Unacceptable Harassment of Federal Employees at their Homes

When did it become OK to harass federal employees at their homes, for doing their jobs at work?

This is certainly a valid question given a recent noisy protest (with arrests) outside the home of a Denver-area GEO official, another outside an ICE official’s house in Long Beach, and more throughout the past three years, in particular.

What did the wives and children of those Federal employees have to do with the things their husbands/fathers do at work while following their directives? Why bring the families into this at all? What about the peace and quiet deserved by neighbors with no connection whatsoever? Why not protest peacefully by the actual office that does things that the protestors doth protest? These are rational questions, of course, and the minds of zealots are not rational.

This is not a free-speech issue. Of course it is and should be legal to protest on public right-of-way. What’s legal, however, isn’t always what’s morally right. This is also not necessarily a criminal issue (unless somebody gets violent, drunk, vandalizes, obstructs, or trespasses, as does happen sometimes). It’s not a left-right issue either—regardless of my observation that these sorts of disruptive behaviors at government employees’ personal residences emanate overwhelmingly from the left. Instead…

It is a matter of civility, respect and common decency, which apparently is not that common anymore. What’s next—pickets and screaming outside a federal judge’s house because of a sentencing decision some group doesn’t like? An NWS meteorologist’s house because of a bad forecast?

These thoughtless, rude, attention-seeking, inconsiderate, unkind ingrates have crossed a line by going to federal employees’ private homes, dragging neighbors, spouses and children into the sphere of their disruptive selfishness and shrill virtue signaling.

R.I.P. Sears

Numerous Sears stores have closed nationwide, more are in the process, and still more (all?) are soon to come. The one in Norman’s mall shuttered earlier this year. A friend posted earlier today about the one closing in his city soon. They are but the latest corporate dominoes to fall in the digital era, where online sales increasingly dominate, and where physical chains that can’t or won’t adapt their anachronistic business models are toppling, one after another.

So it goes. In capitalism, as it should work, clinging inertially to bad practices, lack of executive foresight, pissing off a lot of your customer base, and/or other forms of mismanagement, can doom the company. That is, unless you’re Bank of America, Citigroup, GM, AIG, etc., some Bush/Obama-era Beltway suits and ties deem you “too big to fail”, and the government unconstitutionally bails you out with taxpayer billions.

[Internal to government, clinging to bad models, lack of executive foresight, and/or mismanagement often are rewarded by pay-band increases or promotions, but that’s another story.]

Sears rightfully isn’t getting the Goldman Sachs bailout treatment, so…it shall perish. [Cue Ivan Drago: “If he dies, he dies.”]

Still, I’ll have some good memories of Sears. I grew up near a stand-alone, two-story store in Dallas, which was located at Ross and Henderson, on a site now occupied by a strip mall and Fiesta supermarket. We couldn’t afford much there, but it was a great place for my mom and I to get into some air conditioning (as we had none at home) and to see how the “other half” lived. It even had escalators. Escalators!

Occasionally they’d put on a deep clearance sale on clothing, and if the garments fit and we had a few bucks with us, we’d get some. That represented the rare occasion when I had new clothes; mostly we got what we wore from yard sales, thrift stores, church handouts, and throw-away piles. That Sears also had a candy shop next to the car-care center (clever!) and garden store. We couldn’t afford a car to take there for service, but on just a few occasions she treated me to a measured bag of candy or a chocolate malt. Good memories…

Below is a photo from sometime in the 1960s, of the East Dallas Sears that was built in 1947. I don’t know who shot it. But from 1970s/early-’80s familiarity alone, I know the view is from a sidewalk on the NE side of Henderson St. (Henderson and Ross each are oriented 45 degrees off true north), looking north. The main part of the store is at left, the garden center at right, and the auto center was on the other side of the same wing as the garden center. Ross Ave. is unseen at left. Greenville Ave (oriented true N-S) is behind these buildings. The entire lot was a big triangle formed by Greenville, Ross and Henderson. The candy store was inside that notch where the auto/garden wing attached to the main store.

As for the one in Norman, it’s where I signed up collegiately for my first credit card: a Discover, which is still my primary card today. Discover was started by Sears’ Dean Witter financial division that year, and was the first no-fee, “cash-back” card. I’m probably one of the original 10,000 or so cardholders.

Sears’ Craftsman tools were well-built, too; chances are you’ll find Sears versions in garages 100 years from now, still used and useful. I’ve got a few that my dad obtained secondhand…probably made in the ’60s and early ’70s. I’ve been cutting steep slopes on acreage for 12 years with the same Craftsman push mower, just replacing blades.

Walk around any sizeable early/middle 20th-century neighborhood, and chances are you’ll encounter a Sears house: a home built to specs with floor plans and materials supplied via Sears catalog, delivered onsite and constructed by the owner or local contractors. There were some in East Dallas; there are some on old areas of Norman.

The legacy of Sears won’t go away for a very long time, even as we witness the final, feeble gasps of the company today. R.I.P. Sears.

Silence is Not Complicity nor Agreement

Before the blood dried in the El Paso mass murder by a white supremacist, and both before and after the left-wing mass killer’s evil deeds in Ohio, I saw several social-media posts to the effect that “good people must not be silent”, or that “silence is complicity”. Such rhetoric commonly appears on other hot-button, emotionally charged weekly issues du jour.

Rubbish! Absolute garbage. Do not fall for such psychologically manipulative tactics (through which I see clearly as glass), nor feel compelled to speak out if you’d rather be quiet. Your reasons are yours alone and nobody else’s business, whether you’re still gathering facts, you’ve already spoken on the topic and wish not to be redundant, need more time to think, are taking quiet action of your own, prefer not to virtue signal as so many are, or you just have other/better things to do.

I want to assure you silence is OK, and you are absolutely, positively NOT “complicit” in any of the world’s millions and millions of problems just because you aren’t speaking out on any or all of them. I say this as someone who is outspoken on many issues, and has been for decades, including on Second Amendment, racial-supremacy and mental-health issues. Your silence is your concern and yours only, and others should just mind their own damn business.

Freedom of speech includes the freedom to not talk. [“Miranda rights” affirm this inherently Constitutional truth.] It also includes the right to wait until later (as I’m choosing to do), instead of being a virtue-signaling insta-pundit for the sake of clicks, likes, retweets, fawning attention, and platitudes from like-minded sycophants. It’s OK to wait days, weeks or more to speak out, or to never do so at all. [In fact, I have more respect for those who do wait awhile, cool down, and respond in thought-out, measured, rational ways, using facts, logic, and reason instead of emotion.] I want to empower you to think and act independently, on your terms and yours alone, not because peers or culture demand it.

It’s perfectly fine to stay silent, whether for a few days, weeks, months, or however long you want. Silence is NOT complicity, nor it is agreement. It’s simply…silence.

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