Lessons That I Learned as A Military Kid

From the beginning of 1977 through the middle of 1981, I lived in Hanau, Germany. At the time, I was an only child, and my mother was stationed there due to her enlistment in the United States Army. Bear in mind that this was well before the internet. Not only was there no cable television, but there was only one channel with programming in English. Consequently, that was the channel that I watched.

During the last couple of years, though I watched my fair share of cartoons, the majority of what I watched involved news coverage of the Iran hostage crisis. Many will recall that a militarized group of Iranian college students took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and captured fifty-two American diplomats and citizens. The crisis dragged on for 444 days and, by virtue of the fact that I was immersed in it, it played a crucial role in shaping my psyche.

I was ten years old at the time, and my fascination with politics began as I watched the saga play out in real time. Given my predicament, being so far detached from home, family and friends, I realized that much like the American hostages in Iran, I was a stranger in a foreign land. However, something beautiful happened during this time in my life. The other military children and I united and banded together around those things that we had in common. In short, we had to find the common in order to maintain some semblance of sanity and normalcy. Little did I know that those experiences in repeatedly finding the common would ultimately hone a very necessary life skill (i.e., the ability to relate to people who appear, on the surface, to be different than I am). I would submit that this particular skill is necessary now more than ever.

So many find themselves in the echo chamber, where all beliefs mirror their own, that any belief, no matter how unmoored it may be to reality, takes root and spreads like wildfire. To that point, look no further than the Congresswoman from Georgia, who asserts, with a straight face, that there are lasers in space causing wildfires in California. Such an assertion would be laughable if it weren’t so terribly unfortunate.

As citizens, we rely upon individuals, like the referenced representative, to travel across the country, and to gather in order to legislate in our best interests. Thereafter, it was envisioned by the Founders that those chosen as representatives would return home, having accomplished tasks that benefit our state, specifically, and our country as a whole. As I consider the numerous issues that currently beset our country, I cannot say that we have the luxury to focus energy, time, or taxpayer dollars on such drivel as the Congresswoman is spewing.

Unfortunately, we live in a world so filled with vitriol and political gamesmanship that Democrats and Republicans can’t agree that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. And, if they cannot agree upon a common nexus of facts, it is truly impossible for them to address the problems that everyday citizens face. In fact, the record reflects that each of the most recent Congresses has passed less legislation than the one that preceded it. Rising healthcare costs, stagnant wages, wage inequities between the sexes and the races, failing infrastructure, deficiencies in education, and Covid, among other things, are issues that will not solve themselves. They will only be solved when we silence the noise and focus with laser-like intentions (pun intended) on common problems that require common sense solutions.

Each and every day that the 52 Americans spent as captives in Iran was a day that required introspection and deliberation by our political leaders. Each of the 444 days was nothing short of a life-or-death situation. The stakes were high then. They remain high. We were equal to the task then. Likewise, we are equal to the task now. But we must go forward, with purpose, as one nation. For, as it is written, “The double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

Curtis R. Joseph, Jr

The views and opinions expressed in the My Opinion article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Grant Parish Journal. Any content provided by the authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.


Biden Administration Targets Oil and Gas

By Royal Alexander/Opinion

The false religion of climate change appears to trump every other consideration but the Constitution may provide relief

President Biden issued a series of executive orders on his first day in office including two that constitute a direct attack on oil and gas.  Louisiana is one of the states that will bear the brunt of it.

The president enacted a 60-day ban on new oil and gas drilling leases and permits on federal lands and waters, prominently including the Gulf of Mexico where roughly 17 percent of America’s crude oil is produced.  The president also halted a permit for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that is ultimately designed to run from Texas to Canada.  These actions will destroy tens of thousands of jobs in Louisiana and hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide.  It also weakens and undermines the relationship with our ally, Canada.

Regarding the ban on new leases and permits, we are acutely and painfully aware from the BP oil spill that the oil and gas industry does not operate in a vacuum and the drilling moratorium put on new leases and permits drastically interrupts the industry as a whole and specifically the creation of oil and gas jobs.   It will also require America, which had become a net exporter of crude oil under the Trump Administration, to perilously begin to rely once again on foreign oil.

Regarding the Keystone XL pipeline, we must note that the Obama State Department, on 5 separate occasions, determined that the pipeline would have no material effect on greenhouse gas emissions.  The plan for the pipeline is to transport approximately 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the oil sands in Alberta Canada to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast.  None of this mattered.  The Obama Administration still rejected the permit and joined the Paris Climate accords. 

For two decades, America has led the world in the reduction of energy-based emissions because, among other reasons, highly efficient and technologically advanced shale hydraulic fracturing has replaced coal in power production.  However, none of this will matter if the concern is keeping fossil fuels in the ground because neither Russia nor China, for example, will ever truly abide by a restriction on emissions even as Russia now undertakes an enormous exploration project in the Arctic and China moves full speed ahead with its fossil fuel development.  Under the accord, China is not even required to cut its emissions for ten years which there is absolutely no reason to believe it will do then.

Perhaps most remarkable is that pipeline owner, TC Energy, (formerly TransCanada) and the unions themselves worked diligently to persuade new Biden Administration officials not to kill the pipeline by highlighting the fact that the pipeline’s benefits include over 10,000 American union construction jobs, the fact that the steel pipe used was made in the U.S., the deal included the pixie dust of a $10 million Green Job Training Fund as well as 100% renewable power being used to operate the pipeline. Didn’t matter.  So, TC Energy announced layoffs last week.

I am hopeful that TC Energy sues the Biden Administration over the rejection of the permit because I believe that the U.S. Constitution gives Congress, not the executive branch/president, the power over foreign trade and commerce and this reversal violates the due process rights of TC Energy.

The views and opinions expressed in the My Opinion article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Grant Parish Journal. Any content provided by the authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.


Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award Presented to LDWF Sergeant Scott Dupre

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council presented the 2019 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award to Sergeant Scott Dupre of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division.

The Council’s Officer of the Year award acknowledges service above and beyond duty requirements and recognizes distinguished service, professionalism, and dedication to enforcing federal fishing regulations in the Gulf of Mexico. Nominees may be submitted from each of the five Gulf State Law Enforcement agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard, and NOAA Fisheries’ Office for Law Enforcement.

Sergeant Dupre has led and assisted with numerous federal fisheries cases throughout his career. He has vast knowledge of state and federal fishing Regulations and he has made cases for shrimping violations, improper license and permits, and for possession of undersized or out of season fish.  In 2019, Officer Dupre made a case in federal waters that cited a captain for shrimping without a federal permit, not abiding by federal shrimp trawl tow-time regulations, and for violating the Endangered Species Act by being in possession of a sea turtle and two bottle nose dolphin skulls.

He is highly praised for his professionalism and for his interview and investigative skills. His good rapport with the public and his collaborative work with other agents makes him easy to work with and successful in his career. “His work ethic is above average and his incredible drive to apprehend violators separates him from his peers.” Said Captain Jeff Boyd of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Law Enforcement Division “Our department is thankful for all of his hard work and we are lucky to have him working to protect the fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico.”


STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: ALC MEMBERSHIP ON THE RISE!

By: Kevin Smith – ALC Communications

We are pleased to report a surge in individual logger membership applications. ALC is the only national organization solely dedicated to representing the rights and interests of independent loggers and log truck contractors (members) on a national level. ALC combines the power of its members with state and regional logging associations across the country to impact our industry positively and pro-actively by sharing the benefits of education, training, networking, research, promotion, and legislative advocacy.

In addition to our exclusive member rebates, access to annual meetings, and being a part of the preservation of logging, log truck driver safety training is now included in your ALC membership. The words “safety training” is often a bit taboo for loggers, but the unfortunate reality is that most loggers are just one wreck and a billboard lawyer away from going out of business. That is why safety training for log truck drivers has never been more important. Thus, ALC members now have access to 30+ online safety training courses that focus specifically on transportation of forest products.

Members can access training courses at any time using a smart-device or computer with internet access. A detailed record of completed courses, the training material used for the training, the date and time completed, and a training certificate is available for each course completed through the online training platform. This information can be made available to insurance companies, business owners, and logger associations. The convenience of “on-demand” driver safety training will save time and money, allowing more time for productivity while complying with governmental and insurance carrier mandates. If you are already a member, please contact us and a link will be provided to you for access.

Lastly, we have had several inquiries regarding the logger relief application process, but we still do not have any new information. The ALC along with state/regional associations are working together to ensure that all affected logging and log hauling businesses, both big and small, are included in the logger relief package. The moment we have more information, we will immediately email out an update.

The American Loggers Council is an 501(c)(6) not for profit trade association representing professional timber harvesters throughout the United States. For more information please contact the American Loggers Council at 409-625-0206, or americanlogger@aol.com, or visit our website at http://www.amloggers.com.


Remember This? The Perfect Crime

By Brad Dison

On the afternoon of January 6, 1995, McArthur Wheeler walked into a bank in the Swissvale borough of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to make a cash withdrawal.  However, Wheeler had no account at the bank.  

Wheeler had planned the robbery carefully.  He learned of a chemical which would render his face invisible.  His whole plan hinged on the use of the chemical, so he devised a test.  He purchased a small amount of the chemical and returned to his home.  He carefully smeared the chemical on his face.  His eyes teared up as a side effect of the chemical.  Wheeler looked straight into a Polaroid instant camera and pressed the button.  The camera ejected a single instant photo.  He shook the photo as to quicken the development process.  Within seconds, an image began to appear.  To his amazement, Wheeler did not appear in the photo.  It only showed the wall behind him.  He watched the photo for a short time and expected to see his image appear at any second.  Wheeler never appeared in his test photo.  With his new discovery, Wheeler would change the remainder of his life.        

On the afternoon of January 6, Wheeler smeared the chemical on his face and headed toward the bank in the Swissvale borough.  He wore gloves to ensure that he would leave no fingerprints, but he wore nothing to cover his face except the chemical.  He carefully watched to see whether or not anyone looked at his face.  Just as before, his eyes teared up.  No one looked at him.  Wheeler entered the bank brandishing a semiautomatic pistol.  He ordered the teller to put all of the money in a bag.  The teller complied.  Wheeler glanced around the bank’s lobby and looked directly at the security cameras.  Wheeler was unconcerned because his face was invisible.  A minute or two later, Wheeler ran from the bank with a bag full of money.  He had made his withdrawal.

The first bank robbery went so smoothly that Wheeler decided to try his luck with another bank.  He drove for about twenty minutes until he reached a bank in the Brighton Heights neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  He smeared more of the chemical on his face just in case some of it had worn off.  His actions in the Brighton Heights bank were essentially identical to those in the Swissvale borough bank.  He had made another successful withdrawal.

Wheeler was euphoric.  He had just robbed two banks and gotten away with it.  As he drove, he watched his rear-view mirror for police cars.  He watched side streets for policemen ready to pounce.  He watched for roadblocks in front of him.  He heard sirens and saw policemen heading toward the banks, but none of them paid Wheeler any attention.  Not wanting to try for a third bank, Wheeler returned to his home in the city of McKeesport, Pennsylvania.

Wheeler watched the news that night and learned that detectives were searching for the robber whom witnesses described as being 5 feet 11 inches tall, about 275 pounds, and wearing a blue parka.  He was relieved that the news segment did not include any photos or even a sketch artist’s image.  

For days, Wheeler’s heart raced when he heard a siren in the distance or saw a policeman.  January passed into February, February passed into March, and March passed into April.  Wheeler thought he had pulled off two perfect bank robberies.  For reasons unknown, Wheeler did not rob any other banks.  

On April 19, Pittsburgh Crime Stoppers Inc. broadcast a segment on the two bank robberies during the 11 o’clock news and asked that anyone with any information contact their tip line.  Within minutes of the broadcast Pittsburgh detectives received tips which identified Wheeler as the bank robber.  Within an hour of the broadcast, detectives arrested Wheeler.  

Still confident that he could persuade detectives of his innocence, Wheeler sat across from Sergeant Wally Long of the robbery squad in an interrogation room.  He denied having any involvement in the robberies.  Sergeant Long continued questioning Wheeler, but Wheeler was adamant that he was not their man.  The detective explained that he had been identified from surveillance photos which were taken by security cameras at both banks.  Wheeler assumed they were bluffing and continued to deny his involvement.  Finally, Sergeant Long slid several photos across the table.  Wheeler was in disbelief.  He thumbed through several pictures which showed his face in perfect detail.  “But I wore the [chemical].  I wore the [chemical]!”

Sergeant Long was puzzled by Wheeler’s response and asked him to explain what he meant.  During his explanation, Wheeler inadvertently confessed to both bank robberies.  He told of his learning about the chemical which would make him invisible, testing the chemical with the use of a polaroid camera, planning the bank robberies, and successfully pulling off the heists.  Within months, Wheeler was convicted of bank robbery in federal court.  Detectives were never able to fully explain how the photograph from the polaroid instant camera failed to capture Wheeler’s image.  They surmised that he bumped the camera when he pressed the shutter button, which moved the camera just enough not to capture his image.  The chemical Wheeler thought would render him invisible was nothing more than… lemon juice.

For more Real Stories about Real People …with a Twist, get your copy of “Remember This?” wherever books are sold.           

Sources:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 7, 1995, p.12.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 21, 1996, p.37.


Notice of Death February 2, 2020

WINN:
Nancy Ricketts
November 19, 1955 – February 01, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 6 at 1 pm at Southern Funeral Home

NATCHITOCHES:
Robert Davis
February 1, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Gerald Wayne Roberts
December 07, 1942 – February 01, 2021
Service: Thursday, February 4 at 10 am at Bethany Baptist Church in Marthaville

Ronnie G. Edwards
January 28, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Ryan Brown
December 12, 1990 – January 24, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Marquita Nash
December 21, 1985 – January 25, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Edward West
February 1, 1964 – January 20, 2021
Arrangements TBA

SABINE:
Aleta McMillian Burr
August 17, 1933 – February 1, 2021
Service: Wednesday, February 3 at 10:30 am at Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel