Sunday, May 31, 2015

Keeping It Simple -- College, Socialism and Christianity

By Terry McGahey

We have reached a fork in the road within our country today.

The fork to the left, which is taught by many colleges, is the road to socialism; the fork to the right is the road to freedom, which is the one all true Americans want to travel.

The fork to the left wants to destroy or at least defame all Christians, while the fork to the right still mostly promotes our Christian values which this country was founded upon. It was not the Muslim faith as Obama seems to believe.

To the left, the road is full of pot holes, sink holes and road blocks perpetuated by the progressives who are Socialists. To the right, there are still some pot holes in the road dug by progressives such as Jeb Bush (in my opinion), and other progressives who have infiltrated the right fork of the road.

Right now there are less progressives embedded into the right, so I believe this to be our best chance as a free people to overcome the destruction of our country.

Before I go any further, many of you will probably believe that I am a Republican. I am not a Democrat nor am I a Republican.

If you must label me, I am an Independent Conservative Constitutionalist who believes in God and Country.

Many colleges today are cesspools for the minds of our young people. If you don't believe our colleges promote Socialism then why is it that a large group of college students from various schools gathered outside of the White House chanting Karl Marx and Socialism while celebrating Obama's victory in the last election.

Why is it the University of Illinois at Chicago hired Bill Ayers, a known Socialist and Domestic Terrorist who headed up the Weather Underground during the 1960s and 70s?

Ayers advocated killing rich people, killing your parents, was involved with bombing the New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, and killed a police officer, yet this man was hired by the university as a professor. Also, lets not forget, he and Obama are friends.

There is an old saying, "you are judged by the people you call your friends". Think about it?

It is not uncommon on many college campuses to hear people espousing a hatred of Christians. Some colleges even expose our kids to ideals that denounce the Christian faith in lectures and rallies.

Now, add in the drugs, drinking heavily, and sexual freedom, being bombarded with all of this, and even a person raised in a good Christian family can question his or her own faith.

A large amount of colleges today are nothing but breading grounds for the brainwashing and orientation of our young peoples minds into Socialism and away from Christianity.

Anyone who is going to be sending their kids to college should first research that school before giving your blessing to them to attend a college which promotes such hogwash, especially if you are paying for it.

If I were going to send one of my kids to college today, no matter if their Christian beliefs were strong or not, If I was paying the bill, I would insist they go to one of the Christian colleges or they would have to pay their own way.

Not only will they get a top notch education but they will be taught decent values that secular colleges will never teach them.

Even though these young people may be eighteen years of age or older, they are still very impressionable and our educational system knows this and takes full advantage of that situation.

Even at the elementary through high school levels, this orientation is taking place. If you don't believe that, then you need to take a closer look at Common Core where Social Studies isn't even a part of the standards.

I don't know about you, but Social Studies, when I was going to school, was where we learned about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

If Social Studies is not even a part of the Common Core standards, then how are our young people going to learn how our country began and what we stand for?

They truly need to learn about those important documents and not just brush over them lightly. This is a dangerous situation, because if our children are not studying and learning these things, what other reason is there for it if not Socialist indoctrination?

Our public schools may brush over the Constitution and Bill of Rights in class, but I believe this is only so the schools can say they teach it.

Brushing over a subject and actually teaching a subject are completely two different things. I would ask you not to believe me, ask your children or your grandchildren how much they know about our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and find out for yourself.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Keeping It Simple -- Race Relations between Blacks and Whites

By Terry McGahey

Comedian Chris Rock made the statement that he believes, and I quote, "Part of healing race relations in America is by white people owning the actions of their ancestors."

Now wait just a minute! The largest majority of white people who lived during the time before the Civil War and through the Civil War were what we would call working class people or even very poor people such as homesteaders.

These people never owned slaves, only your more affluent plantation owners and other wealthy whites were in a position to own slaves. Wealth and power are the things which drive certain individuals to these types of things, no matter the color of their skin.

I guess because I am white I should own the actions of those people even though no one in my family ever owned slaves? Just the same as the vast majority of white people did not either.

I am sick to death of hearing how we white folks are the problem from that period of time, and because we are white it's still our fault that slavery had taken place.

This hatred comes out of the mouths of people like Mr. Rock, Al Sharpton and many others.

Damn political correctness. What I am saying in this column may piss off a lot of people and some will even call me a racist because of it.

Well, I am not a racist, just a man who is tired of hearing people like Chris Rock making uneducated statements and watching people like Al Sharpton who loves to keep the pot stirred.

There is not one ethnic group in this world who hasn't been enslaved at one time or another throughout history.

Yes, wealthy white people owned black slaves for many years. From the time of our founding fathers up until the end of the civil war.

It was also white people who put an end to slavery. So why do many people, not all, within the black population, want to blame all whites for slavery?

This would be the same thing as if I blamed all blacks because I was jumped one night by six black guys while in high school after a dance, for no other reason, but because of my skin color.

It's easier for a certain amount of blacks to point their fingers at all whites than to open their eyes and see where the slavery of blacks originated.

If you want to place blame on someone for your people being delivered into slavery Mr. Rock then you must first look to your own people as well as the wealthy white slave owners.

During that time period in Africa one tribe would conquer another and turn the survivors into their slaves, then they realized they could sell or trade those people that were captured to the white slavers. This went on for many years and the main port where blacks sold blacks to whites was in the country of Niger -- pronouncing the "I" as upper case.

Mr. Rock and others like Mr. Sharpton do nothing but perpetuate racial problems by stating things of this nature.

I do not care if you are black, brown, white, or of any other ethnic group, a good person is a good person, and a hater is a hater, it's that simple!

I do not dislike a person because of the color of their skin, I dislike a person because of their indecency towards others, no matter who they are or what color of skin they may have.

I once worked with a black guy in Arizona who was a cowhand, and he was not only a great guy, but also one hell of a hand. We did not judge him by the color of his skin but by his attitude and his ability, which was also the way he judged us in return.

Chris Rock is wrong by making his statement.

The only way to cure race relations is when all of us realize that we are just people trying to get through life the best way we can, and also realize that we are all Americans in this country, and we must stand together as a nation of people.

If we are to survive as a people of freedom, we as a people cannot stay divided upon racial lines. Fore if we do, we will all fall together, instead of living and going forward together as a nation.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day -- Do Not Cheapen Their Deaths By Forgetting Their Sacrifice

So what are some ways to observe Memorial Day?

First thing, please don't say "Happy Memorial Day!" That is a very disrespectful greeting to the families of the fallen.

To say "Happy Fourth of July" at a bar-b-que or fireworks display is appropriate, but memorial observances are solemn and really not what anyone would consider a "happy" occasion.

Memorial Day is a day that we have set aside to honor our members of the armed services who have been killed in action, or have once served and have now passed away.

It is a day when Americans are supposed honor our fallen warriors. It is a day to do our duties and honor those who have fallen and the bereaved families, those orphaned and widowed.

For more than two centuries, Americans have been called to defend the founding ideals of our democracy. On Memorial Day, a grateful Nation remembers the proud patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty's blessings.

From the opening battles of the American Revolution through the turmoil of the Civil War, to World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan, and today's many operations around the world, the members of our military have built a tradition of honorable and faithful service.

As we observe Memorial Day, we remember the more than one million Americans killed in action to preserve our freedom, the more than 140,000 who were prisoners of war, all those who have been declared missing in action, those Veterans who have passed on, and their loved ones.

We should show our gratitude towards those who have fallen and their families in the following ways:
  • By adorning their graves with flowers and garlands.
  • Adorning the graves of the soldiers with flags.
  • Visiting military cemeteries, or the veteran's section in cemeteries.
  • Attend observances, services, and memorials.
  • Furling the American Flag at half-mast until noon.
  • Keep silence for a minute at 3 p.m. which is the "National Moment of Remembrance"
  • Listen to Taps being played.
  • Take a pledge to aid the disabled veterans, widows, widowers and orphans of the fallen and keep it.
  • You may support the efforts to restore the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day back to May 30th.
  • Offering thanks to the veterans and appreciating the ultimate sacrifices of the soldiers to the bereaved families personally may help too.
And yes, show gratitude towards those who have fallen because they indeed died for us.

As for those who see no reason for Memorial Day? Those like the jerk who once asked me, "What do you mean they died for us?"

Just for the record, I refuse to hear the sad old saw from some about how our troops died for no reason, or that those killed in action died in vain, or that their death was not for us but for money or politics or oil or whatever. I refuse to hear it because all of our troops, everyone who ever died in uniform, they all have died attempting to do great and noble deeds.

It's true! If we look at the big picture, then they die attempting to set nations free, to save lives, to feed the world, to free enslaved people, stop conquest, and to protect our way of life -- our uniquely American society based on the principles of freedom and liberty.

Yes, freedom is something that is fought for and fought for and fought for, generation after generation after generation. 

While that is the big picture, the small picture, the more personal picture, is even more impressive -- because our troops die in battle for each other.

That's right, they died for the freedoms we enjoy every day. And more so, in more cases than can be imagined, they died so that a buddy, a comrade, a fellow member of his or her unit, could make it home.

As for those Vets who came home changed from that happy-go-lucky young man or woman who left home to answer the call? They know full well that the fallen now live in memories that would make most men, those who've never served, wet themselves.

Today, we remember those killed in action and those veterans who have passed. 

Please pray with me:

Dear Heavenly Father,

As we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy every day, we think of them, their faces, their laughter, their smiles, their bravery, and how they followed in the footsteps of your son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, by dying for us. 

Please hold our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines in your strong arms. Cover them with your sheltering grace and shower them with your blessings. Please remember they stood the test when others didn't, all for us.

Dear Lord, let us not forget. Let us not diminish their deaths by forgetting their sacrifice.

May we also remember the families of our troops. Because they have the tough job of waiting and wondering and worrying, we ask for your blessings to fill their homes. We pray your peace, provision, and strength will fill their hearts.

May God bless the veterans who are with us, and those who have passed, and their loved ones. 

May the members of our nation's armed forces be blessed with the courage to face each day. May our troops serving today around the world trust in the Lord's mighty power to accomplish their mission.

And yes, may they know our love and respect and support as we honor them. 

In Jesus name I pray. 

An American Bald Eagle on a gravestone at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. For me, it is a sign from God.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Deadliest Days in the History of American Law Enforcement

Like the version of deputies detaining suspected bad guys, as in the picture above, law enforcement officers in many cases have no idea what they are about to encounter.

With the killing of a number of police officers around the nation lately, especially in New York this year with two by ambush, this has started me asking just how bad are things these days verses years gone by?

A few years ago, 2013, was a year that saw the least amount of law enforcement officers killed by guns since the late 1890s.

So when were the Deadliest Days in our history as a nation when it comes to law enforcement officer killings? Here is the list in chronological order.

November 29, 2009

Four members of the Lakewood, Washington, Police Department were shot and killed in an ambush attack as they sat in a coffee shop catching up on paperwork and planning for their upcoming shift.

A lone gunman walked in and opened fire on the officers, who were in full uniform and wearing protective safety vests.

Sergeant Mark Renninger and Officers Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens and Greg Richards were all veteran law enforcement officers, with between 8 and 14 years of experience each.

All four had been members of the Lakewood Police Department since it was founded in 2004 in the community outside Tacoma.

The officers were the first members of the agency to be killed in the performance of duty.

The killer was a career criminal who had recently been released from jail and has an extensive criminal history in both Washington state and Arkansas.

March 21, 2009

Four members of the Oakland, California, Police Department were shot and killed by the same gunman in two related incidents.

Sergeant Mark Dunakin and Officer John Hege, both motorcycle officers, were shot following a traffic stop in East Oakland.

Just over two hours later, SWAT team members, responding to an anonymous tip, tracked the gunman to an apartment building just a few blocks from the original shooting scene.

As they entered a bedroom, the gunman opened fire through a closet with an assault weapon, striking Sergeant Ervin Romans and Sergeant Dan Sakai.

Another member of the SWAT team, though injured himself by gunfire, managed to shoot and kill the killer who was a parolee.

Yes, he was a parolee who had been convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and was also wanted on a no-bail warrant.

September 11, 2001

9/11 goes down as the deadliest day in U.S. law enforcement history, 72 officers were killed as a result of the terrorist attacks on America.

Seventy-one of the officers died while responding to the attacks on the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, including 37 members of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department.

That figure represented the single largest loss of law enforcement personnel by a single agency in U.S. history.

Also killed at the World Trade Center were 23 members of the New York City Police Department; five members of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance; three members of the New York State Office of Court Administration; and one law enforcement member each of the New York City Fire Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Secret Service.

In addition, believe it or not, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officer died in the crash of United Flight 93 outside Shanksville, PA.

He was among the passengers who attempted to retake the plane from the terrorists before it crashed.

April 19, 1995

Eight federal law enforcement officers were killed when domestic terrorists led by Timothy McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK.

McVeigh detonated a massive truck bomb outside building, killing a total of 168 civilians and government workers, including numerous children in an on-site day care facility.

Among the law enforcement who died were four members of the U.S. Secret Service: Assistant Special Agent in Charge Alan Whicher and Special Agents Cynthia Brown, Donald Leonard and Mickey Maroney.

Also killed were Senior Special Agents Paul Ice and Claude Medearis of the U.S. Customs Service, Special Agents Paul Broxterman of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Special Agent Kenneth McCullough of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

February 28, 1993

Four Special Agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) were killed attempting to execute a search warrant for weapons at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.

They were Conway LeBleu, Todd McKeehan, Robert J. Williams and Steven Willis.

The Branch Davidians were a religious cult that idolized their leader, David Koresh.

A two-month standoff followed the initial raid and ended when the Federal Agents set fire to their compound.

That followed the Branch Davidians committing mass suicide which resulted in the deaths of over 80 of its members, many of them children.

December 31, 1972 - January 7, 1973

Over the course of this eight-day period, five law enforcement officers in New Orleans were shot and killed by a sniper who was a member of the black supremacist group known as the Black Panthers.

New Orleans Police Cadet Alfred Harrell was shot and killed just before 11pm on New Year's Eve, just five minutes before he was scheduled to end his shift working the gate at Central Lockup.

Minutes later, the suspect shot Sergeant Edwin Hosli, who was searching a nearby warehouse after an alarm went off. Sergeant Hosli succumbed to his wounds on March 5, 1973.

On January 7, 1973, the same suspect shot and killed Deputy Superintendent Louis Sirgo and Patrolmen Philip Coleman and Paul Persigo, after setting fires and shooting at civilians in a hotel.

The killer was shot and killed by police. The police used a Marine helicopter to fly over the hotel he was holed up in to fire at him.

September 11 - 13, 1971

Seven Correctional Officers were killed during inmate riots at the Attica State Prison in upstate New York.

On September 9, a group of inmates began the riot and took control of a large portion of the prison; in the process, they severely beat Correctional Officer William Quinn, who died two days later.

Later that day, State Police retook most of the prison, but nearly 1,300 convicts occupied an exercise field, where they held 39 prison guards and employees hostage for four days.

After negotiations stalled, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller ordered the State Police to regain control of the prison by force.

During the operation, six other Correctional Officers were killed: Edward Cunningham, John D'Archangelo Jr., Richard Lewis, Carl Valone, Ronald Werner and Harrison Whalen.

Beside the law enforcement, 29 inmates and 3 civilian employees were also killed.

April 6, 1970

Four California Highway Patrolmen — George Alleyn, Walt Frago, Roger Gore and James Pence — died in a fierce, four-minute gun battle with two heavily-armed suspects near Valencia, California.

Patrolmen Frago and Gore were shot and killed in the driveway of a service station after following a suspicious vehicle.

Patrolmen Alleyn and Pence were the backup and arrived shortly thereafter, only to be killed in the ensuing gun battle.

The gunmen were able to make the escape after firing upon the third and fourth units to arrive on the scene.

One of the offenders was later captured, and the other committed suicide after taking several hostages.

The Newhall Incident, named for the California Highway Patrol station where the officers worked, reverberated throughout the law enforcement community and led to major reforms in training procedures, firearms use, and arrest techniques.

January 2, 1932

In what became known as the Young Brothers Massacre, six Missouri lawmen were killed as they attempted to apprehend two suspects wanted in the murder of Greene County Marshal Mark Noe.

They were Greene County Sheriff Marcell Hendrix; Deputies Ollie Crosswhite and Wiley Mashburn; and Chief of Detectives Tony Oliver, Detective Sidney Meadows and Officer Charley Houser, all of the Springfield Police Department.

Acting on a tip, an 11 man posse went to the family farm belonging to the Young clan and surrounded the residence in an attempt to arrest the suspects.

The posse was fired upon, and Sheriff Hendrix and Deputy Mashburn were struck.

After witnessing the shooting, Deputy Crosswhite ran to the back of the house and entered through the kitchen door, hoping to catch the shooters off guard. But as he went to the back of the house he was fatally shot. The other three lawmen were killed in the ensuing shootout.

The killers fled to Texas, but were eventually tracked down. They committed suicide once their residence was surrounded.

October 3, 1929

Eight members of the Colorado Department of Corrections were all killed in a deadly riot at the Colorado State Penitentiary.

Those officers were Raymond Brown, John Eeles, Elmer Erwin, Myron H. Goodwin, John McClelland, Walter Rinker, Charles Shepherd and Robert Wiggins.

This incident was preceded earlier that summer by a series of riots in two New York prisons and the Federal Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas.

In the Colorado riot, large sections of the prison were destroyed by fire, and it is estimated that more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition were fired during the melee.

Though he ultimately died seven days later from gunshot wounds to the chest, Officer Goodwin is credited with helping stop a general break by the 1,200 inmates.

Stationed in tower No. 1, Officer Goodwin threw away his keys when the attack started and began firing. He is credited with fatally shooting the ring leader of the disturbance.

November 24, 1917

Only second to September 11, 2001, the second deadliest day in U.S. law enforcement history took place when nine Milwaukee Police officers were killed in a bomb blast at a police station.

It was a Saturday evening, and a suspicious package was discovered alongside the Italian Evangelical Church in downtown Milwaukee.

A scrubwoman for the church had discovered the package, and a boy named Sam Mazzone was summoned to take it to the police station.

The boy arrived with the package shortly after 7pm, as a group of detectives was filing out of roll call in the first floor assembly room.

According to a police department report, "As detectives examined the package with a fury of haste, it exploded, immediately killing nine police officers."

The officers killed were Patrolman Henry Deckert and Detectives Frank Caswin, Fred Kaiser, David O'Brien, Stephen H. Stecker, Charles Seehawer, Edward Spindler, Al Templin and Paul Weiler.

Sadly, those responsible for the cowardly act were never caught, but police linked the bombing to a group of Communist anarchists who were seeking revenge against the pastor of the church that had been targeted.

April 6, 1902

Sheriff Charles Gassaway and five Colbert County, Alabama, Deputy Sheriffs were shot and killed while attempting to arrest a suspect for a fraud offense.

The suspect informed the sheriff that he would be ready to go in a moment, but instead returned with a Winchester rifle and immediately shot Sheriff Gassaway and brother, Deputy William Gassaway.

The killer then barricaded himself in the house as other deputies arrived at the scene. Firing from inside the house, he shot and mortally wounded Deputies Jesse Davis, James Payne, Pat Prout and Bob Wallace.

The killer was thankfully shot and killed after officers opened fire with more than 1,000 rounds.

July 27 - 28, 1900

The day after a suspect shot and wounded a New Orleans Police officer, a team of officers tracked the suspect to his home.

When they entered, the suspect opened fire with a .38 caliber Winchester rifle, mortally wounding Captain John Day and Patrolman Peter Lamb.

Other officers immediately surrounded the home, but the killer was able to escape. Later, investigators received a tip regarding the location where the killer was hiding.

When officers arrived at the scene, the suspect shot and killed Sergeant Gabriel Porteous and Corporal John Lally and wounded three other officers before being killed himself.

July 19, 1898

An employee of an explosives company murdered a fellow worker in a dispute over lottery tickets, then barricaded himself in the building and threatened to blow it up if an attempt was made to arrest him.

The standoff continued into the next day, when the suspect told a sheriff's deputy that he was ready to come out.

As the deputies approached the building, an explosion shook the site, killing Deputies Daniel Cameron, Gustave Koch, John Lerri, Charles White and George Woodsum of the Alameda County, California, Sheriff's Office.

A female bystander and the suspect were also killed in the blast.

September 1st, 1893

A posse organized by the new U.S. Marshal, Evett Dumas "E.D." Nix, entered the outlaw town of Ingalls with the intent to capture the Bill Doolin's outlaw gang known as the Wild Bunch.

In what would be remembered as the Battle of Ingalls, three of the fourteen lawmen carrying Deputy U.S. Marshals' commissions would die as a result of the battle. Two town citizens would also die, one was actually killed protecting the outlaws.

Of the outlaws, Arkansas Tom Jones, the killer of the three deputies and one citizen, was captured.
December 15, 1890

Six officers with the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs eventually died after attempting to arrest Sitting Bull, the leader of the Sioux Indian tribe in South Dakota: Lieutenant Henry Bullhead, Sergeants James Little Eagle and Charles Shavehead, Private Paul Akicitah, and Officers John Armstrong and David Hawkman.

After arresting the Chief, the officers were traveling back to their headquarters when they were attacked by a group led by the chief's son. Four officers were killed immediately and two were seriously wounded in the attack.

During the battle, the Sioux Chief and his son were also killed. The two injured officers later died of their wounds.

May 4, 1886

Eight Chicago Police officers eventually died following a violent labor dispute known as the Haymarket Riot.

The officers were at the scene of a civil disturbance when the rioters opened fire and threw a bomb into the crowd. Yes, believe it or not, the anarchists threw a bomb into the crowd. This led to Communist anarchist being called "bomb throwers".

Killed in the May 1890 riot were Patrolmen John Barrett, Mathias Degan, Nels Hansen, George Miller, Thomas Redden, and Michael Sheehan. Patrolman Timothy O'Sullivan succumbed to his injuries two years later, in June 1888.

Seventy other people were injured by the gunfire and the explosion.

May 1, 1885

Four members of the U.S. Marshals Service were shot and killed when their posse was ambushed while attempting to arrest several horse thieves near Calico Creek, Oklahoma.

Deputy Marshal Jim Guy and Special Deputy Marshals Bill Kirksey, Andy Roff and James Roff were all shot and killed.

Two of the killers were thankfully shot dead, and two others were charged with murder -- although they were acquitted.

March 14, 1873

Following the wounding in January 1873 of the Sheriff of Lampasas County, Texas, a posse of seven state police officers was sent to a saloon to enforce a law prohibiting the wearing of side arms.

The 7 man posse had arrested one man outside the saloon. But when they attempted to enter the saloon, a gun battle ensued and three members of the Texas State Police were killed instantly: Captain Thomas Williams and Privates Wesley Cherry and J.M. Daniels. Private Andrew Melville died one month later from wounds he suffered in the gunfight.

April 15, 1872

Eight Deputy U.S. Marshals were shot and killed in what came to be known as the Going Snake Massacre, which occurred in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

The lawmen went to a murder trial armed with an arrest warrant to detain the defendant if he was acquitted. As the lawmen approached the building, they were fired upon by a group of men who were waiting inside.

Six members of the posse were killed on the spot: Special Deputies Black Sut Beck, Sam Beck, William Hicks, Jim Ward and Riley Woods, along with Posseman George Selvidge. Posseman William Beck and Deputy Marshal Jacob Owens died the next day of their wounds.

November 16, 1859

What became known as the Cortina War started when Juan Cortina, the heir to a large land grant in the lower Rio Grande valley that included the area around Brownsville, witnessed the city marshal pistol-whipping an intoxicated Mexican citizen who had previously been employed by the Cortina family.

Cortina shot the marshal in the shoulder and fled on his horse with the prisoner.

In September 1859, Cortina and 60-100 men rode into Brownsville intent on seeking revenge for numerous grievances. The Governor or Texas Governor Runnels authorized a company of 100 rangers from San Antonio to quell the lawlessness in Brownsville.

On November 16th, a detachment of 30 Texas Rangers spotted a band of Cortinistas about a mile from Palo Alto and pursued them into the chaparral.

In a vicious gunfight that lasted only 30 minutes, Texas Ranger Privates John Fox, Thomas Grier, William McKay and Nicholas R. Milett were killed, and four others were badly wounded.

January 23, 1857

Los Angeles County, California, Sheriff James Barton and three of his officers, Constables Charles Baker and William Little and Deputy Charles Daly, were shot and killed while attempting to arrest members of the notorious Flores-Daniels Gang.

The gang ambushed the officers, killing them. Eventually, 52 members of the gang were arrested and 18 were hung for the murders.

It Should Be Noted

While the above shows the risks that law enforcement officers have faced during the history of our country, it should be noted that today there are over 900,000 men and women who wear a badge in America. In a nation of 317,000,000 people, that means there are not as many officers as one would think.

Like those before them, the vast majority are standup individuals who take their oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, safeguard your liberties, adhere to the rules of law, and try to be there when needed, all very seriously.

Back in the 1960s, Liberals started calling law enforcement "pigs". The police turned it around and acknowledged that by saying, "PIG" stands for "Pride, Integrity, and Guts," I agree that that is still the case. It takes a person with pride, integrity and guts to wear the badge and do the job.

We should support law enforcement just as we support our troops in our military. Their job can entail dealing with the worse of society, and sometimes they sacrifice all in the line of duty. God Bless them all!

And yes, that's just the way I see it!
Tom Correa

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Keeping It Simple -- The Cowboy In The Center

By Terry McGahey

There comes a time in every mans life when he must stand up for what he believes in instead of riding along with the masses like a trail horse which does nothing but stay nose to tail with the rest of the group.

It's time to quit riding the fence for fear of being singled out by the group of people with the big mouths who always make the most noise.

One thing I have learned over my sixty three years, the cowboy with the biggest mouth is normally the worst hand on the place. But on the other hand, the cowboy who goes along just doing his job in a quiet manner is usually the best hand.

Old saying: You can always spot the real cowboy because he is the one riding in the middle of the pickup truck seat.

Reason, he knows what he is doing because the others have to get out and open the gates.

My point is, you can ride in the middle of the seat while paying attention to what's going on and by paying attention you know when to speak up and tell the not so good hands what needs to be done.

Well, in my opinion its time for all of us who ride in the middle of the seat to stand up and be heard because we have been paying attention to what people like Obama and others are doing to this country.

No more should any of us care, or even consider the politically correct big mouths that try to ride roughshod over others while tearing down our country.

By the majority of the real hands, true Americans, standing up against these big mouths and making our voices heard we can castrate them by using the constitution.

When a Hereford cow gets the cancer eye we cut it out to save the animal if she's worth saving, as to breed more good stock. If that cow isn't worth saving, she goes to the feed lot to be readied for the slaughter house.

Don't be of the latter, stand up and be part of the good stock to help save our country.

Fore if the good stock don't stand up, we will be the one's headed for the slaughter house by people like Obama and other hoof and mouth politicians such as the likes of Mrs. Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reed and others.

If you're working a bunch of wild Long Horn cattle and one man alone throws a loop on him, that Longhorn will turn and come right back up your rope, gut your horse, and maybe you.

But if two men drop a loop, one on the head and the other on the back heels, then stretch him out, he isn't going anywhere.

So lets stand together and drop several loops and corral these people before it's to late!

This ride we must all take together to save our country is going to be a long sweaty one, so dust off your saddle, take a deep seat, and get ready for the long haul.

I hope you will all forgive me for using the cowboy terms, but I wanted to keep it simple.

Most cowhands believe in keeping it simple, because that's when things get done.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Marine Corps' BLM Horses Are Nothing New

US  Marine Corp Color Guard 2008 rides mustangs from BLM's Wild Horse & Burro program

Providing a home for a wild horse through the BLM Adoption Program can be a challenging and yet rewarding experience.

While adopting a wild horse through the BLM  

Through the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, the Department of the Interior’s BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and the Department of Agriculture’s USFS, has the authority to manage, protect, and control wild horses and burros on the nation’s public rangelands.

They are responsible to do so to ensure healthy herds and healthy rangelands.

The BLM monitors rangelands and wild horse and burro herds to determine the number of animals, including livestock and wildlife, that the land can support.  

Each year, the BLM gathers what they consider to be "excess" wild horses and burros from areas where vegetation and water could become scarce if too many animals use the area.

These excess animals are offered for adoption to qualified people through the BLM’s Adopt-a-Horse-or-Burro program.
The BLM has subsequently placed more than 207,000 wild horses and burros into private care from 1973 through Fiscal Year 2005.

My alma mater, the United States Marine Corps (USMC) first adopted a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wild horse for use is a Mounted Color Guard in 1988.

The feral horse was a two-year old which the Marines named “Okinawa.”

The two-year gelding "Okinawa" became an integral part of the equine unit, quickly learning to lead a parade with flags flapping, jets flying overhead, audiences clapping and dealing with unexpected loud noises.

His calm performances encouraged the Marines to adopt seven other wild horses.

Thought the Marine Corps started adopting BLM horses in the late 1980s, the history of the Marine Corps Color Guard started in the late 1960s.

In 1967, the U.S. Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard was formed at the Marine Corps Logistic Base in Barstow, California.

Lt. Colonel Robert Lindsley, U.S. Marine Corps retired, purchased four palomino domestic horses from St. George, Utah and the fifth palomino was purchased in the Barstow area.

In 1968, the Color Guard was designated an official Mounted Color Guard by the Headquarters Marine Corps and today it is the only remaining Mounted Color Guard in the Marine Corps.

The first parade the USMC Mounted Color Guard attended was in Ridgecrest, California in 1967. After the Ridgecrest Parade, the Mounted Color Guard attended parades in Barstow and Calico, California and in Yermo rodeos.

As word spread about the Color Guard, they were invited to ride in parades all over southern California. As their popularity grew, so did the number of riders; at one time they had 18 riders!

In January 1985, the Mounted Color Guard made its first appearance in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, and has been given the extreme honor of the first military unit to lead the parade. Since 1990, the Mounted Color Guard has participated in every Tournament of Roses Parade.

In 2006, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management-Nevada, Carson City Field Office announced a special adoption of sorts.

The BLM and the U.S. Marine Corps received as a new generation of four young wild horses from rangelands in northern Nevada.

This special adoption event took place preceding the scheduled 10:00 a.m. public wild horse adoption at the Warm Springs Correctional Facility (WSCF), Edmonds Road south of Fifth Street, in Carson City.

Of the four for the Corps, three of the wild palomino horses were from the BLM Calico Herd Management Area (HMA) and one palomino was from the Warm Springs Canyon HMA, both located in northern Nevada.

The horses had been in a four-month long training program at the WSCF. They were trained by inmates in the Nevada Department of Corrections program, supervised by Lead Trainer Hank Curry.

Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Ivan Collazo Sanchez and two additional Marines attended the event at the WSCF in dress blue uniform to take possession of the new horses.

At the even in 2006, the BLM made it known that after the transfer of palominos to the Marines there would also be fifteen gelding horses (ten from BLM lands and five astray horses from the State of Nevada) and one jenny burro (BLM) would be offered for adoption to members of the public.

The animals ranged from three years to six years old, were saddle-trained with 120 days of training, and varied in weight and color.

The nine-month old jenny burro was hand-raised by Burt and Dawn Lappin of Wild Horse Organized Assistance (WHOA). Proceeds were donated to WHOA.

The beginning bid on all horses is $150. The saddle-trained animals were prepared at the Warm Springs Correctional Center by inmates in the Nevada Department of Corrections program.

A handout of BLM wild horses and Nevada state “estray” horses offered for the June 3, 2006 adoption was made available at BLM offices in Reno and Carson City as well as online.

I guess the BLM and the must have been concerned about individuals from the Warm Springs Correctional Facility (WSCF) deciding to just drive.

During the the transfer and sale, WSCF rules prohibit the public from wearing any blue clothing, blue jeans, tank tops or shorts. And besides no cell phones, cameras or recording devices being allowed, driver’s licenses and car keys had to be checked in at the gate. I gather unlike some counties, their inmates don't wear stripes.

Ever since the Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard participated in every Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, in 1990, it has been all sorts of other events and annual parades and shows.

The Mounted Color Guard members are active duty Marines who volunteer their time evenings, weekends and holidays to perform these duties, in addition to their regular duties. The unit practices twice weekly.

In 1999, the unit participated in 84 parades, ceremonies, horse clinics and rodeos in the western United States.

Today the Mounted Color Guard rides wild palomino mustangs adopted from the BLM’s Adopt a Wild Horse and Burro Program all over the Western United States.

It's true, they have five riders and five palomino BLM mustangs in the Guard.  The USMC Color Guard travels all over the Western United States participating in parades, rodeos, and many numerous events and ceremonies.

They are also extremely active with public school programs.

A US Marine Corps officer greets a young child while riding a mustang from BLM's wild horse and burro program.

Now for the rest of the story.

Women Marines serve in hundreds of different military occupational specialties in the Corps, including one very prestigious MOS (military occupational skill): the last remaining Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard.

Corporal Cherisess Paige, a stableman with the MCG aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., is one of the first women to receive official orders to the unit, which had previously only been given to infantrymen, explained Sgt. Edgar Torrealba, also a stableman with the MCG.

Paige, who calls Texas ‘home’, was born in Panama and raised as a ‘military brat’ whose father was in the Army, said the stableman. Paige first came to America with her family in 1998 where she excelled academically.

The stableman joined the Marine Corps July 2010, as a musician with the band aboard the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Like many people, Paige had another passion, an even greater devotion than the one she had for music: horses.

Paige was first introduced to the Marine Corps’ MCG in July 2011, during the commanding general’s change of command ceremony in Twentynine Palms.

Back on January 1st, 2012, the band stationed aboard Twentynine Palms was disbanded due to budget cuts. With the elimination of the band came the opportunity Paige was looking for.

In April, the musician put down her flute, saddled up and officially checked in to MCLB Barstow, becoming a part of the only remaining Mounted Color Guard unit in the Marine Corps.

After her first enlistment, Paige planned on either re-enlisting and returning to the Marine Corps Band, or becoming a full-time student and getting her bachelor’s degree. Whatever she decided to do, or does as she might still be in, it is very obvious that with her work ethic, she has a bright future ahead of her.

The horse riding Marine musician explained how much she loves what she does for a living.

She loves to travel and she enjoys serving her country, whether it’s playing a musical instrument or riding a mustang — this Marine has a flair for entertaining patriotic crowds across America.

"I love what I do as a United States Marine," she said.

And to her and the Corps, I say, Semper Fi! Good Job!

And yes, this article was compiled using many sources.
Tom Correa

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Keeping It Simple - So You Want To Be A Cowboy

By Terry McGahey

This weeks article will be off of my normal beaten path.

I want to share a story with you that happened while I was working one of the cattle outfits back in the day.

Its a story about one man's all around bad luck as he truly thought he wanted to become a cowboy. Sometimes truth is more funny than fiction.

My partner who was running the outfit and myself hauled a load of steers to the sale barn in Wilcox, Arizona. Once we kicked the steers into the holding pens and was paid for the load, we decided to go have a couple of beers at one of the local Wilcox taverns.

As we pulled up and parked, we spotted this fellow standing along side of a new Chevrolet pickup truck with a horse trailer in tow.

As we headed across the parking lot to the tavern he caught up with us and asked if we could use and extra hand, so we invited him to come in and have a beer with us.

As we sat drinking a beer we asked this fellow what experience he had, too which he replied, "None, I am an accountant by trade but I always wanted to be a cowboy and I don't want to be paid if it don't work out."

My partner looked at me and asked what I thought, I told him we had nothing to loose by giving him a chance. So with that, we finished another beer and told him to follow us out to the ranch.

I think he was a bit surprised that it was about fifty miles of dirt road out to the outfit, and when we pulled up we noticed him looking around and he made the statement that the place was a little crude.

The first mistake he made was he had a red healer dog in the truck that we hadn't noticed, and when he let the dog out a fight had immediately ensued with a few of the ranch dogs.

He jumped in the middle trying to break it up before we could call the dogs off, and he ended up being bit two or three times.

We showed him where he would bunk down and where the tack room was so he could put his wood (saddle) on a stand as well as the rest of his gear, then showed him where he could put his horse.

We then told him we would take it easy the rest of that day, and he asked if we minded if he drove around the outfit some to acquaint himself with the layout.

About two hours had gone by and there was no sign of this fellow, so we decided to go look for him.

Just as we were walking out to the truck, we spotted him walking up the driveway. He told us that he had drove down to a set of pens and got stuck.

No surprise since he only had a two wheel drive truck, and it had rained for a few days previous.

When we reached the holding pens, we thought he was going to cry, the cows had been chewing the rubber on the truck bumpers and had pulled the rubber clear out of the drivers side window.

We pulled him out and when we got back to the ranch he said his insurance would cover it, but he was not a happy camper.

The following morning we woke him up at four thirty to be ready for breakfast, and he came staggering in looking like he hadn't slept much at all.

After breakfast we saddled up because we needed to move the cattle from one pasture to another, it was time to do so because they had been in the one pasture for thirty days and that was the lease deal with the BLM.

We had to ride up over a hill full of shale to get to the cattle and once near the top, this fellow's horse stepped into a small hole then slipped on all that shale and went down on his side with the rider.

Thank God that fellow and his horse were both OK, but he was upset because during the fall his brand new saddle and chaps got scuffed up pretty good.

Taking a closer look at his horse, we noticed that it had been shod long in the toe and short on the heal which didn't help matters, but more important we told him it needed to be fixed because in time that situation will cause the horse to have a tendon problem.

We finished moving the cattle to the other pasture then rode on back to the house. Once there this fellow began loading up his horse and all of his gear.

We asked him what he was doing and he replied, "I always thought I wanted to be a cowboy, but now I know better. I am going back to doing what I know best. I thank you guys for being willing to give me a chance, but this isn't for me."

That was the last time either one of us had ever seen that fellow.

My last sight of him was driving away in the middle of a dust cloud. I looked over to my partner and said, "I will always think of him as 'Hard Luck Henry'!"

And with that, we both began to laugh.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Horses Being Abandoned In England

A friend in Great Britain sent me a horrible news story about a pregnant mare that was dumped on a country road there.

When one thinks of horses being dumped along side a road in the U.S. these days, we usually think of horses that are being turned loose to fend for themselves. 

Yes, dumping horses along side a road to get rid of them is one way horse owners are cutting their cost. Instead of paying out to house, feed, and care for horses, it is not that uncommon for this to take place as the economy gets worse here in the United States.

The horse that was dumped along side the road in England was literally dumped after it died while giving birth.

Charlotte Ricca-Smith who writes for Horse & Country reported May 12th, that the mare was dumped on a quiet country lane in Kent.

The pregnant horse with the foal partially out was found by passers-by in Hunger Hatch, near Ashford in Kent on Sunday, May 3rd. 

The mare was found with a rope tied around her back legs and the head and feet of the foal could be seen.

"This was one of the most upsetting things I have ever seen," said RSPCA inspector Rosie Russon. 

She went on to say, "The horse clearly died in the middle of giving birth, before being dragged by her feet so she could be dumped in the country lane. She needed veterinary attention and help giving birth. She and her foal must have suffered a horrible and painful death. It is so sad."

One of the sad parts about this is that the RSPCA receiving in excess of 69,000 calls in the last three years concerning abused horses in England.

Yes, 69,000 calls! And yes, that only regarding horses. 

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is a charity operating in England and Wales that promotes animal welfare.

In 2012, the RSPCA investigated 150,833 cruelty complaints. A high proportion of these equines are being abandoned in Kent. The South East county received 1,242 calls in 2014, which is the second highest number in the country, after West Yorkshire.

"We and other welfare charities are struggling to cope with the number of neglected and abused horses and ponies we are seeing, and sadly there are thousands more which are feared to be at risk," said inspector Russon.

One horrific case took place in April when an emaciated yearling found covered in sores.

This horse's name is "Lara," and she was found tethered by her neck and chained to a patch of scrubland.

When she was found, the yearling was covered in sores and with "every bone of her body visible," the report said.

The RSPCA was alerted to the dying foal by a member of the public, who found her tethered by a chain around her neck in Essex.

Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic was called in to help, who reported on their Facebook page they had witnessed the "most awful of situations".

The Facebook post read, "A terrified little yearling, as pretty as a picture, tethered by her neck and chained to a patch of scrubland,. No water. No food. A trembling horse, kneeling to eat as she is so weak."

The filly had rubbed off nearly all her hair and was covered in sores and leeches. Her feet are also so long and deformed, which of course meant she has trouble walking.

The foal has been named Lara as the vet clinic said the rescue operation was akin to a Lara Croft mission, with a heavily pregnant vet nurse, slippy hills, police and pre-planned escape routes.

Lara weighs a mere 355 pounds. Yes, she weighs less than half of what her body weight should be. But according to the vets, thankfully she is a "most adorable darling" and has a good appetite.

And by the way, in April, a colt was found tied up in a similar way. 

"Keith" is said to be "such a gentle soul and really deserves looking after"

The report stated that the good-natured colt had been left tightly tethered on a roadside, with a severe wound on his hind leg.

Keith was found by the RSPCA, tied to a fence on Pershore Road in Worcester on April 8th. 

He had no food or water and the rope around his neck was "dangerously tight".

The piebald colt also had a wound on his hind right leg, which vets at Clent Hills Veterinary Group believe had been left untreated for up to two weeks.

"This is a very serious wound, and when it happened he was very lucky not to have damaged any major structures such as the joint, we are hopeful that he will react well to treatment,” said vet Claire Brown.

The RSPCA are trying to track down Keith’s owner, as the charity faces costs of up to $6300.00 for his treatment and boarding.
"We are keen to locate Keith's owner, or the people responsible for his care," said RSPCA chief inspector Lee Hopgood.

"Keith is such a gentle soul and really deserves looking after. We don’t know how he got the wound on his leg, but it is serious and we are now appealing to the equine community to assist us in rallying round to help with his care."

The vets treating Keith are pleased with his progress and hopeful he will make a full recovery.

Not all are lucky enough to make it after being found.

The young filly above was found with an injury to her hind leg so severe that she had to be put to sleep.
The RSPCA was called to the scene near Grantham, Lincolnshire on April 30th, after a passer-by reported seeing a pony struggling to stand.

"The location was extremely remote; there are no homes, farms or equestrian centres nearby, so it is clear this pony was deliberately left with no intention of return," said RSPCA inspector Ian Callingham.

"Her left hind leg was severely swollen to twice the size it should be, and three large deep holes that were bleeding and covered in maggots were clearly visible. It was terrible to see this young pony clearly in a huge amount of pain."

The wound had been attended to by the owner, as purple antiseptic spray had been used, and the mare was in good condition. It is thought the owner abandoned the filly because they could not afford veterinary treatment.

"It seems the poor pony was then dumped in a remote location where she would not be found, and left to die in severe pain," said inspector Ian Callingham.

Despite their best efforts, the young mare was euthanized on advice of the attending vet. And yes, to answer a question you are probably wondering about, because she was not micro-chipped.

Because of no micro-chip, she was found with no identification, and no way of locating her owner.

As for "Harry" above, well the RSPCA says he is "such a lovely old soul and is at a time in his life when he needs his owner the most"

The RSPCA is calling for any information on two ponies found abandoned and underweight in Southampton in early April.

An elderly chestnut gelding and young New Forest pony were found on land off the Ringwood Road, and had clearly been left to fend for themselves.

The only information the RSPCA has on the owner of these ponies – called Harry and Peanuts – is that she is a blonde haired woman called Jane.

The RSPCA charity has paid for them to see a vet, but the person responsible for their care needs to be found.

"We would really like to ask the strong local equine community if they could assist us in whatever way they can," said RSPCA inspector Penny Baker.

"The older horse, Harry is such a lovely old soul and is at a time in his life when he needs his owner the most. Heart-breakingly, it seems he hasn't received the care he needed."

As for new homes? Well, if they are not claimed within 21 days the RSPCA will be able to remove the ponies and find new homes for them.

“We would like to know if anybody recognizes the ponies, knows the owner or would be interested in offering a new loving home,” added inspector Penny Baker.

As cruel as these cases are, one would think things like this are not done very often. The sorry fact these days is that these sorts of crimes are not unusual. 

But please, after reading this, don't think it's just taking place in Great Britain. 

While just turning horses loose is taking place here in the United States, tying a horse up to a tree or bush and simply diving away is not out of the ordinary these days in Europe. 

In fact, according to some of my readers in France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy who write me, they say this thing of tethering a horse and just walking away to let it starve to death is happening more and more there.

Sure, there are those people who get a horse and realize that a horse was something they didn't have the know how to care for. Sure, there are folks who who have they simply do not have funds to feed and care for a horse.

But frankly, that is no excuse for tying them to a tree or a shrub along side a deserted road and simply driving off to let them die.

Most of the problem here is that some people should not be horse owners. Most do not have the experience or economic ability to do what is needed. 

And yes, while I can excuse poor feeding and care to uneducated, unknowing, inexperienced owners who are having a tough time support a family never the less a horse -- there is no excuse in the world for tying a horse up and knowingly allow that horse to die without food or water. 

While I have little respect for anyone who would drive their horse to a deserted road and set that animal free to forage for itself, I have absolutely no respect -- in fact, I can say I loathe -- anyone who would be so cruel as to starve an animal to death.

While economics is a factor to sell or simply find a horse rescue which will take a horse, abuse to the extent of that which was set upon Lara and Keith and Harry is totally inexcusable.

After being alerted to what is going on in England, I agree that this horse abuse must stop. I want to thank Horse & Country for this information.

And as for that scumbag who dumped a pregnant mare which had died with her foal, I can only hope there is a special place in Hell for a person like that.

And yes, that's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Native American Indian Folklore & Symbols -- The Bear

Native American Indian folklore might refer to bears as a brother, uncle, and even grandmother, including stories of bears becoming humans and vice versa. But there is a healthy respect for bears -- especially by tribes that live among bears. This is because bears of all sorts figure prominently in the mythology of nearly every Native American tribe. Bears were an important part of Native American Indian culture as various symbols of strength, hard work, and even great love. 

Many tribes considered the "Great Spirit" to often take on the form of a bear. Some tribes even called the bear "mother." White Bears were products of a recessive gene found in Black Bears and are now know as Kermode Bears. They were not polar bears. These white bears were known as spirit bears. 

Native American Indians believed they were gifts of the "Great Spirit" to remind people that they once lived in a land of ice and snow. The bear was seen as a hunter that knew the land.  Quick, big, and powerful, they were considered smart and brave while outfighting cougars and wolves. A Native American with the word bear in his name was considered to be an excellent provider as well as a powerful warrior. Bears were not seen as gods. But instead as mythical, magical, and even celestial gifts of God.

To Pueblo tribes, bears are considered one of the six directional guardians associated with the West and the color blue. The Zuni Indians ascribe healing powers to bears and carve stone bear fetishes to protect them and bring them luck. 

In most Native American cultures, one can't help but see that bears are considered a medicine being with impressive magical powers. In many tribes, bears play a major role in many religious ceremonies as symbols of strength and wisdom. A bear's claw was one of the talismans frequently included in medicine bundles, and warriors in some tribes wore necklaces of bear claws to bring them power and strength.

Sioux-style Bear Claw Necklace

OK, before someone writes to ask how anyone can, on the one hand, admire the bear, while on the other hand wear a talisman made of a part of a bear, remember that a talisman is believed to contain certain magical or sacramental properties which the wearer believes would provide good luck for the possessor or possibly offer protection from evil or harm. While it is OK to wear a bear claw, there were taboos regarding bears in different Native American tribes. One such taboo was to kill mother bears with their cubs.

Among the Innu Indians, it was taboo for children or unmarried women to eat bear meat. Some Apache tribes did not eat bears at all. It was also considered disrespectful and dangerous to insult bears. It was disrespectful to step on their scat or even utter their names outside of certain ritual contexts. 

A few Native American Indian cultures actually had Shaman or a Medicine Man who would dress in bear and other animal skins to take on an animal form. Imagine that!

Besides being seen as good medicine and healers in Native American folklore, bears are often portrayed as an enforcer figure who punishes those doing wrong. Bear personalities in folklore stories range from the wise and noble bear to being morally upright but somewhat stupid and gullible to being aggressive and intimidating. And of course, there are stories about the devoted maternal behavior of mother bears sacrificing themselves for their cubs or who adopted human children.

In most cases in Indian folklore, bears do not bother people who have not done anything wrong. But while some saw the bear as being noble, some tribes also tell stories about monsters resembling man-eating bears. Those tribes told stories of monster bears the size of elephants that would prey on innocent people and must be slain by heroes.

The Cherokee would sometimes portray bears as violent enemies of humans. But even though that is the case, the bear was still an important Clan animal to the Cherokees. 

Yes, bears are one of the most important and widespread Clan animals in Native American Indian cultures. Tribes with Bear Clans include the Creek whose Bear Clan is named Nokosalgi or Nokosvlke, the Chippewa whose Bear Clan and its totem are called Nooke, the Algonquian tribes such as the Mi'kmaq and Menominee, the Huron and Iroquois tribes. 

Bear Clans among the Plains Indians tribes are the Caddo and Osage, the Hopi whose Bear Clan is called Honngyam or Hona-wungwa, the Navajo and Pueblo tribes of New Mexico, and Northwest Coast tribes such as the Tlingit, Tsimshian, Nisgaa-Gitksan, and Salishan tribes. 

The bear was an important Clan crest on the Northwest Coast and can often be found carved on totem poles. And though some think of Native American Bear Clans as being only those in the West or Northwest, many Eastern tribes such as the Lenape and Iroquois have a Bear Dance among their tribal dance traditions.

Whether it is with Native American Indians or with Europeans going back thousands of years, bears are part of human culture. And yes, unlike the soaring grandeur of eagles, perhaps no other animal has stirred human fear than bears.

I have seen many bears here in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Of course, the black bears here are a lot smaller than the larger grizzly that I saw in Yellowstone National Park when I visited there. 

And yes, I have come face to face with a black bear in the middle of the night only once while camping years ago. It is not an event that I ever want to repeat. 

The night before, the bear entered our camp and rummaged through our supplies. It couldn't get a plastic tote box open, so it actually swatted it. The box was filled with pancake mix, sugar, powder milk, coffee, powder creamer, and bread. The box landed about 20 feet away, but the bear went after it. And yes, we gave him a wide berth and let it gorge himself, or herself, on the contents of the plastic tub which he finally pried open. 

After he, or she, finally left, my friends and I inspected the plastic tote box. The bear's claws punctured the plastic box. We found the holes bigger than one of my .45 caliber bullets. That's very impressive.

I then understood why Native American folklore says that a bear's claws can disembowel both man and beast with a single swipe of its huge paw. That big bear came back to raid our camp again the following night. 

But this time, instead of finding easy pickings, it found me sleeping next to our food containers armed with a pistol. The bear tossed aside a few boxes and our cooler, then growled only a foot or two above my head.  

It was then that I pulled my pistol and immediately let go of two rounds in the air. The roar of my 1911 pistol sent the bear running the other way. He was the same big cinnamon-brown color black bear from the night before.

The next day, while fishing, we met a family whose children were horrified in the middle of the same night when a bear -- probably the same one -- clawed and ripped its way into a tent where the children were sleeping. Their parents made the mistake of keeping food in the children's tent. Their parents heard the children screaming and started yelling and banging pots and pans to get the bag to leave -- it worked. When we met them, they were packing up their camp and leaving. The children were still visibly shaken. 

While some say bear attacks are rare, and those same people say that warnings about them create "unnecessary fear," I don't see anything excessive about being warned about things people just don't know about -- bear being one of those things.

And frankly, while bear attacks might be the case for someplace where bears are not present, for the places where bears are indeed present, it is smart to keep your distance and take precautions.

Most National Parks have warnings for a reason. For some unknown reason, there are those people out there who see black bears as being not a big deal. 

Many of those people see a 300-pound black bear as being "relatively benign." Of course, those same people have never had their car pried open, their camp raided, their children horrified, or their livestock killed by a black bear who couldn't find other sources of food. 

Yes, limited food sources are the number one contributing factor for black bears to feed on human crops and livestock. 

Crops are raided and eaten by these bears, especially during autumn when natural foods are scarce. Favored crops may include apples, oats, and corns. While Black bears are certainly not grizzlies, please don't think that black bears can't do extensive damage.

Don't think so. Just ask some living in parts of the Northwest where black bears are believed to strip the bark from trees to feed on the cambium. 

While not a widespread problem, livestock depredations by black bears occur mostly in the Spring. Though black bears have the capacity to and certainly have been known to hunt adult cattle and horses, they prefer smaller prey such as sheep, goats, calves, and pigs. 

They normally kill by biting the neck and shoulders, though they may break the neck or back of prey with blows from the paws. It is fairly easy to note the evidence of a bear attack from one of these "relatively benign" black bears. Evidence includes claw marks and is frequently found on larger animals' necks, backs, and shoulders. And yes, black bears have been known to go after pets. Dogs that are most prone to harass a bear are killed by black bears. A bear that is after the family dog has the potential to threaten human lives as well. 

Some bear species, such as the black bear, grizzly, and brown bears, are dangerous to humans, especially in areas where they have become used. We should make no mistake about the fact that all bears are physically powerful and are very capable of fatally attacking a person. We should not rely on the fact that they are shy and are easily frightened away for the most part. We should not depend on the fact that they will avoid humans. 

Even though that may be the case in most instances, where yes, banging a couple of pots and pans together can frighten a bear away, it is always recommended to give all bears a wide berth because they are behaviorally unpredictable.

That sort of healthy respect for bears, black bears, grizzlies, and brown bears, goes deep in Native American Indian cultures. Yes, it is true that Native American animal symbols, like the bear symbol, can vary in meaning from one tribe to another and across the cultural groups of North America. But it's fairly accurate to say that the symbols are portrayals of celestial bodies, natural phenomena, and some sort of spiritual guide because the qualities and traits of the animal are alike.

The bear symbol was important because it represented, as it still does in many tribes today, a protector, courage, physical strength, and even leadership. Bears are strong, agile, and quicker than most think. The meaning of the bear symbol signifies a good omen and conveys authority. 

While I don't know how many tribes still believe this, it is known that some tribes used to believe that it was possible to draw power from a bear by dreaming of one, or by killing one, or by eating parts of one. And yes, believe it or not, some tribes even believed that a warrior was strengthened if he just touched a bear.  All of these actions were said to make a warrior invincible. 

The Abenaki tribe believes that the stars of the Big Dipper are the Great Bear (Kchi-awasos). According to Abenaki mythology, the Great Bear is chased every night by three hunters. Yes indeed, bears seen as mythical, magical, celestial creatures were part of many of the tribes' beliefs. Besides day and night, American Indians used the Great Bear to explain the changing of the seasons. 

The story goes that the bear rises up in the spring, waking up the earth and brings things to life. As summer approaches, the bear runs across the top of the heavens avoiding hunters. Its hot breath flows across the land to make the world hot and sweaty. The Great Bear would lead hunters on great chases and was killed every fall. His blood dripped to earth, which showered the leaves, which of course, changed the colors of trees and the land to mainly red and orange. Through the winter, there is no life in the bear. That is seen the same as how the earth is cold and lifeless during winter. Lucky for us, the Great Bear is reborn every spring.  

And by the way, about those who wore bear claws? 

Many Indian tribes were scared of the grizzly bear. Yet, as amazing as it is, like the buffalo, they hunted grizzly for food and clothing. And yes, the claws were made into necklaces like the Sioux bear necklace pictured below.

Pawnee-style Bear Claw Necklace
These necklaces were considered to contain spiritual power. Wearing a bear claw necklace would mean protection and good health to the Indian wearing it. They were never traded, but they could be given as a special gift. And because most Native American Indian cultures believe that the bear has spiritual powers, even today, some believe wearing a bear claw necklace is good medicine, protection, and strength for the warrior wearing it.

Tom Correa