Thoughts on the Marathon Bombing

On the day of the Marathon bombings, I was out exercising, taking a 50-mile bicycle ride, which meant I did not know of the bombing until almost 2 hours after they occurred.  I was stunned, and glued to the television for hours afterwards.  When I first saw, and heard, the recording of the bombs going off, my first reaction was that they were small.  My thought was that they power was approximately that of a single artillery round.  That told me we were not dealing with a well-organized terrorist, although I knew immediately it was a terrorist.  We are fortunate that these men, Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev, could not carry out an attack with IEDs such as are known in Iraq and Afghanistan, was quite fortunate.  Not to minimalized the deaths of those 3 who were killed by these bombs, but it certainly could have been a lot worse.

The picture were are getting of the Tsarnaev brothers leads us to believe that Tamerlan embraced some sort of radical Islam on a trip in 2009 to Chechnya.  By 2011 he was on the FBI’s radar after a, as yet unknown, foreign country requested information on him.  But all accounts of his brother, Tsarnaev, suggests a youth who was drawn in by his brothers radicalism, and not of his own undertaking.  Still, he is guilty of acts that should land him in prison for the rest of his natural life if the government choses not to pursue the death penalty.

But at this point I feel it only responsible to point out that long standing positions of the NRA and conservative members of Congress aided Tsarnaev.  How so?  Massachusetts has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation and yet Tsarnaev had a sizeable cache’ of weapons.  They were probably legally procured too.  Or were they?  Tamerlan was a legal permanent resident but not a naturalized US citizen.  That being so, Massachusetts law prohibits the sale of guns to non-US citizens.  The loophole, of course, is the internet.  Massachusetts law requires a background check using the NICS (National Instant Check System) prior to the sale of any gun.  This database is used to identify individuals who are barred from gun purchases.  Had there been no loopholes, and better laws, the FBI could have, in 2011, flagged Tamerlan in the database as someone they would want to know about should he attempt a gun purchase.  But for some reason, we do not know yet, that did not happen.  Furthermore, the NRA and its cronies, have doggedly blocked all attempts to require gun powder makers to put a marker in their product to identify who produced it.

The gun lobby’s declaration that background checks and registration denies access to guns to law abiding citizens should ring rather hollow by now.  By all accounts, these two men were, prior to April 15 2011, law abiding citizens.  And yet, one of them was a person of interest to the FBI who, it appears, eluded detection because of a lack of laws and controls.

The violence of Columbine, Sandy Hook and Boston is not only going to continue but with increasing frequency if we do not put controls into place.  The simple fact is, truly law abiding citizens who harbor no ill-intent have nothing to fear of comprehensive background checks and gun registrations.  Law abiding gun dealers have nothing to fear either.  But right now, commerce is trumping public safety.  There really is, and never was, a good argument against comprehensive background checks and registration.  And while this may not have stopped the bombing, it would certainly have given Tamerland Tsarnaev reason to pause before he attempted to purchase what became weapons of mass destruction.


The Real Story Behind the Battle of Lexington and Concord 1775


The events of April 19, 1775 were not very surprising.  For a good five years many Americans had been itching for just such a confrontation with England.  The “Boston Massacre,” the “Tea Party” were just a couple of the predictors of what was almost inevitable.  In some ways, it was surprising that the rebellion did not start at an earlier date.  There certainly had been enough incidents for one to have started.  The single biggest deterrent had been America’s leadership to show they were loyal to their king and their mother country, England.  Not only did they consider themselves as Americans, but as loyal Englishmen who had the same rights as their fellow countrymen who lived in England.  But that is exactly where the division happened.

By the mid-18th Century, England was an empire with the best navy in the world and arguably the best army in the world.  It was at this time that the idea of the sun never setting on the British Empire was coming into vogue.  British North America was by far its largest claim, although India was by far its most profitable.  Wealthy English merchants, who populated the House of Lords, and who had the ear of the king, regardless of who he was, jealously coveted their claims in the lands outside the British Isles.

With the exceptions of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the Plymouth Colony, all of British North America were settled as mercantile interests.  Competing with these interests were the French, who the English despised, who had strongholds in Canada, the Ohio River Valley and the Mississippi delta.  The two countries seemed to be literally warring with each other for several hundred years.  The French were claiming much of the extremely profitable sugar cane areas of the Caribbean.  At the heart of this was not just sugar as a sweetener, but as the basis for molasses and rum, two things English merchants heavily desired.

In their desire to firmly control all they laid claim to, British merchants persuaded Parliament to pass a series of laws meant to protect their interests, the so-called Townsend Acts.  Passed in 1767, these acts were used to bring in line the already rebellious Americans, in particular those who lived in Massachusetts.  At the time, Massachusetts was a leading ship builder and, by default, heavily invested in the shipping industry.  At the heart of the Townsend Act was the revenue act, also known as the stamp tax.  Despite attempts by Britain to restrain trade of its colonies in North America to only England, and to require colonist to use English ships exclusively, Americans had ignored these dictates.  Their claim, as loyal Englishmen, as well as Americans, was they had an equal right to trade as their desired and without constraints not placed upon the merchants in England.

The destruction of the tea in the Boston Harbor was meant to be even more provocative than it was.  Its leader, Samuel Adams, cousin of John Adams, was the radical leader of the “Sons of Liberty.”  He would have been happy had war broken out right after the Boston Massacre.  Ironically, his cousin John gained prominence from this event as he served as defense counsel for the British Army lieutenant who was tried for murder.  John was shrewd and knew if Massachusetts were to stay in control of their courts, the courts had to be shown as a place where any man could count on a vigorous defense and expect a reasonable finding by the court.  Adams won his case.  The lieutenant was exonerated.  Unfortunately, a few years later the crown saw fit to seize control of the courts from the Americans along with control of the colony’s chief executive, the governor.  Duly elected governors were replaced by English governors general and martial law.

The colonists concern, at the time of the destruction of the tea in Boston’s harbor, was not that they had to pay a tax but “[they] thought it reasonable that the Colonies Should bear a part of the national Burden, as that they should share a part of the national Benefit . . . The Colonies soon found that the duties imposed . . . not only exceeded our Proportion, but beyond our utmost Ability to pay . . . We had always considered ourselves, as part of the British Empire.”  (New Hampshire Gazette; January 6, 1775) They were asserting themselves as citizens of England who did not receive the same consideration as those who lived in England.

In late 1774 England had denied the colonist the right to their own defense.  It made it illegal for the colonist to store guns and ammunition, black powder, in any central location.  General Thomas Gage, commander of the English Army, made forays to Taunton, Salem, Somerville, and Portsmouth to seize guns and powder being held at those locations.  At each instance, save the Somerville foray, his attempts were stymied by vigilant Americans who sent word ahead of Gage’s troops of his designs.


General Thomas Gage

In January 1775, Lord Dartmouth, Secretary of State for America in London, in a letter to General Gage, said: “The violence committed by those who have taken up arms in Massachusetts have appeared to me as the acts of a rude rabble, without plan, without concert, without conduct, and therefore I think that a small force now, if put to the test, would be able to encounter them, with greater probability of success, then might be expected of a larger army, if the people should be suffered to form themselves upon a more regular plan.”

Boston, however, had become an armed camp with over 1000 troops camped on its common.  The tensions between the Bostonians and the soldiers was palpable.  Taunts were frequent but most Bostonians feared for the lives at Gen. Gage was the leader of the local government, and their health and welfare was at his pleasure.  But Gage was not entirely unsympathetic with the Americans given his marriage to Margaret Kemble, a native of New Jersey.

Massachusetts had retained a central government of its own even after the insertion of Gen. Gage as its governor.  The provincial government, as it was known, met in Watertown and Cambridge on a regular basis.  At its heart was the committee on defense.  This committee, supported by similar committees in every Massachusetts city and town, was responsible for the militia each town organized.  While technically illegal, Gen. Gage did nothing to stop their existence.  Gage’s formally trained, well-equipped troop of army regulars were the obvious superior to anything the colonists could assemble.  Each town in Massachusetts held elections to decide who its militia officers would be.  And while every man from 16 to 60 was required to be a member of this militia, their training was spotty, their weapons crude, and their leadership questionable.  The colony had absolutely no professional military men.

The citizens of Massachusetts had reason to believe that the British rule of provincial America was about to become more severe.  In the April 17, 1775 issue of the Boston Evening Post it was reported:

“Friday last the Nautilus . . . arrived here from England with Dispatches for his Excellency General Gage . . . [with] passengers . . . of his Majesties 17th Regiment of Light Dragoons; which, with the 35th, 49th, and 63rd Regiments of Foot, are said to be expected here soon.

Yesterday, the Falcon Sloop of War also arrived here from England.”

Also, on April 17, 1775, the newspaper the Boston Gazette reported:

“General Gage’s letters being read in the House of Commons, it appears from one of them it has been recommended to him by Lord Dartmouth to disarm some of the Colonies, which in his opinion, was not practicable until he was Master of the Country.”

From such accounts, colonists could only believe that all hopes of self-rule, which they demanded, was not in their immediate future.  The restraint with which John Adams and John Hancock had been able to effect was being overcome by events.  The peaceful resistance Massachusetts residents had long observed was in obvious jeopardy.

For obvious reasons, the one town which did not have an assembled militia was Boston.  But to make up for this, the citizens of Boston maintained a group of spies who watched every action made by the British regulars and reported back to the provincial government.  Oddly, we have no idea who any of these spies were but their existence is unquestionable as witnessed by the events of April 18 and 19, 1775.

On the afternoon of April 18, 1775, Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith received orders from Gen. Gage to lead an expedition although he was not advised of the mission’s object nor destination.  Later that afternoon, British patrols were sent into the countryside to block messengers from alerting the countryside to the movements of British troops. It was just such a patrol that intercepted and captured Paul Revere.  That evening, after a British patrol, led by Major Edward Mitchell, passed through Lexington, provincial militia gathered at Buckman’s Tavern to safeguard John Adams and John Hancock.


Col. Francis Smith

Word had gotten out that General Gage was planning to take the stores of guns and powder located in Concord.  What was not known was how he would effect his actions.  Boston, at the time, resembled the bulb of a flower with a long narrow strip of land, known as the neck, connecting it to the main land at Dorchester.  The British army had in its possession boats it could use to ford the Charles River at Charlestown, if it desired, to make such a move.  Or, an alternative, it could march down the neck and out through Watertown toward Concord.

The British troops, who had been assembling on Boston Common early that evening, were hungry, wet and cold that evening after a cool windy rain pushed through the area.

Notwithstanding Longfellow’s claim that one lantern meant they were coming by sea, that single lantern meant they were crossing the river.  In truth, we do not know if Revere saw the lantern in the North Church.  He left Boston around 11PM, rowed across the Charles River to Charlestown from where he started his famous ride.  All he told us is that his friend, Dr. Joseph Warren, who had sources inside the British camp, requested he ride to Lexington to warn Adams and Hancock of the British movements.  At the same time Revere’s friend, William Dawes, left Boston on horseback riding down “the neck” to the countryside.

joseph-warrenpaul revere

Joseph Warren                                                                   Paul Revere


William Dawes

No one ever said “the British arm coming” because the colonists still considered themselves to be British and such a statement would have been nonsensical.  Like Revere and Dawes said “the lobster backs” or “the red coats” are coming.  Revere never made it to Concord as he was captured by the British army.  But in Lexington, around 1:30AM, near the Lincoln town line, Revere was captured by British regulars, Dawes narrowly escaping.  To their credit, they had enlisted Dr. Samuel Prescott to continue the ride with them and it was he who finally brought the alarm to Concord.  From Concord, a fourth rider rode to Worcester.

Each town in Massachusetts had its own alert system in the case of an emergency as was expected.  When Revere warned someone in Medford, for example, he took the alarm to Stoneham and that man to Reading and so forth.

In the very early hours of April 19 General Gage’s troops, 400 in all, boarded barges to cross the Charles River.  At the same time, however, Gage dispatched another 500 troops, at Col. Smith’s request, members of his artillery, to march down the neck and out to Concord.  Gage was attempting to maximize his chances of success.  The map below shows the route used by the British troops.

lex concord

For April, it was a warm and humid night.  This certainly set the tone for a long series of unpredictable events.  By 2 in the morning Revere and Dawes had made it to Lexington where Hancock and others were hold up.  The distance from Charlestown to Lexington, roughly 12 miles, could be covered in a matter of hours by Gage’s troops.  But it was 4:30 before the troops were in sight of Lexington center.  The Hancock and others had been gathered expectantly at Buckman’s Tavern.  During that time roughly 250 militia, Minute men, had also gathered on the green.

The British troops advanced at a slow rate and, Col. Smith aware and worried over that aspect, dispatched Major Pitcairn, of the Royal Marines, to secure the bridges that lay ahead.  Doubtless Smith was remembering an encounter at a bridge in Salem some months before that had stymied his attempts to secure guns and powder there.  Pitcairn ordered his men “on no account to fire, not even attempt it without orders.”  This order too buttresses the argument that it was the colonists, and not the British regulars, who fired the first shot.

The militia were a rag-tag group of questionable leadership and an unquestionable lack of discipline.  Conversely, the British regulars marched to the green in a tight formation headed by Colonel Smith, a career officer.  It is important to note that the 400 British regulars matched the entire population in size of the town of Lexington.  This sight, with the 77 militia assembled, was a scary force to behold for the residents and the militia.  No one, on either side, knew what to expect.  But this assemblage, for the first time, pitted a significant colonial force against the crown.

As the two forces faced each other, the British regulars at staunch attention versus the militia who, though of fair size, lacked any semblance of military aptitude.  British Major Pitcairn orders the militia to disperse upon his arrival at the green.  Captain Parker, commander of the militia and a combat veteran, realized he necessarily needed to follow this order and told his men to disperse.  Prior to that, Parker had ordered his men to not fire upon the British troops except in self-defense.  But as they were doing so the infamous “shot heard round the world” rang out.  Given the high state of discipline displayed by the British regulars, it is likely that the shot came from one of the colonists.  In the end, 8 colonists lay dead while only a single British troop was wounded.  This did not bode well for the colonists.  How these minute men, at close range, did not score a single hit of any sort makes you wonder why they would even consider continuing the fight.  But their retreat from Lexington was just as much an advance to Concord where they reassembled and took on the British.

Col. Smith arrived in Lexington after the skirmish and was horrified by what he viewed as a breakdown of discipline.  He absolutely did not desire to engage the colonists at any point during his trip to Concord.

What the colonists at Lexington did not know was that the 400 troops they faced there were about to grow to 700 as Brigadier Lord Percy’s brigade was about to meet up with Col. Smith’s soldiers.

The weather, early that day, had the temperature a coolish 45 degrees, a typical New England day.  It was a clear breezy day that hid the heat which would envelope these British soldiers in their wool uniforms later in the day.

At about 7AM Col. Smith’s troops reached Concord.  From Lexington his troops had marched in battle formation, and in plain sight of the provincial militia who marched parallel to them with fifes and drums playing.  Smith had two objectives: destroy the weapons stored there and then eat breakfast.

Just a few miles from Concord center, in the town of Lincoln, 200 militia attacked Col. Smith’s advancing troops.  These were men from the towns of Bedford and Lincoln.  These men, sitting on either side of the road, caught the British in a cross-fire.

In Concord, the provincial militia waiting there, under the command of Col. James Barrett, withdrew to the heights overlooking the North Bridge and waited for reinforcements to arrive.  From their vantage point, the provincial troops could not see the movements of the British troops.  When they saw smoke rising from the town they assumed the British were burning homes and moved from the hill to attack the British.  In fact, the British had simply lit a fire to burn to dispose of some military equipment.

The few troops the provincials first encountered quickly retreated back to the center of town where they all waited for the expected reinforcements.  But at some time after 9AM, the British commander decided to leave Concord.  At the time, the skirmishes between the two sides had gained nothing for either side.  The British commander likely felt it prudent to return to Boston before anything more serious happened.  In past skirmishes, British troops were allowed to return to the city unmolested.

The colonists had other ideas, however, and took to attacking the retreating British troops from the relatively secure positions astride the road.  The British commanders were outraged by these tactics.  They did not view the Americans as being real soldiers.

As the day progressed, however, the colonists’ lack of military training started to play in their favor.  The British regulars had a very particular way of marching and of fighting.  The idea of guerrilla warfare, a rather new concept, was not a part of the British military lexicon.  It was their belief that two forces stood opposing each other and commenced the battle in their set positions.  One would fire upon the other until victory or defeat was realized.

return to boston

By the time the British reached Merriam’s Corner, about a mile from town and site of the earlier skirmish, about 1100 provincials have gathered and snipe the British troops.  Smith knew the provincials were moving to block his retreat put his grenadiers and light soldiers on the road first to guard against ambushes.  Even so, Smith’s column is under almost continuous attack.  Still, Smith was able to maintain control over his troops.  But at about 2:30PM his troops are ambushed at Fiske Hill.  Smith is wounded and some of his regulars break ranks and run.

At about 3PM Smith’s troops meet up with 900 reinforcements some of whom are Percy’s artillery.  Percy’s artillery is able to break up the closest provincial troops.  Percy takes on a scorched earth policy and burns houses of suspected snipers.  Percy’s men, however, left Boston with only 36 rounds of ammunition each, far less than needed to execute proper military maneuvers.

Around 4:30PM Percy’s troops reach Menotomy, today’s Arlington, where the day’s bloodiest fighting occurred.  Discipline among the British troops had broken down as they looted, pillaged, and burned homes.

The provincial troops that gathered in Menotomy had largely seen no fighting earlier in the day.  They were the minutemen who came from Medford, Cambridge, and Watertown.  They convened at the crossroads in Menotomy center and awaited the British troops, looking down the Lexington Road.  By this time the day’s temperature was in the mid-80s and it was humid.  The retreating British troops had marched the 20 miles out to Concord and then back without food or much rest.

When the British finally reach Charlestown, it takes three hours to move the troops back across the Charles River to the safety of Boston.  Most had neither eaten nor slept in two days.

At the end of the day, of the approximately 1400 British troops engaged in action, 73 were killed, 174 were wounded, and 26 were reported missing.  Of the 4000 American militia who were engaged, 49 were killed, 39 were wounded, and 4 were missing.

Major Corporations Who Paid No Taxes In 2012

With April 15 looming large for all us private citizens, here is a little food for thought.

Verizon Communications
Profits: $19.8 billion    Effective tax rate: -3.8%

General Electric
Profits: $19.6 billion    Effective tax rate: -18.9%

Profits: $14.8 billion    Effective tax rate: -5.5%

Pacific Gas & Electric
Profits: $6 billion    Effective tax rate: -8.4%

The negative number indicates government subsidies.

I have two questions: 1)  How can I get in on the no tax deal?  2) How can I get subsidized by the Federal Government.


North Korean Threat Real

Anyone who does not take the North Korean dictator’s threat, Kim Jong Un, seriously is foolish.  Some months ago I wrote about my own personal experiences in Korea.  The recent sabra rattling tells me that not much has changed.

The Korean people as a whole find their heritage in China.  Not withstanding that, North Korea’s best ally used to be the Soviet Union, not China.  That is an important distinction because since the fall of the Soviet Union, North Korea has found itself even more isolated than it was before.  Thought they share a common ideology with China, Communism, China has always held its neighbor at arm’s length.  China has not openly warred on any nation in over 100 years, and it is unlikely it has any such interest today.  They are not about to be drawn into anything by North Korea.  And while North Korea undoubtedly still gets technology and arms from Russia, it no longer can count on that country as an ally, as in the old Soviet days.

When I arrived in South Korea in 1968, what I saw was an armed and tense camp.  The armistice with the north was but 13 years old, and memories of that war were still fresh.  Think of it this way:  the US Civil War ends in an armistice where both sides retain sovereignty but refuses access to its soils by the other side.  The good people of Maryland want to visit their relatives in Virginia but are not allowed to.  That is exactly what happened, and is still going on, in the Koreas.  In the late 60s and early 70s, the cold war took on a whole different flavor in the far east.  What you had were two countries who wanted to war with each other but were prevented from doing so by their allies, America and the Soviet Union.  It was seen then that an escalation of hostilities into a nuclear war were not far fetched.  Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Il-sung, vowed that he would reunited the Koreas by force.  The South Koreans fully expected such a war and were prepared for it.  Kim Il-sung shot down an American spy plane, an EC-121, and fired upon the USS Pueblo in an attempt to capture it.  The ship’s captain allowed the ship to be taken.  North Korea held the ship for a year before releasing it.  What this says is, North Korea was not then afraid to carry out its threats, and we have no reason to believe that it will not follow through on threats it makes today.  In North Korea’s mind, at least, a lot is at steak.

The US intelligence community believes that North Korea as most has medium range missiles, with an outside range of about 3000 miles.  That renders the entire U.S. and Guam and Hawaii outside its range.  But well within its range are US allies, South Korea and Japan.  The Japanese have already expressed deep concerns about North Korea’s threats, as well they should.  It is not unreasonable to think the North Koreans still harbor resentments arising from Japan’s World War 2, and before, occupation of the Korean peninsula.

The west’s best hope against North Korea’s carrying through on any of its threats may lie with senior North Korean military leaders.  These men would necessarily know the consequences of declaring a war on any country.  Regardless of who North Korea attacked, it would be viewed as an attack on US interests.  Japan is still allowed only a defense force and would necessarily rely upon the U.S. for its defense, something I am certain we would do.  South Korea, on the other hand, has a very large, well-trained and well-equipped military which could hold its own against an incursion from the north.

It is impossible to predict what the North Korean dictator has in mind, what his plans are, and what he is willing to do.  North Korea’s unpredictability rendered it a pariah in the communist sphere because of this.  And it is exactly this reason that any and all threats made by North Korea must be taken very seriously, and be considered in a “worst possible scenario.”

Parent Child Misunderstandings

Many years ago, on a trip to Canada, my father lost his patience with me.  He exclaimed, to my horror, “you’re just like your mother!”  My father was an incredibly patient man, but more than once I pushed him past all reasonable patience, and into something else.  That was just one such time.  I remember that incident so well because I could not believe what he had said.  And for years afterward, I made it a mission to insure that I was not anything like my mother.  She and I had always had a contentious relationship, and that is putting it mildly.

My father grew up in an upper middle-class house while my mother grew up dirt poor, and adopted by an aunt and uncle who could not have made her feel more unwelcome.  They were married shortly after World War 2.  My father was a WWII vet and met my mother after he got back.  It was a set up but a mutual friend, but a good one.  My view of my parents’ marriage was that it was excellent, a model of what a good marriage should look like.  I have not changed that view at all.  But what I have changed is my view of them as individuals.  Unfortunately, my father died right before my 21st birthday, and I never really got to know him.  That was in large part due to adolescent and teenage selfishness on my part.  I forgive myself that because I believe it is something most, if not all, teens go through.  While teens we think how dumb our parents are, and when we get older, we discover how dumb we were.

My mother lived to age 89.  I firmly believe she could have lived longer if she had desired.  But I think she gave up living.  Along the way she had lost the only man she ever loved, and she adored him.  Of that there is no doubt.  Then she suffered the loss of a child when her son, my brother, died.  That almost killed her, literally.  At some point after that I decided to discover who she really was.  My mother was very tight-lipped, and did not care to talk about her childhood.  It was miserable so why would she?  Her father had deserted the family when she was only 4, and then her mother died when she was 11.  She was shuffled around between relatives, not uncommon in those days, until she settled with an aunt and uncle.  She graduated high school and went to a hospital that sponsored a nursing school and took up her profession.  She was, by all accounts, an excellent nurse, and it served our family well during some lean times we experienced.

I was so angry with my mother for years for doing this and not doing that.  But at no point did I stop to consider the tools available to her for bringing up a handful like me.  She called me a bull in a china shop, an apt description, as I was my own little force of nature when I was young.  I had to have my way which frequently collided with her having her way.  Seldom was it a question of right and wrong, just a question of who would prevail.  That made it difficult for my father, brother and sister to contend with but I don’t think either of us ever considered that very much.

In my 30s I suffered from a particularly severe case of depression.  Although I know the reasons, they are not germane to this.  What is important is that my mother did not take the news well.  I know now that at the time she viewed it as a failure of hers.  It was not, of course, but that was what she grew up believing.  I found out some years later that she had suffered an extremely severe case of depression of her own that required ECT.

Then I became a parent and had children of my own, three daughters.  I adore them but I know for fact that my good intentions do not always come across that way to them.  I am certain they have thought of me as intrusive, and not being sensitive to their desires.  It is this realization that let me know that I was indeed, in many ways, very much like my mother.  We parents have this tendency to take our children’s problems personally, and our distaste for something they are doing is really our fear that they will be hurt.  We do not always express ourselves well, and I know that was the case with my mother.  My mother had the extra problem of having virtually not support system when she was a young parent.

The human being has yet to be born who does not have one serious problem during their life.  Usually it’s many.  As parents we want only the best for our children.  We want them to have better lives than we experienced.  We want them to be happier.  We sometimes, foolishly, want to shield them from failure, sickness, and bad people.  That is simply impossible.

If your parents are still alive, get to know them all over again.  Ask them lots of questions about what they experienced when they were children and when they were your age.  I had to learn about my father through his sister because, as I said before, he died at such a young age.  And parents, just be sure to tell your children that you love them, and be big enough to admit that you are still capable of making mistakes.