Tag Archives: Independence Day

Does String of Incidents Show Donald Trump Right?

Evidence of the Obama Administration’s failure to secure our nation’s borders has surfaced in no fewer than three highly-publicized incidents involving illegal immigrants who, after being deported as many as five times, stand linked to the deaths of innocent Americans in 2015. Perhaps, Donald Trump is right, and the United States does have an immigration problem.

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore

The first incident resulted in back-to-back murders the morning of January 31. Suspected of the murders is 31-year-old Victor Manuel Reyes, a man who was sentenced to 5 years for drug possession in 2010, according to Harris County, Texas, court records. Officials also said an immigration hold had been placed on Reyes, because he was here illegally.

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The second incident took place June 20 and resulted in the death of Bob Barry Jr., 58, a beloved sportscaster in Oklahoma. Multiple news reports reveal Gustavo Castillo Gutierrez, 26, was charged with causing an accident without a valid driver’s license and drug possession on Tuesday. In addition, authorities confirmed Gutierrez had previously been deported three times.

The most-recent incident took place in San Francisco during the Independence Day weekend and resulted in the fatal shooting of Kathryn Steinle, 32. Accused of the seemingly-random murder is 45-year-old Francisco Sanchez, a man who was reportedly deported five times prior to the incident after settling in the “sanctuary city” by the bay.

Unfortunately, few members of Congress seem interested in immigration reforms and border security changes that might prevent atrocities like those outlined above. Same goes for the White House where President Barack Obama and his lackeys have blood on their hands.

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Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Freedom Still Exists in My ‘Forever Hometown’

Today, more than ever before, the freedoms celebrated by Americans on Independence Day appear to be at risk. Among the most important are some freedoms I remember growing up with in Enid, Okla., during the ’60s and ’70s.

Enid, Okla., is known as the "Wheat Capitol of the United States."

Enid, Okla., is known as the “Wheat Capitol of the United States” and boast an enormous grain storage capacity.

The people of Enid had the freedom to feed the world.

Because my “forever hometown” in North Central Oklahoma was known as the “Wheat Capitol of the United States,” its residents could have boasted about having some of the tallest buildings in the world if not for the fact that those buildings, known as grain elevators, were lying on their sides. Still, they were proud of those structures and what they represented as the largest inland grain storage center on the planet, visible from miles away to visitors as they made the flat-land approaches to the city via U.S. Highways 64 and 81.

Every year without fail, those grain elevators were filled as a result of hard work and a lot of prayer put in by farmers, aided by caravans of combines and a large labor force of willing-and-able teenagers and others who counted on “The Harvest” for extra income.

Did the fact I grew up watching T-38 "Talon" aircraft -- painted white back then -- flying overhead influence me to become an Air Force officer? Probably.

Did the fact I grew up watching T-37 “Tweet” and T-38 “Talon” aircraft — like the one above, but painted white — flying overhead influence me to become an Air Force officer? Probably.

The people of Enid had the freedom to defend freedom.

When I was a kid, Enid served as home to some of the busiest air space in the Midwest, thanks to Vance AFB, a pilot training base since 1941 that has served as a launching pad for thousands of Air Force pilots and, more recently, Marine Corps and Navy pilots.

As a kid, I can remember going to annual Open House events at the base to see aerobatic wonders executed by members of the U.S. Air Force Aerial Demonstration Squadron (a.k.a., “The Thunderbirds”), the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and others in the sky above my head. I also remember watching T-37 “Tweets” and T-38 “Talon” aircraft flying overhead almost daily during the first two decades of my life. In addition to influencing my decision to become an active-duty Air Force officer and serve on three continents, I suspect the presence of the air base might have influenced other Enid boys, including Owen K. Garriott, the first Enidite — yes, that’s what we called ourselves — to fly into space as part of the Skylab 3 mission in 1973.

The people of Enid had the freedom to fuel freedom.

In addition to agriculture and defense, Enid was home to a large number of individuals — including my dad, an independent petroleum geologist — and companies involved in the exploration, production and refining of oil. In fact, I grew up about three miles across town from a facility known as the Champlin Oil Refinery.

Just like the Oklahoma state song says, “the wind comes sweepin’ down the plains” on a regular basis in Enid. On rare occasions, however, the wind blew from the East instead of the West. As a result, it was often accompanied by sulphur-tinted vapors emanating from that oil refinery.

Did the people on the West Side of Enid panic upon smelling the refinery fumes from the East Side? No, they didn’t. In Enid, that vapor wasn’t regarded as “air pollution”; instead, it was respected — albeit in an odd sort of way — as the aroma of jobs, money and economic vitality.

The Enid (Okla.) Kiwanis Club train at Meadowlake Park.

I enjoyed many “stowaway” rides on the Enid (Okla.) Kiwanis Club train at Meadowlake Park.

The people of Enid had the freedom to enjoy freedom.

Even after the refinery was shut down in 1984 and relocated to Corpus Christi, Texas, the “dots” of agriculture, defense and oil remained connected by the “glues” of patriotism, sacrifice and rugged individualism that shaped the community. And nothing said “community” more than the annual Independence Day celebrations at Meadowlake Park.

Each year, tens of thousands of people descended upon the 110-acre city park for the annual Fourth of July fireworks display. For hours before sunset, they would spend time coaxing fish out of the lake, playing baseball and softball games, enjoying picnics and riding rides operated by a local civic club, the Enid Kiwanis Club. Among the best rides at the park was a train.

The “City of Enid Express,” purchased by the club in 1963, includes an engine that’s a replica of the 1863 C. P. Huntington and three open-air passenger cars. Most incredibly, the train was manned by volunteers and operated without any federal government support. The train carries an average of 15,000 passengers a year over 1.2 miles of track, through a tunnel, and over two bridges.

Thanks to online resources, such as the The Enid News & Eagle and Enid Buzz, and my Facebook friends in Enid, I’m able to keep up with news from my forever hometown and have been assured of several things that give me hope as I enjoy the Fourth of July with my family in the St. Louis area:

~ The sound of freedom still roars loudly in Enid, thanks to the people at Vance AFB;

~ The combines are gonna run in the fields this summer;

~ Oil and natural gas wells are still being drilled;

~ Kids are still climbing aboard that slow-moving train when the conductor can’t see them in his side-view mirror; and

~ Weather and fire danger permitting, the South side of the park is gonna shut down Monday evening so that the annual fireworks display can be enjoyed one more time by the good people of Enid.

Editor’s Note: E-N-I-D is the answer to any crossword puzzle clue asking for the name of a four-letter town in Oklahoma.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Book Excerpt: Nation’s First Latino President Takes Office

Coming only days after the passage of a controversial trade agreement, recent Supreme Court Decisions on gay marriage and healthcare have many Americans upset with the folks in Washington, D.C., who claim to represent their interests. If you count yourself among them, I think you’ll enjoy the timely excerpt below from Chapter 11 of my recently-released crime-fiction novel, The National Bet:

Click image above to order a copy of the book.

Click image above to order a copy of the book.

With the line of succession to the presidency obliterated, surviving members of the U.S. House and Senate met for five days straight to discuss a one-time, extra-Constitutional means for resolving this never-before-experienced crisis. They were joined by a select number of individuals from outside the legislative branch who had been instrumental in securing the top-level resignations. Together, they worked to select a successor to serve out the remainder of President Obama’s second term.

Minus any smoke signals, several rounds of papal election-style voting took place during an exhausting three-day period until one man, a proven leader without the baggage of a Beltway insider, emerged from the pack.

Governor Franklin G. Rivera was a second-term governor from Wyoming who some people—but not the man himself—liked to refer to as “FGR.” Far more conservative than the three-term president who, decades earlier, had been associated with a similar three-letter acronym, Governor Rivera’s public approval ratings were higher than any other statewide office holder in the country.

With much trepidation, the governor accepted the job just a few minutes before noon Saturday, July 4, 2015.

After taking the oath of office behind closed doors and without fanfare, the nation’s first Latino president addressed the nation at 3 p.m., delivering the first of many difficult messages he would be called upon to share as Commander- in-Chief:

My fellow Americans, many of you have suffered tremendous losses during the past several months. To you, I offer a sincere apology on behalf of every elected official in Washington.

Members of Congress have, with the cooperation of too many American presidents, gotten away with robbery for far too long. They’ve allowed taxing and spending to get out of control. And they’ve allowed government regulation to trample common sense and decency. As a result, we’ve all paid a price higher than most of us care to calculate.

During the next twelve months, I pledge to work tirelessly to establish legal safeguards in our system via which we will do more than simply prevent members of Congress from increasing the national debt. The safeguards I propose will involve imposing stiff financial penalties on individual members of Congress who choose to waste taxpayers’ dollars on any projects or programs that increase the national debt and the burden on our children and grandchildren.

Even more important than that, however, is my top priority—ensuring that all of your assets, taken from you illegally by the previous administration, are returned to you as quickly as possible.

I’ve set July 4, 2016, as the date by which your money, the money that is rightfully yours, will be returned, with interest, to your bank accounts, to your 401K accounts and to your other retirement savings vehicles. It will be a Financial Independence Day when government no longer has its hands on your money.

President Rivera’s speech resonated with the justifiably jaded American people.

After learning more about the energetic sixty-year-old president’s background via biopic news and feature reports that surfaced following his appointment, most Americans seemed genuinely appreciative of the fact his legal-immigrant parents had set a good example for their oldest son and his five younger siblings, all of whom had been born in the United States.

Not surprisingly, they liked knowing Rivera’s parents had realized success as farmers, growing mostly wheat and soybeans on the flatlands of eastern Colorado. And they liked the fact that the new president’s four adult children seemed to be decent, well-educated people not seeking to ride their father’s political coattails.

In addition, they liked the fact he had become successful through hard work, determination and a steadfast refusal to run with the pack when the pack was heading in the wrong direction. And they liked how he seemed to take time to think before opening his mouth to speak and refused to compromise his Christian faith.

Most importantly, they liked how President Rivera’s early actions spoke even louder than his personal history.

In addition to signing an executive order on Day One that banned the use of taxpayer dollars on inaugural activities, he signed another that prohibited all federal employees from participating in inaugural activities, public or private.

The new president also completed the process of appointing cabinet members within two days and warned members of Congress not to waste any time in approving his nominees, saying, “We have important business to take care of!”

During his first year in office, President Rivera worked too hard and slept too little while waging a gallant effort to restore stability. Not a single round of golf was played, and vacations were off limits for White House staffers and all who remained employed on Capitol Hill.

I hope you enjoyed this tidbit from The National Bet. Beyond that, I hope you’ll share it and order a copy to see what happens before and after this presidential moment.

Click here to read other excerpts from The National Bet and my two nonfiction books, The Clapper Memo and Three Days In August.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.