Say what you will about the state of our politics—mud slinging on both sides of the fence, dirty tricks and accusations fly. But, generally, as Americans, we do not worry that our opinions will get us beheaded. Perhaps in our daily round, we forget that. We say what we like, believe what we want, worship as we see fit and raise our children in relative peace.
That is not to say we are without problems. But if you toss the problems of the world, including America’s, in a pile and had to choose, I doubt you might pick the problems of Iraq, Syria or Turkey. I doubt any of us would reach in for ebola-ravaged Sierra Leone or the systematic rape and torture of women and girls all over the world.
Gratitude for freedom is sometimes forgotten by Americans. We are complacent in our safety; our access to food, clean water and a life that even in poverty, ellipses a starving world.
While ISIS advances further into Iraq and Syria in it’s bloodthirsty lust for an Islamic State, we celebrate our holiday season replete with gifts, cards, candies, songs and Santa. On the Turkish-Syrian border, since November, the experience is public executions, crucifixions and beheadings. All in the name of creating an Islamic state across Sunni areas.
It started with blowing up a sacred tomb and escalates daily in an attempt to force others to adhere to Sharia Law. And we think Texas is too big for its boots? All Texas does is threaten to secede every now and then; not take over New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana and demand they wear ten gallon hats, worship at Evangelical mega churches and drill for oil.
The initial strategy was extortion and robbery. When that didn’t work, ISIS shifted to kidnapping school boys, raping and torturing women and girls as a matter of course and killing 322 members of the Albu Minr tribe because America sided with the UK.
Most recently ISIS militants have claimed the death of American Peter Kassig, the fifth Westerner beheaded by the group. Our airstrikes have done little except piss them off further.
Today, it is reported that a new tactic is underway: scorpions. Canisters filled with venomous scorpions are blasted into villages scattering the crustaceans and causing panic among the people. The intent appears to be creating fear. Evidently, scorpions are quite the hearty bunch.
Those of us who live on the surface of the sun know the panic of finding one and beating it to death with a broom or a shoe. Even the ex-head of chemical and biological weapons for the Army notes the scorpions survive being launched and crawl about creating havoc and widespread fear. These are not Arizona scorpions. These are the big, black pincher type of which nightmares are made.
So, while here in America, our nightmares revolve around Ebenezer Scrooge, for large parts of the world, fear looms ominous.
And because I live here, I can say that. Freedom.