The Assassination of Accountability

It doesn’t take much digging into the news headlines over the past several months, to see a growing trend here in America. A scary trend, that if followed, I believe will kill the concept of accountability. In fact, it didn’t just start within the past few months, but rather recent years. It’s a trend, that when I think about it’s consequences and repercussions on the way we live, makes my stomach turn. Maybe you have noticed them as well. If not, let’s just take a look at some of the things I’ve noticed.

Accountability can be simply defined by saying responsibility. Webster’s defines it as, “especially an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.” 

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/accountability

Where do you see a lack of accountability in your world today? Well, you can do a simple Google search for “lack of accountability in America,” and you’ll be given a wide variety of news articles, opinion articles (like this one), and sources that range from credible political sources, all the way to conspiracy theory websites. I dug into some of them and it started giving me a headache. If you’d like to see them all, feel free to research the topic on your own and draw your own conclusions from what you find. What you will find however, is a growing lack of responsibility within our nation.

I started noticing this downward spiral a few years ago. Seems as though we like to shift the blame for our issues onto someone else, or place the blame on a disease. Are you an addict? Alcoholic? Gambling problem? It’s not your fault some say. You have a disease!

I’ve recently heard about the sick and twisted agenda of having pedophilia listed as a gender identification. It’s mind blowing, and a lie straight from the pit of hell, to think an adult sexually attracted to a child is okay; that it is just how a person is designed. No, it is not okay folks. It is wicked, and we are being spoon-fed these lies straight from the father of lies, Satan himself.

We have a growing number of marriages ending in divorce, ripping families apart, and having a disastrous rippling effect on future generations. Has your husband let you down? It’s okay, it’s not your fault. Not attracted to your wife anymore? It’s okay man, have that affair! It’s not your fault. Children left at home without a Mommy or a Daddy, all for the sake of selfishness. It’s sad people! And somehow we expect these children to grow up without any emotional or behavioral problems.

We are focusing on this COVID-19 pandemic, while we have a bigger problem here in America. We have this growing “cancel” culture thing happening, and there’s more and more being chipped away every single day. That’s an entirely different post to dive into, but it’s a problem. Why? We are accountable to the present and the future generations, to not repeat the mistakes of the past. If you erase the past, you just might repeat the past. Nothing to look back on when there’s a blank slate!

We have some radicals in America that want to defund law enforcement. I’m not talking about Smalltown, USA. No, we are talking major cities like New York and Los Angeles. What happens when you get rid of law enforcement? Who then enforces the law? What rules are there to follow? You know what you lose? Besides protection, you lose accountability! Less than twenty years later, and we have people who want to defund the very men and women who raced into the World Trade Center towers on 9/11/2001.

We have a culture that not only wants to get rid of police, but they would love nothing more than to get rid of God from our culture. Why? Get rid of God and you no longer are accountable to a higher power. Without good, there is no evil. Well to all those radicals who think that’s a good idea, I will tell you this. God’s Word is very clear that while this earth may pass away, His Word will never pass away. Try and destroy it, get rid of it, silence it, or suppress it, but the gates of hell itself will not prevail against God’s Word. The attack on the institutions of marriage and law, will eventually lead to an attack against God’s people. If you don’t believe me, why did the Black Lives Matter protesters burn Bibles recently?

Well, I’m going to stop right there for today. In closing, we need to return to a day when we were accountable; to our spouses, our parents, our children and their children, to law, to our community, and to God. Take away all of that and remove accountability, and you remove truth. Remove truth and all you have is lies.

It’s time to stand up and stand out.

Leaving the Ninety-Nine

Seems like the “Black Lives Matter” or “BLM” movement is all people are writing about nowadays. Seems like the saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” is truer now than ever. Lately there has been a post circulating throughout social media, in which the parable of the lost sheep in the Bible, is quoted (out of context I might add), and used by the BLM followers to further support their agenda. Have you seen it?

If you haven’t seen the post, it is basically slamming anyone who calls themselves a Christian, but doesn’t get behind the BLM movement. It takes the story of the lost sheep in Luke 15, and compares it to the racism we see today in America. Let’s take a look at the passage.

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” Luke 15:4. The post that is circulating typically stops right there. That right there is the first part of my complaint. The individuals using this verse from the Bible, aren’t going on to tell readers what it then goes on to say; how the lost sheep is like the kingdom of God, and there is rejoicing over even one single sheep rescued! They don’t tell you that this parable, an illustration Christ used oftentimes to speak to those listening, was also followed by two other parables, “The Lost Son,” and “The Lost Coin.” These three parables, each describing something precious that was lost, had only one thing to do with race. The human race. What do they all mean? Each parable was used to illustrate sin, our human nature to run towards it, the cost of it, and the lengths in which the Holy Spirit will go to in order to rescue us from the depths of that sin. That’s it!

I’m all for people quoting Scripture. But it needs to be quoted in context. I used to believe a saying, that I would’ve sworn came from the Book of Proverbs. It went something like, “God helps those who help themselves.” You know what? Such a verse doesn’t exist! In fact, that thought right there goes against every single teaching of Christ, because we know that man can do nothing of himself, apart from God.

Well that’s all for this one folks. I really felt the need to clear that up, because I’ve been seeing the verse used over and over, out of context and only partially quoted, and they are wrong.

Stay safe, do great things, and feel free to comment with your own thoughts!

Nine Miles of Memories

Just outside of the world famous city of Saratoga Springs, NY, known for the inventions of the club sandwich and potato chips, the oldest horse racing track in the United States, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), the mineral springs, and the famous mineral baths that used to attract royalty and celebrities alike, lies a stretch of road nine miles long.

If you drive this nine mile stretch of road, you’ll pass through fields, over and along streams, and through wooded areas that seem to come alive with a past two centuries old. You won’t pass any convenience stores, but you’ll certainly see your share of wildlife; rabbits and deer call this place “Home.”

When you finish your drive through this landscape, you will be able to say you have driven through nine miles of the most historic pieces of land in America. You’ll step on some of the same grounds that helped shape our nation, breathed life into our independence from Great Britain, and where the turning point of the American Revolution took place.

I am talking about the Saratoga National Historical Park and the Battles of Saratoga. It was here where American patriots fought the British, defeating them and bringing the largest military force in the world closer to surrender. It was here where Benedict Arnold fought and was wounded. Yes, it’s along this road, that I not only relive history from colonial America, but also memories from my youth.

These grounds are not only home to deer, rabbits, and other wildlife. They’re not only home to centuries old trees that speak to you as you walk amongst them. They’re not only the burial sites of thousands of Continental Army and British soldiers. These grounds are home to some of my greatest memories in life.

It was along this road that I remember bike riding as a child. It was always a treat for us growing up, to load the bikes into the car and head to “the battlefield,” as we call it around here.

It was along this road that we used to come for a quiet drive, windows down (no matter how hot it was), radio off, and driving below the 25 mph speed limit on the one-way tour road. Even when I drive it today, I still turn off the radio and roll the windows down. It’s a land that although once soiled with blood, now demands peace; a land that once echoed with cannon and musket fire, now demands quietness. A land which was once filled with the battle cries of freedom, now asks for only whispers.

It was along this road that I learned to drive. My Dad once had a Ford Bronco stick-shift, and it was along these nine miles that I stalled and jerked the engine over and over. It was along this road that I learned how to push in the clutch, shift, stop on a hill, and come to a stop. It was also here that I learned the patience of a father.

Along this road I learned how to cross country ski, how to approach a deer from upwind, downwind, and everywhere in between. Along this same road is where I began to train and condition my body before joining the Air Force; running and walking the miles of pavement on cold March days in 2001.

Along these roads is where I returned in 2017 when I retired from the military. No longer a boy on a BMX bicycle, no longer a teenager learning to drive, and no longer a young man seeing how fast he could run a couple miles. I returned as an older man, weathered and experienced from life and death, war and peace, joy and sorrow. I returned to these grounds for one simple reason, and it’s the reason I keep going back.

From the very first day I rode my bike there, to the days I learned to drive, to the days my feet pounded the pavement, until now, the grounds remain the same. I return and can go to the same exact spot I went three decades ago, and it remains untouched. I can tell stories, or I can remain silent and just remember a day from years past come alive in the moment.

Nine miles of road. History shaped. Memories made. A life transformed.

For more information about this area, visit the Town of Saratoga Historian’s blog.

Complacency. The Kill Zone.

I really try and put myself in uncomfortable situations. Complacency is my enemy.

Trent Reznor

A thought came to me this morning while I was drinking my first cup of coffee. My coffee time each day is when I think about the day, what I want to accomplish, and just let my mind wander. It’s my quiet time.

I sit here this morning, enjoying my second cup of coffee. I’m outside on my patio, listening to the birds sing, enjoying Spring weather here in upstate New York, and watching the bees buzz around from dandelion to dandelion. It’s a beautiful afternoon and the cool air promises rain in the forecast. In between the smell of rain, I smell small notes of chlorine; another promise that Spring is here.

Think about the birds and the bees. Even the flowers and dandelions that appear each year. This is an ordinary day for them. What they are doing today is probably no different than what they did yesterday. The birds will fly from branch to branch, occasionally stopping along the edge of the bird feeder that I have found myself increasingly having to fill. The flowers will spend the day blowing in the wind, letting out their fragrance, and continuing to blossom into their full beauty before dying again in the coming months. It’s a wonderful time of year, because that which was dead, has come alive.

While all these things are happening around us, it’s so easy to get caught up in the everyday moments. If I wasn’t sitting outside right now enjoying my coffee, I wouldn’t hear those birds singing their beautiful songs that I cannot understand. I wouldn’t see the new leaves on the trees blowing in the cool breeze, and I wouldn’t have the privilege to observe the bees hard at work doing whatever it is that bees do. No, I would be inside missing out on all this splendor that happens every single day, whether I take the time to see and listen or not.

Let me pose a question. When was the last time you heard birds singing? Sure, you may here them in the morning through a window, but when was the last time you actually stopped and heard them?

Throughout the world, many people are at a standstill. Seems as if COVID-19 has caused all that was once normal, to be completely abnormal. Daily routines have come to a halt for most of mankind, and it really has caused many to return back to the basics. At least for me it has. I have spent a lot of my time, what was once spare time and now most of the time, reading and thinking about life in general. The season of life we are in has forced a lot of people to reevaluate their priorities, returning to that which was foreign to them because of their busy schedules, routines, sports, jobs, or whatever else filled their weekly calendar. We have unwillingly been taken back to what this life should have been all about to begin with; less work, less busy-ness, stress from external sources outside of our control, and taken out of our comfort zone. We have been taken out of our world and life of complacency, and given new opportunities.

I’m reminded of my seventeen year old daughter. Like most teenagers, and adults for that matter, they have no idea how to live simply. They don’t know how to put their phones down for more than hour, checking the screen multiple times to see if they have any incoming notifications, scrolling through social media, or sending out a text message. They have never been in situations where they are forced to just take in the moment and be content. If you talk to families and individuals who don’t seem to be effected by all that’s going on in the world today, most of them will probably reveal to you that they’ve been living these simple lives for years. Those that haven’t been seem to be struggling more than ever, concerned about tomorrow, stressed, worried, confused, anxious, and trying to grasp at a life that will probably never return to what it once was. Why?

Complacency kills. During my time in law enforcement and in the military, we were always taught not to become complacent. In a security situation, complacency could be the one thing that ends up killing you. Complacency could be the difference between noticing a vehicle loaded with explosives, or allowing it to pass by and potentially kill hundreds. The thought, “I’ve searched hundreds of vehicles today and every dump truck was the same. I’m tired, hot, and hungry. I’ll let this one go by unchecked,” could result in catastrophic results. Complacency. How many of us lock our doors at night when we go to sleep? I do. Just because I haven’t had someone break into my house ever since I’ve been old enough to live on my own, doesn’t mean that tonight I will leave the doors unlocked. It could be that one time I leave it unlocked, that some home invader decides my house looks like a great place to stop by for a 2AM visit. Complacency such as that could have devastating effects to myself and my family.

Relationships that have become complacent don’t tend to work out well either. Regardless of the type of relationship, those which grow stagnant usually die. The moment you allow complacency to settle in, you better do something really quick to shake things up.

I like to think of the area of complacency as a kill zone. During my time serving overseas in combat zones, I was an M60 gunner. I was usually placed behind the entry control point (ECP) of a restricted area or onto the camp, forward operating base (FOB), or camp. Between that entry point and my location was the kill zone. There were signs letting all who entered, know they were in the kill zone and deadly force was authorized. My job? Stop any vehicles or individuals who became hostile within that small area. If they got past me, they had access to hundreds or thousands of Americans or coalition forces; many of which were unarmed and unaware. Many of which were carrying about their day like the birds in my yard are doing right now.

What if one day I thought to myself, “Steve, you’ve been sitting in this same spot for the last four months and nothing has ever happened. You’ve watched many of the same vehicles pass by, and some of the drivers even waved to you! Surely this next fourteen hours won’t be any different than all those before it.” So what if I decided to take out a book, take my eyes off what was in front of me, and allow my attention to be drawn to something else?

Now, you may be saying, “Steve, we aren’t in Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other combat zone! And I’m not sitting here with a machine gun either.” You may be 100% correct. You’re not and I no longer am either. But that still doesn’t stop you nor I from settling into complacency, and being comfortable in the place where we are currently at.

Shake things up today. My thought this morning as I enjoyed my first cup of coffee was that today is not yesterday. It’s not the day before either. It’s today. While many things may be similar to all the days before it, it’s not the same. Therefore it shouldn’t be approached in the same way. Stay vigilant to those things creeping in to destroy your happiness, or allowing you to become stagnant. Change things up! Do something different! Get away from your routine and don’t allow yourself to get comfortable. Stop and actually listen to the birds sing. Don’t just hear them. Listen to them.

Stay out of the kill zone.

“Social Separation” – A Beautiful Day!

We have all seen on social media, television, and maybe our rare interactions with others during these extraordinary times, just how much of a toll social separation has taken. Not just on the economy, small businesses, family dynamics, but also on our social lives. Oh my goodness, what would we have done if COVID-19 happened pre-Facebook? Many would be devastated even more than they already are.

Each of us have developed our own coping mechanisms to deal with this newfound isolation. Me personally, I have spent more time outdoors and on trails than I ever have before. I have enjoyed it! I’ve enjoyed a simpler life; seeing people return to the basic things in life and have no choice but to slow down and just cherish the moment.

While I do yearn for a life of normalcy and seeing things return to normal, I am hoping that we never forget these days that have caused us to stop our daily routine as we knew it. When everything gets back to normal, I hope there are many lessons learned, and people will approach life in a more humble way.

One place I’ve been visiting more than ever, is Moreau Lake State Park, located in South Glens Falls/Gansevoort, NY. Not only does it have a lake that people typically frequent during the summer months, but there are plenty of cabins, rustic campsites, picnic areas, and a lot of hiking trails varying in length.

Just off the highway, it provides a sanctuary for birds and wildlife, as well as a place to center and feed the soul.



Take advantage of the time you have right now, to decide who you will be when all this is over. It’s a perfect time to hit the RESET button!

Stay safe everyone!