Optimism (Thanksgiving Grab Bag)

Really should start referring to the normal Grab Bags as news updates.

This week, we focus neither on recent news, nor on the latest outrage. Instead, as the year winds down, I find it more reasonable to look at the much more optimistic side of the news; the rare stories that, were they more commonly reported on, would destroy a large portion of the media narrative of a divided country. (Which is largely why they aren’t widely reported on; bad for business.) We also have a few updates to Midnight Run: Hope Within Hatred, to boot.

So while we are shifting focus this week (and frankly, also in December), we still have a fair amount to talk about.

1.) Patriotism. We start this week with what is either badly needed or seriously unnerving, depending on your view. A private (yes, private) school in Missouri has come up with a class in patriotism as part of its military science ciriculum. The class, which is named “Patriotic Education and Fitness,” will cover “modern military customs, U.S. politics and flag protocol and procedures. It will also teach rifle marksmanship, map reading, land navigation and rope knotting,” according to Bloomberg News.

At an event to announce the course, one of the school’s trustees, retired Marine Corps general Terrence Drake, said “I really think that if you give a person the tools of an education, the patriotic yearnings inside of themselves and the leadership tools that can be taught — they will be leaders.” Meanwhile, college President Jerry Davis said that “understanding the military now is more important than ever because we have 99 percent of the population being defended by 1 percent, who are in uniform. We should be more intentional about patriotic education, and from our point of view that needs to occur from kindergarten all the way through college.”

It is worth noting that this class is mandatory at the school.

2.) Daryl Davis. The Washington Post headline sets this next story up best: “A blues musician has a unique hobby: Befriending white supremacists.” It’s a long, detailed report on musician Daryl Davis’ efforts to essentially convince members of the Ku Klux Klan to leave the organization, something Davis has done for three decades. It’s a remarkable story, to be honest. So far, he claims to have convinced 40-50 people to leave the Klan, some of whom even gave him his robes. Davis says he eventually hopes to open a museum with the robes he has.

3.) Firearms. A Constable in Texas has proposed a new solution to helping mitigate mass shootings; abolishing all restrictions on licensed gun owners. Fort Bend County Constable Wayne Thompson, who is also a strong supporter of Constitutional Carry, believes that anyone who can pass a background check and is mentally fit should be able to carry a gun just about everywhere legally. His primary reason is one we have discussed here countless times; hardening soft targets. (We discussed church security briefly in Newtonian, after the Charleston shooting.

4.) Osteen. Updating Midnight Run: Hope Within Hatred now. Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church held a “Worship Relief” concern in October. The concert was free to attend, and apparently standing room only. Osteen said that “Hopefully this will be a small part to help people get back on their feet,” and that “as a church this is the time to shine brighter and to give people hope.”

Osteen took a fair amount of (fairly misguided) heat for not opening the church as a shelter while part of it was flooded. That discussion is over in Hope Within Hatred.

With that, we close out the third-to-last Midnight Run of 2017. Next up we will have one final news update (and from here on they will be termed as such. “Grab Bag” seems a bit too casual.), and we will adjourn for the year with a few final thoughts on the year, and what the major topics will be both for the Run and the firearms world in 2018.

Until then, have a happy Thanksgiving.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

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