Monday, October 29, 2007

What To Do About Iran?

Have you had enough saber-rattling yet?

I have.

With all of the talk flying left and right, you would have to conclude that either Iran is the most dire threat to world peace, and the security of the United States, or that an American invasion of Iran is in the works, and isn't far off.

Both of those assertions are wrong.

Those on the right... you know, the clods that get their news from FOX, believe that Iran poses a grave threat to the United States and we need to decisively "do something" about it. The leaders of this particular lunatic fringe are none other that idiot-in-chief, George W. "Mission Accomplished" Bush...

... and
Dick "I'll shoot you in the f***ing face" Cheney. Many of the people that come down on the "Iran is a major threat" side argue that military might is the way to go to keep Iran it it's place.

On the other side of the argument, you have peaceniks who believe that talking out your problems will ease and soothe all parties, and if we talk long enough, everything will be fine, and everyone can burn patchouli incense and drink girly coffee drinks together in peace. This fringe element gets their news from the Whole Earth Catalogue, and from the crystals around their necks... they don't have a leader, because herd animals seldom have a central figure.

At the center of all of this, is this drivel-spouting dope, Iran's pain-in-the-ass-figurehead-of-a-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

President Ahmadinejad has said that it wants to develop nuclear power for peaceful means. Uh-huh. You know? I might be crazy for saying this, but I just don't believe it. Why don't I?, because we say the same thing here in the U.S., and when you get right down to it, having the ability to make nuclear weapons means that you'll make them.

So where does all of this lead us? It leads to this: As much as we'd like to do about keeping Iran from going nuclear, there isn't really much we CAN do about it.

Militarily, we can't invade Iran. Our Army is busted and needs to be rested, the Marine Corps is ready to fight (of course), but is too small to make it happen with success. In short, my friends, as with all strategy, it's about the math. The numbers can't be crunched to come up with a successful plan for an invasion, so that's out.

The only viable military action is an air campaign to destroy the suspected locations of Iranian nuclear sites. Would those strikes be successful? Given our aviation capabilities, I am certain that it would.

So "what's the problem?"

The problem is the issue of unintended consequences and a potential disaster for the United States. Iran is a big country, and isn't really all that weak, when compared to it's neighbors. Do you really think that an aggrieved and belligerent Iran will be good for the region?, especially at a time when we would have difficulty challenging a major thrust at one of their neighbors?

Well, since the nuclear genie is one that is likely to find it's way into Iranian hands, the United States needs to be thinking smarter. We are going to need to guarantee the security of Iran. Promise to not invade their country and not to seek "regime change", blah blah blah.

In return, the Iranians get this: "If you even think about getting stupid outside of your borders, we'll incinerate you."
I really don't see what else there is to do.

I don't believe that a theocratic nation like Iran will sit down and talk in good faith. We can't believe their protestations about peace etc... so we either drop bombs on their heads with some potentially worse-than-Iran-with-nuclear-weapons scenario developing into a regional war, or we flat out threaten them into good behavior.

None of the answers are good, but that's where we are.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Thought (for which I cannot take credit)

The Only difference between tattooed people and non-tattooed people, is that people with tattoos don't really care that you don't have any.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Food: Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

A little over a year ago, while strolling around World Showcase Lagoon, at Disney World's EPCOT, a friend of mine told me about his method of stuffing a tenderloin. If you like to cook, you probably know that stuffing a pork tenderloin is sort of demanding, especially if your skills with cutlery aren't what they should be. My friend gave me an idea that until recently, I hadn't put into practice... I decided that it was time to make it happen.

Pre-heat the oven to 375.

The first thing I did was to put on some music, because you know that Chef Gunfighter likes to get his groove on when he cooks. Yes, what you see is correct, I bought that 70's R&B collection from Target. Don't laugh, the play list is very cool. It starts with that all-time favorite song, made for rubbing bellybuttons, the Marvin Gaye classic: "Let's Get it On".

Anyway, I was going to use a mushroom stuffing for this tenderloin, and got started by chopping a bunch of chives and setting them aside.

Next, I chopped a small onion, and a package of fresh, white button mushroom. I sauteed the onions until they were clear, then added the chives and mushrooms.

Continue to saute together until the mushrooms release their liquids, and reduce by about 80%, add a dash of minced garlic here (if you like garlic), and a half teaspoon of ground caraway seeds. Salt & pepper to taste.

Once finished add a tablespoon if bacon bits (use real bacon). Stir, drain well, and set aside in a mixing bowl. Add a tablespoon (or two) of high quality mustard, (I used the full-grain brown mustard).

I have a small family, so using a large tenderloin is seriously wasteful, so instead, I used a rather small (and therefore inexpensive), pre-trimmed, tenderloin from the supermarket for this dish.

OK, knives out! Lay the tenderloin on the cutting board, and using your free hand press down at the end of the tenderloin where you are going to begin your cut. Holding your knife flat, cut a flap in the tenderloin like you see here.

Next, make another cut, similar to the first, which will leave you with two flaps that open from the center like wings.

Spread the stuffing on the center portion.....

...and then close the flap.

Repeat until you are finished.

Pause here to wash your hands, which will be a real mess by now. Pour yourself a glass of red wine. You know, the kind that I like, cheap... usually from a bottle with a screw top. Hey, I'm a Philistine... sue me.

OK, take a minute or two to do some dancing. If you have a partner, great! If you don't have anyone to dance with, dance alone!. Remember what I said about getting down with your bad self, it's important!

OK, calm down, have a last sip of your wine, and put your tenderloin in the oven... bake at 375 for until finished... you'll need a meat thermometer to determine doneness, because different sized cuts of meat require different cooking times.

When you are finished, it'll look something like this:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Put on some good music (I recommend Andrea Boccelli), and serve with pasta & veg.... and more wine.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Youth Sports & Idiot Parents

As you know, my youngest daughter, who is eight, plays soccer in our local league. She enjoys the game and is fairly good at it, which is why I refer to as soccergirl here at my blog. You also know that I coach her team.

As much as I know that soccergirl has fun playing soccer, I confess that I get a lot out of it, too... and I don't even really like soccer. Sadly, Dr. Einstein was every bit as correct socialogical world as he was in the realm of physics, and for all of the fun that I derive from our soccer league, it is, in equal parts, a pain in the ass.

This Saturday, Soccergirl's team, The Dynamite, played a joyful game of soccer. They played with determination and toughness, they played with a new found maturity. I swear that you could almost hear the mental "click". You know what I'm talking about, right? the mental click that anyone who has ever taught a group of students knows about. You know? The moment that you see the light come on and you know that you have made a breakthrough. Well, while the team was having that moment on the field, I was having a rapturous time on the sideline... and so were the girls' families.

So, you're asking yourself what this has to do with idiot parents?

Read on.

Before our game started, the youthful referee (who was probably 13) came to me and said "Coach, could you please talk to your team's parents before the game? We had some problems during the last game, and I don't want any parents getting out of hand." Sadly, I already knew what he was talking about. One of the teams that played immediately before us, was the culprit, and I'm not surprised. This team is comprised of some of the most obnoxious sports parents that I have ever encountered. They shout inappropriate comments to opposing players (remember, these are 8-9 year old children we are talking about here), and they try to intimidate the referees, who are just kids themselves.

I was really pissed off, but I kept my cool, and talked to "my parents" before the game started. We were playing a team coached by a guy that has a similar phliosophy to mine, in that we know it is about fun, fitness and learning for the kids.... not about winning at all costs.

My team won the game... mostly due to great playing by all of my girls, but especially soccergirl, D, and E, and a couple of others.

The girls played with patience, maturity and smarts. They were tough. They didn't quit when they were tired. It was all I could do not to explode with pride, all over the field when that last whistle blew and my warriors ran off the field to high-five with me and their parents.

Why would anyone... especially a parent, want to wreck that by acting like an ass?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

In Memoriam

On November 10th last year, I wrote about the Marine Corps Birthday, and the October '06 combat death of several young Marines from the 1st battalion, 6th Marine regiment. One of the Marines that I listed in that post was Corporal Nicholas Manoukian, age 22.

A couple of weeks later, I was contacted by a woman named Mary, who had read the post. As it turns out, Mary was Corporal Manoukian's mother. Mary and I have emailed back and forth several times over the last year, and in her emails, she told me about her son... her only child. In our most recent correspondence, I told her that, with her permission, I was going to write about her son again, on the anniversary of his death. She graciously said yes, and provided me with some facts about her son's life and some pictures.

When Mary emailed me the first time, I promised her that I would never forget her son, and that I would keep him, and Mary, too, in my prayers, and I have. So, if you will permit me, I am going to tell you a little bit about who Nicholas Manoukian was. It is my hope that in some small way, I can help keep Nicholas' memory alive.

Mary told me the details of her son's enlistment, and of some apparent deception by Nicholas' recruiter who promised that her son wouldn't have to serve in combat. I can't speak to that issue, but it hurts me more than I can tell you that my Corps now has to resort to subterfuge to gain new members. In my day, the Corps turned away more than half of the people who tried to enlist.

Please read on, I want to tell you a little bit about this good young man.

Nick was born on August 31st, 1984, and was adopted at one year of age by Mary and Isaac Manoukian, of Lathrup Village, Michigan. Nick was the light of his parent's eyes. The Manoukians were a close family, and Nick and Mary drew closer still when Isaac died when Nick was 12 years old.

When Nick was 14 and in Junior High School he met a girl named Danielle. By the time Nick was 15, he and Danielle were an item. Although they would drift apart, later, their meeting would be very important to them later in life.

Nick was interested in many things, including playing the drums, writing poetry, hockey, snowboarding, art and cooking. Nick was also, by all reports, a great hugger! When Nick would see his mother, he would give her big, rib-crushing hugs.

Nick Graduated from Royal Oak Kimball High School, in 2003, and spent some time in college studying art before he joined the Marine Corps in 2004, sometime in this period, he and Danielle rekindled their relationship.

Corporal Manoukian deployed to Iraq the first time in March of 2005, and was involved in the second Battle of Fallujah.

Nick survived this deployment, but his unit, the first battalion, 6th Marine regiment was slated to deploy to Iraq again in September of 2006.

Before going back to Iraq, Nicholas had some things to do, so in July of 2006, he went back to Michigan on leave and married Danielle! After a too-short period, Nicholas was back with his unit, which deployed to Anbar province in September of 2006.

Manoukian had only been back in Iraq for a month when he was killed. His Humvee was stuck by a roadside bomb, while his unit was conducting combat operations.

Nicholas left behind a loving family: His mother, Mary Manoukian Calhoun, stepfather Gary Calhoun, his wife, Danielle Manoukin and stepson Nico Mullen.

Today, it has been a year since Nicholas' death, and his family still grieves. I won't talk about noble sacrifice and patriotism here, today... just about one man and his family... a family misses their son, husband, and father.

Take a moment to grieve with them.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Some Thoughts on Politics

A few thoughts on the world of politics from where I sit. Please note that it is Friday, and I am still semi-sick, so forgive me if I am less than artful in my presentation.

Item: Larry Craig refuses to resign from the Senate, citing his appeal to a judge to have his conviction, based on admission of guilt rescinded. Senator Craig does not allege that he was beaten, coerced, or enforced, or otherwise "made" to confess to a crime... he just wants to "clear his name" . Well, a Minnesota judge said that since Craig wasn't alleging that there was any misconduct on the part of the airport cops, that there was no reason to grant the appeal.

Craig is appealing again.


Note to Senator Craig: You are guilty, sir. Face it. You concealed your arrest and admission of guilt from the Senate, in contravention of Senate rules. You know that you won't withstand the ethics investigation, so step up, be a man, and resign!

Item: What the fuck is wrong with the Democratic party? Do we smell so much blood in the water for the next election cycle that we are bent on nominating one of the sodding idiots that gave George Bush permission to invade Iraq?

Not with my help, pal.

Item: The Prince William County (Va.) Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of enacting a resolution to use County employees to deny use of County facilities to those persons who cannot produce documentation of their legal residential status in the United States. Further, the County police will begin a program of checking the immigration status of any individual who is suspected of any crime, including traffic violations.

Alright. I want everyone that is reading this, to dig into your pockets and show me your documents that give you the right to reside or work in the United States.

I'll wait.

Nobody? That's what I thought. This piece of legislation is racist. In addition to being racist, it won't stand a legal challenge. Further, the county doesn't have the money to really enforce the new ordinance. "So... why do it?" you ask? Because our next election is just over two weeks away, and what better way to cement the electorate than with a good ol' "us against THEM", fear-mongering campaign? It's f***ing disgusting.

Item: The newly installed chief of Air Force acquisitions was recently found dead in his home, of an apparent suicide. The appointment of the retired Air Force officer was under investigation for ethics violations due to the fact that he had been awarded a contract by a firm with deep ties to the Air Force. The purpose of the contract was to give him some working cash in the time between his retirement and the start of his appointment... a period of approx. 4 months. The problem is that the gentleman in question was paid a considerable sum of money... but did no work for the company.


Item: Happy Hour plans are underway, here in DC. If you didn't get the memo, let me know. (Hey, in DC EVERYTHING is political!)

Item: George W. Bush vetoed the expansion of S-Chip. If you aren't outraged by this administration, you aren't really paying attention.

Have a good weekend!


Monday, October 15, 2007

Some Days You Just Have To....

...back away.

No, I don't mean from blogging... I'm addicted, but what I meant was that from time to time I have to stop talking about Domestic Violence, Pictures, dog rescue, Larry Craig, George Bush, and the myriad things that I talk about here.

Sometimes you have to stop talking about soccer, rugby, sex, racial and sexual bigotry in the church... and outside of it. Sometimes I want need do do what I am doing right now: Sometimes you just need to take a minute to get down with your (seriously) bad self!

(and believe it, I am a bad MoFo!, just like Shaft!)

So! You know this song, get out of your chair, and shake your tail feather a little bit.

You'll be glad you did.

That goes for you, too!

Yeah, you... the repressed lady in the Midwest!

Sing it! "Uh! It's gettin' hot in here!"

Lighten up, Francis! I'll bet even the ordained clergy reading this are dancing!

C'mon... You people in Australia... do it upside down! You New Zealanders, you friggin' blew the Rugby World Cup (and got beaten by FRANCE????) you blokes NEED to dance... do the Haka or something. Crikey!


You, too, Canucks... you know I love you, and there is probably 14 feet of snow in Saskatoon, but dance anyway! Do it like Jean Chretien (because you KNOW Stephen Harper can't dance!)

"I like when you uh!-uh! With a little bit of uh-uh!"

See you tomorrow!


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Book Review: The Religion

A few weeks ago, I finished what is probably the best book that I have read all year... maybe in the last few years. The book was: The Religion, by Tom Willocks.

This book takes place in 1565, when "The Grand Turk" , also known as Suleiman The Magnificent, ruler of the Ottoman Empire, had decided that to ensure the spread of Islam, the Knights of St. John, also known as The Knights Hospitaller, must be dislodged from the Mediterranean Island of Malta.

As this historically true event played out, the fictitious Captain Mattias Tannhauser, a European-born former Janissary soldier in the army of the Sultan, is convinced to bring a high-born Maltese Contessa, Lady Carla, to the island, despite the siege, to find her 12 year old bastard son... a son sired by one Brother Luvodico, a highly-placed Priest of the Inquisition.

What Tannhauser doesn't realize is that his reputation as a military commander has proceeded him, and he has been duped into going to the island so that he can give good military advice to the Grandmaster of the Knights of St. John, Jean De La Valette, to help them withstand the siege.

Predictably, Tannhauser is able to spirit Lady Carla, and her son, Orlandu, off of Malta, but not before falling in love with Carla, and killing Luvodico.

The plot of the book isn't exceptionally intricate, which is appropriate, since this book is and adventure, not a mystery. There are several factors here that make this book and exceptionally good one: The first (for me) is that the subject matter, the religious-military orders of the era, between the 12th and 17th centuries, is an area of particular interest to me. The second is that the author has really done his homework here, in that he not only was able to place this important battle in the right time and place, but he was able to describe that motives and actions of the characters in proper cultural terms. The third important thing for me was the description of 16th century combat and siege warfare. Willocks doesn't gloss over the unholy brutality of personal combat, and the gruesome wounds caused by the weapons of the day.

If you have an interest in history, you will enjoy this book. If you have an interest in grand adventure, you will enjoy this book. If you have an interest in some of the skulduggery of the 16th century Church you'll really like this book.

This book has it all: Violence, history, intrigue, and sex... and it's well-written!

What's not to like?

If you read it, please tell me what you think.


Monday, October 8, 2007


They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I suppose it depends on what the picture is, who took the picture and why, and the person who sees the picture... but I digress.

I want to try a bit of a writing exercise, so I'd like you, my fabulous readers, to send me a picture or ten, without any comments, and I'll pick some and write about them... let's see if I can come up with a thousand words.




"For every one hundred men you send us,
Ten should not even be here.
Eighty are nothing but targets.
Nine of them are real fighters;
We are lucky to have them, they the battle make.
Ah, but the one. One of them is a warrior.
And he will bring the others back."


These days, the term "warrior" is bandied about with ease. Too bad so few really know what it means.

Friday, October 5, 2007

How Far Would You go For Your Kids?

By the time you have read this far, those of you who are parents have already answered that question, haven't you? You'd do pretty much anything for your kids, wouldn't you? I can't think of any way to get more seriously hurt than get between a parent and their child... especially if that child is threatened with harm.

As a parent... particularly, as a father, I take the safety and protection of my children as a most solemn obligation... just the suggestion that someone might ever consider harming my child will put a murderous look on my face.

How far would I go for my kids?

I'll tell you how far: Simply put, there is no place on the planet that could keep you safe if you ever harmed or even attempted or planned to harm one of my children. I'd kill hurt, gruesomely, any person who tried to hurt my girls.

I think you know that this isn't hyperbole when it's coming from me.

Having said all of that, there is a wider question being asked here, isn't there? When we are asked, "How Far Would You go For Your Kids?", that could mean many things besides protecting our children from harm. Let's have a chat about parental ethics, shall we?

We all want our children to succeed, don't we? We all want them to achieve material success in life, don't we? We want them to be well educated, we want them to be secure in themselves, we want them to excel at sports and academics, and in everything, don't we?

Of course we do! We're parents!

But how do we do this? Do we help them achieve excellence, or do we do it for them?

Let's start here: How many of you, in order to maximize the kind of recognition your daughter will get at Girl Scouts, will haul boxes and boxes of cookies to your office/church/playgroup/pilates class/poker night and push those evil things on your friends? You'd do that, wouldn't you? No harm done, right?... I mean EVERYbody loves Thin Mints and those friggin' Do-Si-Does, right?

How many of you know people that spend endless hours online getting information for their high school-aged child, so he or she will get a good grade on their book report?, or worse, do the report for them?

Those of you with younger children might know moms or dads who practically demand that their bright child be labelled as "gifted" when they are in the 2nd grade (As if that is going to get this kid into freakin' Harvard)

I am the coach of my daughter's soccer team, and in our recreational league, the teams are restricted to only one practice per week. I happen to know that at least one of the coaches is holding extra practices on the side... is "winning" that important? Is that what we want to teach our kids? that winning is so important that it is better to cheat and win than it is to work hard, and do your best, and take pride in your results, within the rules?

Have you ever been in the mall or a store and seen some poorly behaved child knock over a stack of books or something, and the parent doesn't bat an eyelash until they see your glare, and then says, anemically, "oh, pick that up, honey?

How about the crackpots that actually get in fights with other parents at school sporting events, or at little league?

I actually know parents who, not bothering to make a child actually READ the @#*%&%$$#% book, actually bought the child the cliff notes instead so the kid could do the report on time.

One woman I know actually called her son at college every morning to make sure he went to class.

I could go on and on. It's so sad.

So haw far would you go for your kids? In my little corner of the world, I have seen some really ugly things regarding parental crazies who even help their kids avoid the consequences of breaking the law.

I work for a federal law enforcement agency, and I know all of the local cops and State Troopers in our area (especially since our community is full to the brim with cops from numerous agencies), I am almost certain that if my child were speeding and got a ticket, she could invoke my name, and probably get out of it... but that would be a big mistake. I don't roll like that. You speed, you take your chances. You get a ticket?, I guess you'll slow down next time, won't you?

Look, I'm all about protecting my kids, but there have to be limits don't there? Do I really want to protect them when they do something wrong at school? What will that teach them? I don't want them to win so badly that I'll teach them that cheating at sports is OK as long as they don't get caught. I don't want them to excel at school, to the point that I will do their schoolwork for them in order to protect their GPA?

Would you?

Do you know what that kind of crap does to kids? It produces adults to whom the rules mean nothing. It produces adults that believe cheating on their taxes is a victimless crime. It produces people that like Michael Vick and Alberto Gonzales, and Larry Craig, that believe that their place in life affords them protection from breaking the law.

I'll give an example of how bad it can be: We know of a family in which a 17 year old son was involved in the theft of several handguns from the home of a deceased FBI agent. After the theft, this kid and his friends spent a lot of time playing playing tough guy with these guns. Now these kids weren't planning any violent crimes, they weren't robbing or shooting anyone, they were "nice" kids from the suburbs. One day, the group was playing the "I'll shoot you" game, not having checked to see if the guns were loaded. See where I am going here?

One kid shoots the other kid in the face and kills him.

I'll leave out all of the drama, but the killer, for that is what he is, intentional or not, never spent a day behind bars. His parents, who had the cash to do it, hired an expensive attorney, made sure the kid could cop a plea, do some community service, and walk away as if it never happened.

As appalled as some of the parents in the area were, I heard at least one of the neighborhood dads say: "He just made a mistake"

A mistake.

A 17 year old shoots and 18 year old in the face, and kills him, and it's a mistake.

Where I come from, it's called a crime.

The parents immediately enrolled the kid killer in the local "alternative" high school program, but immediately started complaining, because she didn't want HER son in that class with THOSE bad kids who listened to "all of "that rap music"


This was about 5 years ago... since then, that NICE kid who just "made a mistake" has committed several other crimes, and is now incarcerated.... which he should have been in the first place... perhaps if his parents hadn't coddled him, and let him pay the price for his actions, he would have learned something and done better, and stayed out of jail later on.

How far would I go for my kids? Not that far.

I'll confess to the Girl Scout cookie thing. I asked some of the guys if they wanted any, but that's about as far as it goes.

Sure, I'll protect my kids, but there is a difference between protecting them to keep them safe, and sheltering them from their own misdeeds.


This post was part of a Blog Blast sponsored by the Parent Blogger Network, and in conjunction with the new Harper Collins Books release, "Dangerous Admissions", which deals with the issue of how far parents will go to help their kids get what they want.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

CD Review: Sara Bareilles - Little Voice

Have any of you ever heard of this young woman?

I confess that I never had until a few weeks ago, when Mrs Gunfighter brought home this CD that she bought on a whim. The song that you are listening to now, is the first song on her recently released cd, titled Little Voice.

Sara Barielles (pronounced Ba-rell-is) is from Humboldt County, Californina and attended UCLA. Her music has been compared to that of Fiona Apple, Nora Jones and other female songstresses. Some of hose may be fair comparisons... but that in no way diminishes the talent of this young singer-songwriter.

I could go on and on about Bareilles' raw talent and driving piano-playing, but I don't have to, you can hear it for yourself.

If you are of a mind to trust me, trust me when I tell you that if you buy this cd you will be really glad you did.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

In the United States, October is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. All across America, worthy organizations and movements like the Clothes Line Project and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence are speaking out against domestic violence and violence against women. This is a praise-worthy thing... but the world is changing my friends, and it isn't just organizations that are speaking out, Bloggers are speaking too, and this is where I come in.

A couple of days ago, I was contacted by Gina from What About Our Daughters?, A blog dedicated to combating the destructive portrayals of black women in popular culture. Gina asked me to help her out by posting something about Domestic Violence, and I agreed.

While mulling it over, I first thought I would talk a little bit about domestic violence (DV) from a statistical standpoint, and mention that fact that although black people make up thirteen percent of the U.S. population, black women make up twenty-eight percent of the reported victims of DV.

I thought about it, alright, but I decided to take another route.

Instead of raw numbers, I am going to talk about DV from a personal viewpoint. You see, I know a wee bit about the subject. I witnessed it as a child.

My dad was a wife-beater.

An early memory for five year old Gunfighter was my father coming home after working the late shift at Hamilton Air Force Base, California, and getting into an argument with my mother. I have no idea what it was all about, but I remember the shouting turning into screams. Screams coming from my mother, punctuated by the fist-on-flesh thwacking sound that no child should hear coming from his own mother's body.

After scooping my older sister from her bed, my mother ran into the bedroom that I shared with my brother, herded us into our car and drove off into the night. We drove around for a few hours, finally parking on the side of the road, somewhere in Marin County. I am certain that sometime that night, I must have slept, but I remember being awake, as the new day was dawning, and seeing my mother just staring blankly out the window.

It was 1968, my mother was 29 years old... and she had nowhere to go.

I'll bet you know what we did next.

If you guessed "you-waited-until-your-dad-went-to-work-and-then-you-went-back-home", you get a cookie.

My life changed that night. That night put me on the road that I travel today... the road that leads to responsible fatherhood. The road that leads to marital respect, the road that leads to being a true man.

That beating wasn't the only one my mother ever got from my father... but it was the worst, and the last. By 1969, my mother had divorced my father, and we moved to New Jersey to live with my Grandmother.

The following years were good for my father. He got some help, he remarried, had another child with his second wife (who died in a car crash in 1981), and became a better man than he had been in his dark days. All of this is covered here, so I'll press on.

Like I said... I know a little bit about DV.

I'm fortunate... I didn't repeat the cycle. I don't smack my wife around. I have never hit either of my children (I have two daughters). I would rather stick my hand in a food processor than do those things.

Scientists and Sociologists have opined deeply about the causes of DV, and I suppose that they may be right... but to me I have to say that I believe that spousal abuse is a learned behavior. A behavior passed on from person to person, sometimes father to son.... sometimes passed on by pop culture images or even hero-worship.

I could take this particular moment to go on about the damage done by many of the images in the hip-hop sub-culture, but that horse is dead, and has been beaten by myself and others thousands of times in the past few months. No, I'm not going to blame the rappers specifically (not that they don't share some blame), because there was DV a looong time before the first violent rap lyrics ever showed up.

When dad beats mom, he teaches his son that it is ok to beat women. When dad beats mom, and mom stays silent, she teaches her son that it is ok to beat women, and teaches her daughter that quiet acceptance is alright. When popular athletes, entertainers, members of Congress, or pastors beat their wives, and their supporters close ranks around them and protect them, society teaches boys that violence against women is alright, and teaches girls that even if they speak out, they will be ridiculed, scorned, devalued, and even BLAMED for the violence visited upon them.

Domestic Violence is a social disease and your friend Gunfighter is going to lay down the cure, right here, right now.

There is a cure for Domestic Violence. Here it is: The Man of Character

The Man of Character, is a pillar of strength for his family. They KNOW they can always depend on him to do the right thing.

The Man of Character is a pillar of his community.

The Man of Character isn't a social sponge, sucking up all his community has to offer while giving nothing of himself.

THe family of a Man of Character is never afraid for their safety in his presence.

It is the responsibility of men of character to end this cycle of violence. Men of character must lead by example. Men of character must be sterling role-models to their sons. Men of character must be the kind of man that his daughters will use as their ideal when the time comes for them to think about life-partners. Men of character vote in all elections, men of characters are men of personal values.

When a man loves his wife and children in such a manner, all things are possible, and violence has no place. In that sort of environment, a family is doing the best thing that they can do to break the links in the chains of domestic violence.

Men: Don't do it.... ever.

Women: Don't put up with it... not even once. Rescue your children and run!

DV is a learned behavior, 'tis true, but one good thing you can say about learned behavior, is that it can't be learned when it isn't seen or heard of.

To some, my answers may sound trite... do you have any better ideas?