jonquils in the Springtime, work their way to the surface in search of sunlight.

  • Maybe the Sheriff will be shown to be the Matt Dillon of his era. I don't think so, but we'll see.

  • I know this will cause many of you to stop reading at this point, but the leadership of the National Rifle Association did not cover itself in glory over the weekend.

  • Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President and CEO of the NRA, did what the leaders of "Keepers of the Flame" groups always do: He pulled out all the stops in defending the tenets of his organization and, in the NRA's case, the 2nd Amendment.

  • The cable nets' headlines were predictable:
    CNN: NRA chief accuses Democrats of pushing 'socialist' agenda in wake of Florida shooting

    MSBC: NRA's Wayne LaPierre accuses Democrats of exploiting Parkland

    Fox: NRA's Wayne LaPierre Defense 2nd Amendment at CPAC

  • The New York Times quoted LaPierre as saying:
    "The shameful politicization of tragedy - it's a classic strategy, right out of the playbook of a poisonous movement They hate the N.R.A. They hate the Second Amendment. They hate individual freedom."

  • The Times pointed out that his speech was delivered to:
    "a friendly but largely restrained crowd at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference."

  • LaPierre did not directly blame Democrats for the shooting. But, neither did he accept - on behalf of his organization - any responsibility, for example, for its continued support for making assault-type rifles available to 18-year-olds.

  • Donald Trump, who proclaimed his undying devotion to the NRA in a speech before the same group, said over the weekend, according to the Boston Globe, in an interview with Fox News' Jeanine Pirro:
    "The National Rifle Association will sign on to legislation he says will come together "very soon" to address increased background checks on firearms purchases, limits on gun ownership by the mentally ill and "perhaps" raising the minimum age for more sales to age 21.

  • However, earlier on Saturday Trump blamed the FBI and the Russia investigation Tweeting:
    "Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign - there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!"

  • Not Israel's fault. Not LaPierre's fault. Not Trump's fault.

    The buck stops where?

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Eisenhower pre-D-Day speech and to the Wikipedia page for Wayne LaPierre.

    The Mullfoto is one of the continuing series of interesting license plates.

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