Friday, March 30, 2012

In Martin/Zimmerman case, the only racists are those trying Zimmerman without benefit of evidence

By Mike Ullery

Chief Photographer

The court of public opinion is, once again, trying a case before it can make it into a court room. This time, the very fact that a case may never make it to a court room has added fuel to the fire.

In February, in the town of Sanford, Florida, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Martin was black. Zimmerman is Hispanic, although early reports chose to insinuate that he was white.

Most of us are familiar with the case, to date. Zimmerman claims he shot Martin in self defense. Rather than waiting for police to sort through witness accounts and get to the facts, the court of public opinion, as usual, has jumped in, voicing their opinion without a shred of evidence.

Also, as usual, the media is sitting back, a smile on its face, as it fans the flames for liberals to cry "Racism, racism," at the top of their lungs.

As an added bonus, liberals and the media are giving a shot of adrenaline to the clothing industry by giving hooded sweatshirts, or "hoodies," a new popularity. Could this be the long-awaited economic boost that President Obama has been forecasting?

Speaking of racism and Obama, this incident marks yet another time that our Commander-in-Chief has shown his true self as a racist by coming to the defense of young Martin. It brought to mind an incident a few years back where Obama quickly jumped on the racial bandwagon to defend a friend of his, once again without a single fact on which to base his opinion. It is most scary, indeed, when our president leads the country in promoting a situation inciting race as a factor, when, in fact, it has absolutely nothing to do with the case.

The president managed to calm that faux pas down with the help of a cold beer but I am beginning to see a pattern.

All of this enforces my opinion that racism in our country is not defined only by traditional terms. Racism is also when members of the black community try to take a situation in which a black is injured, killed or threatened by someone of another race for any of a number of reasons, and attempt to spin the story to have racial motivation or overtones.

First of all, where are these same folks when a black person kills a white person? You never hear a word. You ask the question, "Race motivated?" You wait for the answer ... none.

If you want to eliminate racism in our county, you must first acknowledge that some people are thieves. Some are violent. Their motives are many. The don't care if their victim is black, white, red or yellow. To them, we are just a target.

Looking specifically at the Martin/Zimmerman case, I have formed the opinion that Zimmerman made a series of stupid decisions that day. Those decisions put him in a confrontational situation with Martin. Self defense? I don't know. I'm not privy to all the fact and neither are you. Based on the known "facts" being batted around, the only thing I can come up with is that doing something stupid does not make one a racist.

My advice to Americans is to shut up and wait until the facts are truly in. Stop wearing the hoodies as a show of support. Admit it, all you want to do is make others think you are cool for supporting a cause you don't know a thing about — yet again.

And finally, stop the cries of racism. A huge step toward eliminating racism is to admit that, sometimes, bad things happen to good people for reasons we cannot explain. It's not about race. It is about good vs. evil and I would like to think that we are all on the same side.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Doolittle Raiders holding final reunion in April. Last chance to say "Thank you."

By Mike Ullery

Chief Photographer

The word "hero" is one of the most often-used words today. Perhaps, that is because we feel the need to recognize the achievements of those who protect us from harm. It is also one of the most abused words in our language. Over-using the word dilutes the meaning when something, or someone, performs in a truly heroic manner.

That is why, when the chance comes to recognize and honor real heroes, we should not pass up the opportunity. That fact is more important when it is the final opportunity to give such recognition.

In April of 1942, the United States and her allies were knocked back on their heels and reeling from attacks by the Japanese during the early days of World War II. Only a few months had passed since the attack on Pearl Harbor.

An Army Air Corps Lt. Colonial, James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle was assigned the job of striking the first blow against the Japanese.

His assignment — bomb Tokyo. The way it was to be done was to use B-25 twin-engine bombers, land-based aircraft, flown from the deck of an aircraft carrier, on a one-way trip. They were to fly from the U.S.S. Hornet, drop their bombs, then fly on to China and ... hope for the best.

The mission was considered impossible from many standpoints. No one had ever launched a loaded B-25 bomber from an aircraft carrier. Yet, when the call went out for volunteers, all assignments were quickly filled.

The mission was carried out. American casualties included three dead and eight captured. Of the eight prisoners of war, three were executed by the Japanese and one died of disease. The 80 men who took part in the raid became known as the "Doolittle Raiders."

Jimmy Doolittle and his raiders did what American military men, and women, have done for centuries. They accomplished the "impossible." For his part in planning and leading the attack, Doolittle was awarded the Medal of Honor.

April 18 will mark the 70th anniversary of the Doolittle raid on Tokyo. Time has taken its inevitable toll on the Raiders. Of the 80 brave men who flew from the deck of the Hornet on what many thought a suicide mission, only five survive.

The five living Raiders will all be in Dayton for this 70th anniversary and their final reunion.

A full slate of events are planned for the event, including a fly-over by more than 20 World War II-era B-25 "Mitchell" bombers, weather permitting.

The bombers will stage out of Grime's Field in Urbana, Ohio, where a number of Doolittle Raider events are also planned. These events will also include rides on some of these historic aircraft.

I stated earlier that the word "hero" is over-used. I can think of no term more fitting for these men. They are truly heroes. Yet, to a man, as most heroes do, they believe they were just doing a job.

I encourage everyone to mark their calendar for one, or more, of the Doolittle Raider reunion events in April. If you love airplanes or history, this will definitely be the place to be.

The main reason to attend is the opportunity, the final opportunity, to personally acknowledge the accomplishments of, and say "thank you" to, the five living members of one of the most daring and courageous military feats in history.

To learn more about the Doolittle Raider events, visit for Grime's Airport information and for times and dates at the Air Force Museum.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Gas prices choking America

By Mike Ullery

Chief Photographer

I hope that everyone made a trip to their favorite gasoline station yesterday. If the fuel price prognosticators were correct, we are waking up to another significant price hike at the pumps.

We have been hearing for months that, by summer, we may be facing gasoline prices in the $5 per gallon range. On Friday morning, multiple websites warned that fuel could possibly jump by as much as $.50 per gallon by today.

I am like most Americans, at least I believe that I am. I rotate between frustration and anger at fuel prices in our country and ask, “Why won’t our government put a stop to the madness?”

I feel slightly hypocritical at my wish for government intervention as I am against our government sticking their nose into private business any more than absolutely necessary. My justification here is that petroleum products are, arguably, the most important commodity used by Americans. The price and availability of petroleum products directly affects nearly everything that we do.

The big petroleum companies are, no doubt, to blame for a large portion of our woes. I’m no economy expert but it is not hard to figure out that when Americans are struggling to make ends meet, then read that oil companies reported record profits, something is horribly wrong.

Rumors have been floating around for years that America’s quest for alternate energy sources have been thwarted at every turn by oil company lobbyists in Washington. It makes perfect sense that this might be true. If we find a way to unchain ourselves from oil dependence, oil company executives might have to give up two or three of their homes and whatever islands they may own. They have proven for decades that our best interests are of no concern to them.

You might notice that as fuel price fluctuate, they seem to skyrocket overnight, then take weeks to return to a not-quite-as-low-as-they-were level. Gasoline companies are simply following a standard retail method on pricing, quick to raise and slow to lower. This method helps the retailer’s bottom line. That is fine if we are talking about purchasing widgets. With a commodity such as gasoline, they are strangling consumers. What is worse is — they don’t care.

Many are telling Americans to purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles. For an already-struggling family, how much sense does it make to trade in a paid-for vehicle for an over-priced under-sized new car? All they are doing is trading extra money spent on fuel for a large car payment. Of course, vehicle manufacturers love this solution. What better way to market new cars? Let’s see. With that solution, oil companies are happy, car manufacturers are happy and Americans still get screwed.

In this case, I believe that it is time for our government to step in. I have my doubts that anything positive will emerge. There are too many elected officials, both Republican and Democrat, who are willing to use oil as a bargaining chip for their own purposes. Don’t forget the oil lobbyists who probably have some of our elected official “in their back pockets.”

It is the same old story, Congress is so busy being party-oriented, they forget that we have real problems that need a united front to overcome. Since this is a presidential election year, things are worse than ever.

My message, my plea, to our elected officials right now is, please forget politics. Please show the oil lobbyists the door. You do not need their dollars to get elected. All you have to do is represent your constituents best interests. If you do that, we promise that we will remember come election time.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

School shooter must face consequences ... period

By Mike Ullery

Chief Photographer

This week brings another school shooting. The shooter was a boy, described shortly after the tragedy as “bullied and an outcast.”

Social media sites are abuzz with reaction. One of the most common is that schools are becoming too dangerous. A whole new group of folks are talking about home school.

Shootings of any kind are tragic, but teenagers who feel that they cannot cope with their peers, so they choose to kill others, themselves or both are a rising trend in our country.

As usual, the blame game commenced soon after. It is running the gamut, from this shooting being the fault of the parents, schoolmates, the gun … the list is likely to become longer. People will look everywhere for someone, or something, on which to pin the blame. They will look everywhere, except where the blame really lies — the young man who calculatedly murdered three fellow students and wounded others.

Sure, there will be psychological examinations made. The kid may even be sorry. Guess what? I do not care.

This young man must be held accountable for his actions. He must be tried, and if found guilty, punished to the full extent of the law. In my mind, that would be his immediate execution. The sentence should be carried out immediately, not in 2035, after decades of appeals. This is a case where there is no doubt who murdered the three high school students as classmates watched. Why he did it — that does not matter. The fact that he is “only” 17 years old — that does not matter.

Do you want to know why we are seeing more of these sort of things? Americans are a bunch of pansies. No one wants their child to ever feel rejected or left out. No one wants their child to feel as if they lost a game. Kids no longer learn that life includes pain and rejection.

Add to that, we have children who spend most of their time in front of a computer or television. I am not blaming violent games or television programs. I am blaming parents and kids for having no social skills. They have little interaction with other people. Nothing is face-to-face. Everything is texting or Facebook messaging.

Parents who are talking about home schooling, in order to keep their children away from such things are contributing to the problem. Kids need the social interaction … good and bad. We are raising a bunch of introverted socially inept kids. This statement, obviously, does not include everyone, but it includes enough to cause concern.

Even the “zero tolerance” anti-bullying crusade is not what it is cracked up to be. Some won’t agree with me, but look at the way things used to be done. Kids settled most issues amongst themselves. Sure, there were some fights. There were fat lips, black eyes and some bruised egos. In the end, though, the kids came out no worse for the wear and they usually ended up, if not friends, at least respecting each other.

We live in the social media generation. Kids fire off insults via text messages and Facebook, without ever having to physically face anyone. How hard is it to verbally abuse someone from blocks, or even miles away?

All of this, put together, indicates a society where nothing is ever the fault of the person accused. We have children growing up to believe there are no hard consequences for wrongdoing.

We plead, “Please don’t bully” and “Please be nice.” I have news for you. There are those in society who don’t care about and refuse to live by the rules necessary for a peaceful existence. It is true of leaders and citizens of other countries and it is true right here in America.

Those people, whether teens or adults, must be taught by the only means they truly understand. There must be sufficient repercussion to cause them to fear ever again taking such a course of action.

Some might say that violence begets violence. We may all wish for a perfect and peaceful world. It does not, and probably never will, exist.

Too many of our youth care about nothing but themselves. We must teach them, by force when necessary, that in order to have a safe and relatively peaceful society, there must be rules. They must also learn that those rules will be enforced. Period.

“Spare the rod and spoil the child.”